"#SoMe" is video maker Loren Feldman's long, funny, witty, insightful, and beautifully melancholic movie, recalling a time when social media was in its infancy, barely out of diapers but growing fast with the promise of becoming a force of nature, transforming us and our institutions into a future meritocracy, a democracy of transparency and rainbows.
We're still waiting for the rainbows and the rest. And the melancholy ending of #SoMe is a metaphor for what we lost, and maybe never had.
When I left the Financial Times in 2004 to become a "journalist blogger," there was tremendous hope that the rise of blogging was nothing less than an uprising of an army of citizen journalists, sweeping away the media gatekeepers in newspapers and TV, who were more interested in protecting corporate interests and profits than looking out for the people.
Sadly, social media became a less interesting place, where people shared artificially blemished photos, and shared links to articles in mainstream publications. Instead of challenging the establishment, social media became a way of promoting and extending its reach.
Social media became Social Distribution of Mass Media (SODOMM).
We lost the promise and excitement of those times in Silicon Valley and we lost Loren Feldman, too.
For a while, Loren and his sock puppet creations that mimicked local personalities, such as Mike Arrington, Robert Scoble, Loic LeMeur, Shel Israel, and others, charmed and entertained – until they didn't. Suddenly, he was seen as "anti-startup," far too critical, and not funny — his former friends turned on him.
How bad can a sock puppet be? You would think that the skin of the above personalities would have been hardened into that of a rhino's after all the time they'd spent in full exposure to the UV glares of the trolls on the interwebs.
Yet who knew that those skins were delicate membranes, requiring constant soothing mists of baby lotion and "like" buttons? The rough texture of the sock puppet, with its always-on, built-in-New-York-City bullshit meter, was too much… and soon, Loren was gone.
I miss Loren, he was the jester in the court of Web 2.0.
- - -
#SoMe has some wonderful scenes. The last reel is extraordinary. The Shel puppets's attempts to find meaning in life following the death of his best friend are wonderful. The last call to his mother, (59 minute 40 mark) is incredibly touching and hilarious, the Jewish escort service, the swimming pool scene, the descent into drugs, and the final loss.
Great writing, great acting, and no stuffing –it's all hand-made.
(I had a small part in the movie, I guess you could say I had a hand in its making :)
More info here:
A movie about friendship in the age of Social Media.