Thoughts on “The Social Network”

October 20, 2010 at 12:45pm

Last week, my wife and I went to see “The Social Network.” While the film may not be a literal account of the creation of Facebook, it is greatly entertaining. More significantly, I believe it speaks to a very important shift in our culture.


At its core, "The Social Network" – and the book on which it is based, “The Accidental Billionaires” -- is a story of how a seemingly simple idea can grow into a transformative innovation. It also shows the entrepreneurial zest of our country that new ideas can take hold, reshape society and create something of real value.


What came out of the book and the movie is how the founder set out to fundamentally transform the way we interact with each other – and succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations – by leveraging technology to connect people in new and creative ways. Maybe Mark Zuckerberg and his cohorts foresaw such a use when they were toiling away in his Harvard dormitory, but there is no question that they helped break down many of the barriers that have historically stood between members of the public and the people who serve them.


These platforms have allowed me and many others across government to interact directly with you in a manner that would have been just a pipe dream ten years ago and that represents a great opportunity for enhancing energy education and the exchange of ideas. It allows us to break free of the limits of one-way communication and create a real group discussion, as evidenced by many of the constructive debates and collaborations that organically occur on my wall every day. I hope that more people in the energy sector and across government will seize this opportunity to broaden the discussion and welcome your thoughts on how the Department can better utilize this valuable medium.