Filmmaker

Mark Zuckerberg Fan-Fiction

I had a Facebook account in 2013. These are my collected status updates.

17 January 2013

One day Mark Zuckerberg was ordering coffee at his favourite coffee place on the Facebook campus. While he was stirring in his sugar a pigeon flying overhead defecated right in his cup! He couldn’t believe his bad luck.

The barista stifled a laugh and quickly made him a replacement coffee. “You’re Mark Zuckerberg,” he said, “I’m sure you could figure out a way to make it so the pigeons around here didn’t poop.”

Mark chuckled and said, “That’s crazy,” but as he took the new coffee and walked away he couldn’t shake the thought. Was it really that crazy?

18 January 2013

“You need to take these charges more seriously Mark.”

Trevor Trivinski was a stout bald man who annoyed Mark Zuckerberg, especially when Mark drove him home after their fortnightly squash match. Mark didn’t even like squash. He had only offered a ride once and after that Trivinski took it as a given.

“Every successful company comes under undue scrutiny. What makes this that different from any other IPO?” Mark replied, barely trying to hide his disinterest.

“We can’t keep ignoring their discovery requests, the evidence they have already is—”

“I need to head back to Facebook tonight, is it okay if I drop you here?”

“But… my house is another two miles at least, it wouldn’t take you more than…”

But Mark was already pulling onto the shoulder of the road before Trivinski could finish. He motioned to reach for the passenger-side door, but his guest took the hint and stepped out of the car onto the grass.

“Just tell me you’ll give it some thought,” Trivinski said. Mark said he would and pulled away, turning as if heading back to headquarters. He kept driving that direction until he was sure he was out of Trivinski’s sight, then he turned north. He drove for an hour and a half. The shapes of the city fell away and he reached the towering pines of the woods. The sun had now set and the sky was a sickly purple. Mark pulled the car over at a spot that felt isolated.

For a moment he stood at the rear of the car taking in deep breaths of the forest’s clean air. He opened the hatch and took out the sealed bucket, its contents thumping around inside. In a single motion he opened the lid and spilled the little green creature onto the wet ground. It looked up at him with an unearthly malice. Mark took the tyre jack and, there under the pines, beat the thing until he was sure it was dead.

Driving back he turned on the radio. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d listened to the radio.

20 January 2013

For a while now it had been bothering Mark Zuckerberg that people wrote “tl;dr” instead of “tl,dr” at the end of long posts. It was like the whole Internet didn’t care about the proper use of the semicolon. It had only taken him a couple of hours over about three days, but Mark had written some injection code that would dynamically render every instance of “tl;dr” on Facebook as “tl,dr” while leaving the original values unchanged. But that wasn’t all, the code would also track subsequent instances of user-submitted “tl,dr” and automatically shut itself off after ten of these. Mark felt ten was an appropriate number to catch some genuine reactions rather than just mistakes. And reactions were what he was after.

Mark was now ready to deploy the code. He typed the command string, took a quick look through the glass panelling to make sure no one was on their way to his office, then hit Enter.

The code came to life and a millisecond timer began whirring away on the terminal output. Mark refreshed a page he had ready and saw his work appear: tl;dr had become tl,dr! URIs listing the new instances of “tl,dr” were populating the terminal output. Three… Six… Seven…

The timer stopped at 4.209 and the code shut itself down. Mark refreshed again and saw that everything was back to normal. Only then did he realize his heart was pounding.

He blinked. Took in a sharp breath.

He opened the URIs in a batch of tabs and found the first genuine reaction: a David Plymoth from Philadelphia who had commented on his own post:

wtf facebook has changed all my tl,dr to tl,dr. is this some kind of facebook spellchecker?

Mark looked over David’s profile. He saw that David worked in the IT department at Thomas Jefferson University. He saw that David’s friends called him “Dave”. He looked over the photos of David at various parties and get-togethers in the past month, and he opened the profile of David’s girlfriend Katie.

Mark leaned back in his chair, cupped his hands together behind his head and let out a satisfied chuckle. Then he stood and walked to his office window, watching the people move about the Facebook campus below. He silently mouthed the name “David Plymoth” over and over. Then he started to hum “I Got You Babe” by Sonny & Cher, but in his head Mark changed the lyrics to I got you Dave.

21 January 2013

Brehanna Barns had only been stopped at the green light for a couple of seconds longer than it had been red, her mind preoccupied with the meaning of the message on Steven’s card that came with the tulips that arrived at her office precisely twelve hours earlier that day, when the other car hit her from behind.

The impact wasn’t strong, not dangerous strong, not enough to push her car into the intersection, but enough to knock her head about like one of those rubber balls connected to a racket with a piece of elastic, and enough for that head-jolt to catch her breath in her throat as the seatbelt seemed to draw against her chest like a garrote.

She pushed the door open and stepped out of her 2009 silver Chevy Impala, still coughing and gagging, steadying herself with one hand against the car’s roof, and moving towards the rear to inspect the damage (because there was quite obviously damage) and towards the other car, the car that had hit her, and towards the man who was now standing silhouetted by the lights on a passing semi-trailer. Brehanna put a hand up in attempt to shield her eyes from the truck’s blinding lights, tried to say something, but all she could get out was more coughing and then the semi was roaring past and the man was almost on top of her and she noticed too late the handkerchief that he was bringing up to her face as his other hand cradled the back of her neck and the strange hospital-like smell and all she could think was isn’t this Mark Zuckerberg?

It was light when Brehanna awoke. Her head was against the car window. The tulips were sitting in the passenger seat just as they had been last night. She was parked in her driveway and her Rottweiler, Samson, was barking at the sprinkler.

She pushed herself up in the seat and pain spread through her neck like a burning hand. After a moment with her eyes closed she wiped away tears, took her keys and the tulips.

She was unstable on her feet, the ground seemed like a Magic Eye puzzle. Samson was jumping up on her and it was all Brehanna could do to tell him to get down. She put a palm to her forehead, winced, walked unsteadily to the back of the car.

There was no damage. Her car was pristine. It even seemed cleaner.

22 July 2013

It was late into the evening, maybe one or two A.M. and maybe six or even eight of the potent pineapple-flavoured Conquistador cocktails down when Mark Zuckerberg decided that fuck it he would try Dance Dance Revolution. A handful of his employees had been playing for the last three or four hours while Mark had been sitting in the booth, nodding along to inconsequential conversations and watching the group laugh and jump around on the colourful glowing foot sensors. So, shakily he stood and drained the remnants of his Conquistador through the twirly straw that barely remained in the wide-rimmed glass and approached the arcade machine. “Who’s up next?” he blurted out as the group parted to allow his advance but no one spoke and the machine continued its pounding beat and chimes of success and failure as Adrienne Bard from the UX team divided her attention between keeping step with the cascading coloured arrows and Mark standing behind her.

“Uh, you can go next man,” Sam Henderman said, “if you want.” Sam had a large brown mole in the spot between his eyebrows and Mark fixed his attention at this protruding orb as he felt his body sway like one of those bobble-head dogs suburban soccer mothers affix to their car dashboards.

“I will go next, Sam,” Mark said, never taking his eyes off Sam’s mole.

30 August 2013

Mark Zuckerberg kept a copy of American Psycho in his desk drawer. His favourite chapters were marked with coloured Post-Its. Sometimes in the middle hours of the afternoon he would go into his private bathroom and look into his reflection and recite the final few sentences in a low hushed tone.

He stepped out of the bathroom and Françoise who was already waiting in the frame of his office door asked if she could run the new databasing schemas on Friday’s development briefing and he stopped and aimed his gaze at her confused moon-shaped face and said, “This is not an exit Françoise.”

31 August 2013

According to the timer on Mark Zuckerberg’s laptop, the meeting had been going for 43 minutes, which was 33 minutes longer than Mark felt the optimal meeting duration should be—so much so that he had two other laptops set up in the middle of the table (one facing each end) with a full-screen digital readout counting down from ten minutes to zero and into negative time, after which the background would pulse a dull blood-red. The problem with this approach, he had gathered, was that after a handful of meeting went “into the red” without much in the way of reprisal, people seemed to ignore the pulsating laptop timers, which made Mark feel that the process of setting up the laptops and timing the meetings in such an ostentatious way only served to undermine his decree that Facebook’s meetings should not last more than ten minutes. His employees figured that if a topic Mark deemed important was not covered in the allotted ten minutes then it was not so important after all and, as such, would be relegated to the bottom of some digital stack of priorities. But Mark could not very well abandon the ten-minute-meeting principle altogether, which would be an admission of failure. He was stuck between a rock and a hard place. This thought reminded him of James Franco in that movie where he cut off his arm. Mark looked down at his own arm.

Francesca was suggesting a new way to test databasing schemas and wanted to run these in parallel over the next month of beta trials, which Mark knew would introduce load problems on the servers, but as it was now 45 minutes into the seemingly endless meeting, he lacked any of the stamina required to explain why such error-prone schemas could not be run in parallel. Instead, he pointed his stapler at her like a gun and fired off a couple of staples. They landed harmlessly on the table but Francesca still flinched and raised a hand in defence.

“Let’s move along,” Trevor Trivinski said. He was guiding this runaway train of a meeting to its eventual derailment. Next up was Sam Henderman, who Mark had planned on firing a month ago but now remembered he had become distracted with a game of Words With Friends. Sam wanted to talk about UX. Mark enjoyed talking about UX (user experience), but on hearing Sam Henderman introduce it as a topic of discussion more than thirty-five minutes past timer-zero inflated a bubble of anger in Mark’s duodenum. The bursting of this rage-bubble was averted when Mark noticed a special notification appear on his own laptop screen: Paul Rankin had posted some more fan fiction about him on Facebook. Sam Henderman’s concerns receded into the usual background hum as Mark read over Paul’s latest post: a short entry about Mark keeping a copy of Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho in his desk drawer with Post-It notes on his favourite passages. Mark had never read American Psycho but liked the film version starring James Franco.

Paul’s fan fiction posts about him were becoming worse; lazy and predictable. It hardly even seemed worthwhile; this would probably be the last one. He opened a chat window.

Mark: saw your latest post. great stuff.
Paul: Thanks bro.
Mark: just in a meeting, will transfer $$ when not so many people around.
Paul: Cool. Whatever.
Mark: c u.

Sam Henderman was still talking. Without looking at him, Mark raised his stapler and fired off three rounds: a double-tap to the sternum and a killshot to the head. Sam squeezed his eyes shut and turned his face away but again the staples landed harmlessly on the table.

The red pulsating timers now passed negative 48 minutes.

14 September 2013

“What did the dolphin say to you Mark?”

Mark Zuckerberg detected a hint of condescension in Tim Maddow’s voice but he was more concerned that the desks be rearranged to his specification than to let any of his focus set upon Tim’s attitude towards the proceedings.

“It’s written on…” Mark Zuckerberg found the notepaper he had written out what he could remember of the dolphin’s speech and gave it to Tim, who would be playing the role of the dolphin once they finally had the desks arranged in the shape of a yacht. Tim turned and paced and murmured the words Mark had written out at 3:44am (approximately six hours ago) when he had awoken from the dream.

“Put your feet down with pollen. Put your hands down with pollen. Put your head down with pollen. Now your feet are pollen; now your hands are pollen; now your head is pollen… What does this even mean Mark?”

Mark huffed and spun towards him, jabbing a finger towards Tim’s chest: “That’s what we’re trying to figure out, obviously.” He directed his attention towards Emma Thirlbiene from HR and an intern she had brought with her; they were each holding semi-filled water cooler bottles. “Okay queue the waves,” he said, and they both began tipping the large bottles back and forth. “No that’s too calm, it was rough, rough seas.” They shook the water bottles back and forth more violently, only moderately succeeding in reproducing the sound of the heavy swell from Mark’s dream. He considered getting more staff to do the sound effects, more bottles, maybe in six-channel surround sound, but he felt there wasn’t enough time.

He cycled the words in his head: “Put your feet/hands/head down with pollen.” He climbed onto the desks that now stood in for the damaged 40-ft. yacht upon which Mark had found himself adrift and alone. In the dream it had felt like months. He remembered reading an article about why dreams feel like much longer than the time the person actually experiences R.E.M. but he pushed the thought out of his mind.

“Okay I think we’re ready,” he said and his father handed him a blindfold and smiled warmly at him as Mark tied it around his head and sank into the endless dark horizon. He awaited the dolphin’s words.

“Mark? Are you sleeping?” Francesca’s voice intruded.

She was standing at his office doorway. The world came swirling back. He blinked away sleep and looked out his window to see that it was dusk, then he looked at his computer screen to see the email he had been writing.

“Mark…?”

When he fell asleep he must have rested his head on the keyboard, specifically the spacebar. He wondered how long. He scrolled up through the autosaved draft: it was screens and screen and screens of empty space.

“Mark…?”

21 December 2013

Mark Zuckerberg typed, “This morning I had a cramp in my calf so bad I almost vomited.” He hit Post and watched the Likes and Comments appear like faces in a crowd turning towards the source of a very loud sound or sudden bright light.

They’re such fools to believe me, he thought.

23 December 2013

“Mark Zuckerberg and the Case of the Stolen Boz Scaggs Records”

Mark deleted the title leaving just the white WordPad screen. This was harder than he thought.

26 December 2013

Bill Murray had been eyeing the canapés for what felt like fifteen minutes before Mark Zuckerberg summoned the courage to speak up from his position on the opposite side of the table of hors d’oeuvres.

“I’m a hug—”

Mark realised that he had combined the words “big” and “huge” into “hug” in his first attempt to talk to the actor and then he realised he had just called himself “a hug” and that there was every chance that with the DJ playing Bill Murrary could interpret Mark as asking for a hug and so Mark quickly edged back from the table and from Bill Murray to diffuse this possibility. But, thankfully, Bill Murray had not seemed to notice the failed sentence and proceeded to choose an appropriate canapé and shovel it into his mouth.

“Hey kid.”

Bill Murray spoke with his mouth full. This made Mark grin with enthusiasm. This guy is always on, he thought.

“I’m a huge fan, Mr. Murray,” Mark said, successfully.

“Thanks. You’re Zuckerberg—ah, Mark right? The Facebook guy?” A tiny piece of dried tomato launched out of Bill Murray’s mouth and Mark tried very hard not to follow it with his eye as it landed on the tablecloth.

“Yeah that’s me.” Mark shook his head. He was beaming. “I can’t believe you recog—”

“What? Sorry I can’t hear you over the music.” Bill Murray loaded another canapé into his mouth. Mark took this as his cue and circled the table, each step compounding his nervousness but at the same time making him feel exhilarated because it felt like he was a canoe in white-water picking up speed as the river carried it down and around bends, between jagged rocks, over waterfalls…

Mark edged past David Spade to stand next to Bill Murray. “Hi,” Mark said.

Bill Murray nodded. Bill Murray was half a foot taller than him. Mark forced himself to casually look around the room.

“This is a pretty great party huh?”

Bill Murray nodded, still chewing.

“So are you on Facebook?”

Bill Murray swallowed. He took a breath, coughed and thumped his chest with an open palm. Mark laughed to calm the air, but it was a forced laugh and made him seem nervous.

“I actually already know you don’t have an account, I’ve searched for you before.” Mark realised he was already holding his iPhone but he wasn’t sure if he had been holding it before or if he had subconsciously taken it out of his pocket while circling the table.

“It’s ah… I haven’t really looked into it,” Bill Murray said. Mark noticed that Bill Murray was looking across the room at Kate Mara, who was walking towards them but her eyes were locked on Bill Murray and Mark estimated that he had only about five more second of time alone with Bill Murray.

“I could show you how to set up an—”

“You promised you’d go for a swim with me!” Kate Mara was there. She was gripping Bill Murray’s arm. She was pulling him away from Mark.

“You can come too,” she said to Mark, her inflection welcoming.

Mark looked up from his iPhone. “Ah no thanks,” he said.