In the last few years multiple crimes have been committed, and lives have been changed because of social media integration. Businesses can view the individual profiles of their consumers, and most networks allow you to continually grow; ones net in the lake of life is forever cast. Everywhere you look its Twitter this, or Facebook that; “follow us to get lunch specials”, “ReTweet our event so that you can get in the door for half-off”. From luxury auto dealerships to universities and fast-food chains, every marketer and industrialist is trying to find out what social platforms you are signed up for, and if you are using Twitter or Facebook sign-in features. This is not news; this is the world we live in- one where people are defined by their “relationship status”, “pages” and “friends”, concerned about their online safety, but unaware of their surroundings; people willing to check-in on WHRRL or FourSquare, but not willing to speak with a telemarketer.
Virtual becomes reality in Nick DeRuve’s short film Dr. Thompson. In the past, television documentaries (such as NBC’s To Catch a Predator) have depicted child predators online, causing the bringing together of internet leaders, who then created online restrictions (banning child pornography and arresting those that created and circulated these materials online), and age requirements for different platforms (not forgetting all of the laws refuting and protecting copyrights). “Dr. Thompson” showcases the gray area of online abuse that has not received as much attention as it deserves. Actor Richard Hench portrays this established figure in online culture: the middle-aged man that lies about his birthday in online forums, to have a potential chance of meeting up with a woman a third his age. There are thousands of stories about “older men” who prey online upon widows and divorcees; in “Dr. Thompson“‘s case, DeRuve shows a man looking to return to his youth. He obsesses and stews over “Kristy”. Dr. Thompson is able to find her through a social media site called “Face Space”. He determines its Kristy through clues on her open page: city she lives in, language she speaks, and mutual connections.
The societal issues that social media sites cause were not discussed within Aaron Sorkin’s film the Social Network, but resonate throughout “Dr. Thompson”. Zuckerberg’s depiction of women and his obsession with the creation of his own community are truthful; but safety and privacy issues are watered down by Sorkin, while DeRuve permeates every scene with the necessity of online security. DeRuve was influenced by the multitude of online articles discussing online security failures and Facebook mishaps. From the articles about mothers neglecting their children to keep up with their Zynga games on Facebook, to mother’s sending their son’s 13 year old friends racy images and text messages, DeRuve had a plethora of real sources to pull ideas from. All of “Dr. Thompson” is fiction based on real life social media nightmares depicted everyday in the newspapers and online blogging stomping ground.