BLOGOSPHERE: Zuckerberg’s SNL appearance

Mark Zuckerberg’s telegraphed “surprise” visit to the set of Saturday Night Live on the night the long-running sketch comedy show was hosted by the man who played him in the controversial bio-pic The Social Network is being hailed by some in the blogosphere as a public relations coup.

The founder of Facebook joined Jesse Eisenberg, who played Zuckerberg in the Academy Award-nominated film, onstage with SNL’s Andy Samberg, who was playing, um, Mark Zuckerberg. When asked, he called The Social Network “interesting.”

On the blog Mediaite, Sarah Devlin wrote: “Though the Facebook founder is clearly no great comedian, it was kind of trippy to see the nerd trio that Eisenberg, Zuckerberg and Samberg formed on stage.”

Making nice with the guy who portrayed him in a less-than-flattering light was PR “genius,” according to one commentor on Mashable, which posted clips from the show.

“Does Zuckerberg appear uncomfortable and stilted? Yes. But, there’s a lot more going on here than Zuckerberg poking fun at himself,” wrote commentor Tony Faustino. “This SNL appearance is a subtle public relations shot at Larry Page and Google. It’s Zuckerberg and Facebook’s way of saying, ‘I’m going to be a much more public relations and marketing savvy CEO than Larry Page … Page is historically well-known for loathing anything relating to marketing and public relations. Zuckerberg had the guts to step up to the plate on a very high profile stage. And, I respect him for that.”

Samberg’s performance as Zuckerberg being interviewed on the show’s Weekend Update “news” segment was a howler (asked if he’d been to see the movie, he replies: “What? Don’t be ridiculous, I’m 26. I stole it online”).

“The real-life Zuckerberg shared the video on Facebook,” wrote Jessica Guynn in the L.A. Times. “The movie that portrays him in a negative light seems to be having a very positive effect on his public image. The low-key 26-year-old who created the world’s most popular social networking service had largely avoided the spotlight until the release of The Social Network made that impossible. With an appearance on The Simpsons and now Saturday Night Live, Zuckerberg may get the last laugh.”

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Dave Webb
Dave Webb
Dave Webb is a freelance editor and writer. A veteran journalist of more than 20 years' experience (15 of them in technology), he has held senior editorial positions with a number of technology publications. He was honoured with an Andersen Consulting Award for Excellence in Business Journalism in 2000, and several Canadian Online Publishing Awards as part of the ComputerWorld Canada team.

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