1. mashers
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    mashers Senior Member

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    Using a real social network name

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by mashers, Jul 9, 2016.

    Hi everyone

    My WIP sci-fi novel is set in the near future (around 2050). Two characters are discussing a discovery they have made about an insidious technology which operates by invading people's privacy on an unprecedented scale. I want to get across that it is perilous for them even to be talking about it in order to cast doubt on what has happened when one of them disappears suddenly. One of the characters says "If they found out I know about this I’d probably disappear like those guys who found out what was really going on at Facebook."

    I've used 'Facebook' for now just because it's a current social media site which seems to be becoming more insidious all the time. However, I'm not sure about using it in a novel. On the upside, readers will definitely know what it is, and will, I think, understand what I mean when I say 'what was really going on' due to the controversies which have already occurred relating to Facebook's use of users' data. On the other hand, it feels a bit cheesy and I'm not sure where I would stand legally (could it be considered slanderous?)

    If I invent a fictitious social network, the readers won't know what it is and the meaning could be lost. So I'm not sure what to do here!

    Any advice would be appreciated :)
     
  2. mashers
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    mashers Senior Member

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    Thank you mods for moving this to the correct location. I'm still learning what goes where.
     
  3. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    In the near future, Facebook probably will be a distant memory that most people will not have heard of, not even the characters in your novel. People will have deserted it, just like they deserted MySpace and other social networks, for the next hot thing. For this reason alone, I think you should make up a name for the previous company, and give it the history you need for the plot. The dialog might go: "Remember when all those people who worked at Findme? How they disappeared? If SayHi [the present malefactors] found out about this, I’d probably disappear like they did."
     
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  4. mashers
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    mashers Senior Member

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    Thanks for the ideas! I can try to come up with some history for a fake social network and allude to it in dialogue. Whenever I try to think of a name for it, all I keep thinking of is this :p

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Yes, definitely use a fake one. There's no advantage to a real one in a future setting. In say, a gritty realistic modern crime drama, using a real company name can add a sense of reality that draws people in, helps with the style, and can even help make ideas possibly feel more impactful. But here? Nope.
     
  6. Vagrant Tale
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    Vagrant Tale Active Member

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    I'd just use Facebook for now so that you write as if it were Facebook, IE with the same level of gravity. Then I'd just replace the word Facebook later with some other catchy made-up name that represents all social media networks
     
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  7. mashers
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    mashers Senior Member

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    Thanks guys. I'm gonna experiment with some different combinations of social sounding words to see how they sound as a social network. It doesn't help that I don't use them so I'm not really sure where to start! Everything I think of sounds too similar to existing brands which seems cheesy. I may end up refraining from naming a specific name and just refer more generally to 'social networks'.
     

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