Extending the Social Media Metaphor in Twilight: Breaking Dawn

Last year I wrote a post about the social media metaphor in Twilight: Eclipse:

I think a lot could be said about how the wolf pack telepathy is like Facebook (Jacob talks about the drama of a love triangle being broadcast around the wolf pack). And perhaps Alice has some kind of super-twitter that people can’t help using to blurt out their plans to her.

But I think the most interesting Social Media aspect to Twilight is Bella. Bella’s thoughts cannot be read, and in the Twilight world, privacy is a super-power.

Spoiler Alert: I have to give away some details of the movie (and the next one) in this review.

In Breaking Dawn, we got two more parts of this extended metaphor. Like Google+, the wolf pack upgraded its platform to have Circles (which they call “packs”), and split into two. Jacob, Seth, and Leah no longer receive the telepathic updates from Sam’s pack.

But, what I woke up this morning thinking about was, “What the hell is imprinting?”. I think it’s easy to think of it as falling in love or marriage, and then that leads to the critique that Jacob fell in love with a baby. This movie makes it pretty clear that that isn’t what imprinting is – so, what is the equivalent?

When I started to take it apart, the most important thing about imprinting in this movie is the transfer of reputation that is respected by others. (MAJOR SPOILER) The only real consequence of Jacob’s imprinting on Renesmee is that Sam’s pack won’t kill her (“It’s their most important law”). It’s that transfer of the importance of Jacob’s relationship status that I was wondering how to relate to social media. It feels like relationship status broadcasting, but it still doesn’t have the transfer of reputation that imprinting seems to have.

The only thing I could come up with was when Kanye West joined Twitter and decided to follow just one person:

The music star has joined the social networking site – as @kanyewest – but is following only one person – Steven Holmes.

Mr. Holmes saw his Twitter followers increase from 60 to 1,200 in just a few hours after the American hip hop star began following his updates.

Mystery surrounds why the singer has chosen to follow Mr. Holmes.

Kanye has since unfollowed him (I don’t think that’s allowed with imprinting), but Steven Holmes still has 4,000+ followers (the pack’s respect), and Kanye’s choice appears to be as random and mysterious as Jacob’s.