The Reality of The Social Dilemma

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The Social Dilemma blends documentary investigation and narrative drama to disrupt the disrupters, unveiling the hidden machinations behind everyone’s favorite social media and search platforms. In my eyes, it has become one of the most relevant, yet terrifying movies on Netflix. It’s terror stems from the fact that it’s created out of truth, and shows the demons of social networking. Like the movie said, social media has done so much good for bringing people together and for finding solutions to so many predicaments, but the negatives of the “tool” are outweighing the positives…by a lot.

One of these negatives that was mentioned in the film was the concept behind the constant notifications that social media platforms send to its users. The notifications are repetitive, nonessential for the most part, and always lure users back into their phone to get that screen time up. I’ve experienced this first-hand and have probably lost hours of my time mindlessly scrolling, thanks to one useless notification that caught my attention.

An additional downfall of the effects of social media I’ve experienced is the distortion of my view on myself. The filters and tools that each social media platform offers, completely changes the way everyone looks and because of it, I’ve found myself wanting to look more like some of those filters than I want to look like myself. From my experience, Snapchat and Instagram provide users with the ability to look exactly like something they’re not — THIS is a problem for me and for so many social media users.

Filters.

The greatest downfall of social media that The Social Dilemma touches on is what AI does, and what it will do to the planet. AI is perfect at finding what makes every social media user stay a social media user: The advertisements are targeted at the audience that will buy those products, the posts that are on users social media feeds typically align with their own beliefs and views, and the “recommended” feature that many of these platforms provide are so spot on it’s scary. At this point, it’s predicted that no human willpower will ever compete with the sophistication of AI, which means that the disparities among society will only grow larger. So what can we do to develop healthy relationships with technology and somehow change the course of the future? Well for starters, we could (and should) turn off all social media, email, and news notifications on our phones. We, as humans, need to be less focused on the piece of glass that we call our iPhone and more focused on the real world. To help with this, we could also completely delete social media apps (or at least a few) that are no longer serving us, or are causing us more harm than good. Society needs to put an emphasis on working with our younger generations to get them off of these pieces of technology and social media applications. The Social Dilemma preaches the previous action items and has offered a few more on their website: Reboot your use, and rebuild the system.

We need to reevaluate our priorities, and actively pursue healthier relationships with our pieces of technology by not relying on them for anything and everything. We need to realign our relationship our relationship with technology as a tool for connection.

Netflix’s The Social Dilemma.

As a student pursuing a degree in social media, I probably sound quite hypocritical but since I’ve watched the film, I’ve decided I’m also going to be on a higher path. I’m turning off all social media notifications, using social media less, changing my privacy settings, and actively following a variety of users to ensureI have a variety of opinions and beliefs on my newsfeeds at all times. The future is here, and The Social Dilemma is unfortunately our reality. I’m one person making very small steps but imagine how great we could be as a unit if we all made these small steps together?

Graduate student at the University of Florida