We’ll start this off by saying we’re fans of social media. It allows us to communicate, learn, virtually socialize, and send and receive information in less than a second. However, we’re all aware there is a dark side to social media, and not all the impacts it’s having on society are positive. To what extent is social media detrimental? Netflix recently released a new documentary, “The Social Dilemma.” The filmmakers interview some of the biggest players in Silicon Valley to get their input on what social media is doing, how it works (with some things blown out of proportion), and the impact it will have in the future.
What’s it about?
The film is actually a two-for-one. There’s real-world interviews and commentary, but you also have a storyline to follow with a fictionalized family that plays out the dangers of social media as the real-life commentary gets darker and darker. It’s an interesting way to present a documentary, but helped drive home the points the experts were making to see their technological conversations play out in relatable scenarios. They touch on the topics of cyber bullying, depression, anxiety, and suicide in the younger generations due to social media, but they also open up the conversations to what goes on behind the curtain—information that isn’t as publicly known. It opens our eyes to the manipulation we willingly (and somewhat unwilling) participate in daily.
The tech experts are high level men and women from companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram, and more. They’re reliable sources who know what they’re talking about and are scared of the monster they helped create. The doc goes into deep complexities about how the tech works, how it has grown, how it learns from your actions, and what it does in order to keep you glued to the screen for as long as possible—to make as much money as possible, and sway you towards the things they want you to see.
So, why do you need to watch it?
Everyone has a basic understanding of the negative impact that social media can have on our lives, but this feels like the first piece of media out there that has taken a magnifying glass to the systems and talked about the long-term social, political, and financial impacts these apps we love so dearly can have on society. This documentary helps enlighten the average consumer and let them know what tactics are being used on them without their knowledge.
Do we think watching this documentary will make everyone get rid of their phone? No. However, acknowledging what our phones are doing to us—that we don’t have as much control over the technology we have as we would like—will help us all become a bit more conscious of technological impacts and may help us take back some autonomy in a tech driven world.