A decade ago, social media seemed to be one of the greatest inventions of all time. Who wouldn’t love sharing what’s going on in their lives to their friends and family, or catching up with old friends you haven’t seen in years?
From life updates, news, and diaries, to debates, informing, and showing off our newest purchases, we use social media for almost anything. But, doesn’t that mean we might be using social media a little too much?
When we scroll and share on social media, we’re not just sharing with our followers. So, what’s really going on behind the screen?
Here’s why you need to the new documentary on Netflix, The Social Dilemma.
Social media creators are the ones telling us to stop using social media.
People working in or who previously worked in the highest positions of the social media realm are literally telling us that social media is destroying us. When I say high positions, I’m talking the co-creator of the ‘like’ button on Facebook, the former president of Pinterest, and other former tech employees with high positions at companies like Google and Twitter.
These people are basically warning us of the unintended dangers in the technology that THEY created. Why wouldn’t you want to pay attention. In other words, this is their way of saying, we eff’d up. Now we’re trying to help you.
If I were you, I’d listen.
You’ll learn about what exactly is keeping you glued to your device and social media.
I don’t know about you, but my average daily screen time since quarantine has started has been through the roof. I won’t even disclose that information due to pure embarrassment.
I find myself wanting to reduce my screen time and break my addiction. But, then I get distracted again with yet another YouTube or TikTok video. I’ll look at what’s trending on Twitter in the For You Section, or end up on another website because of an ad I saw on social media.
We’re glued to our screens because of the endless feedback loop created by the infinite scrolling feature and even by notifications. If we’re not on social media, we’ll keep wondering what am I missing now?
The documentary goes deeper into that.
You’ll learn about the negative effects of being glued to your device and social media.
One of the most important issues covered in the documentary is the effect of social media usage on mental and physical health.
“Ironically for a technology that’s designed to bring people closer together, spending too much time engaging with social media can actually make you feel more lonely and isolated—and exacerbate mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.” – HelpGuide
Two other “social dilemmas” in the film were the democracy dilemma and the discrimination dilemma.
The discrimination dilemma is pretty much the issue with algorithms. Algorithms are for one, extremely invasive. Ever wonder how an advertisement for that new store you were just talking about with your friends, shows up on your timeline? It’s the algorithms.
Algorithms can also promote hate or outrageous conspiracies. The documentary used “flat-earthers” for example. If the algorithm is recommending flat-earth videos sources on the topic to you, of course you’ll end up feeding into this and you yourself might become a “flat-earther” simply because the algorithm is constantly exposing you to such content.
The democracy dilemma is the issue with political disinformation campaigns and discrimination. Because people can easily attain large platforms on social media, it is very easy to spread misinformation. Social media also encourages division and unrest when people spread misinformation. This is an especially important topic to delve into since we have an election coming up in November.
What I just covered is only half of what the documentary talks about. If you need some motivation to minimize your screen time, I recommend you watch the documentary. Even if you don’t need to minimize your screen time because you already have, go watch it so you can shame those of us who need a little push.
Don’t have time for it right now?
Take a look at The Social Dilemma website for an overview. https://www.thesocialdilemma.com
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