Reviewing “The Social Dilemma”

I watched “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix over winter break and just recently rewatched it as homework for a communications class about documentary pre-production and I was just as blown away by the information presented in it the second time as I was when I first watched it. The documentary features interviews with top executives at companies like Google, Facebook, Youtube, and Pinterest. It was fascinating to learn about humanity’s severe addiction to technology, as they compare the phone to a digital pacifier. Gen Z might be the final generation that remembers a world without the heavy influence of technology in our daily lives. The focus of the documentary is that these social media companies have algorithms that are specifically designed to keep the user engaged for long periods of time on their site. One line particularity stuck out to me: “If you don’t have to pay for the product, then you are the product.” Your attention and the slight chance that you might buy whatever is recommended to you on your screen  is the product being sold to ad agencies, which is how social media companies make money. The interviewees recommend to turn off all notifications on your phone that unnecessarily demand your attention because it creates this false sense of social approval that ends up leaving the viewer feeling more empty.

It is evident in society today that technology and these persuassive algorithms are causing polarization in our country and in other countries around the world. The problem can be fixed if the people in charge of these systems change the algorithms and there needs to be more regulation of these companies that protects digital privacy. After I first watched this film, I was so moved that I even turned off all my notifications because it made me realize how big of a distraction technology really is. I highly recommend this film to everyone, as this information is very valuable. We all should be more aware of our technology usage, as it prevents us from living in the real world. 

iPhone with Twitter logo Photo by Sara Kurfeb from Unsplash woman on the phone in a park Photo by Chad Madden from Unsplash