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The Anti-Social Dilemma

Updated: Sep 26, 2020

The perils of social media we know but choose not to see. But how bad could it possibly be?

Quote at the beginning of ‘The Social Dilemma’

The description on Netflix’s recent release, The Social Dilemma, says,

“This documentary-drama hybrid explores the dangerous human impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations.”

With a title description and a film beginning on those lines, do you not feel strongly repulsed by the idea of social media itself as if it’s a monster? I did. Perhaps for a few minutes only, if not questioning its whole existence in our lives.

If you have watched this documentary or not, it doesn't matter much, although what matters is being aware of what social media is and how it works.

It is essential to know how perceptions are created and behaviors are altered in the context of social media. It might not come as a surprise to many but the whole idea of selling any product or service is altering human behavior by creating a need for it. Sounds familiar? Yes, it’s called capitalism in the social sense. And what happens with the whole idea of capitalism in today’s time, is that it leaves one in a dilemma. Why? Because, you want it but you may not need it, or you don’t want it but you still get it (read greed).

Quoted by Shoshana Zuboff, Ph.D. in the documentary ‘The Social Dilemma’

Sounds Dangerous?

The Great Hack on Netflix released in 2019

One of the great learning from another popular Netflix release of 2019, The Great Hack on data company, Cambridge Analytica’s role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, was similarly based on the ‘dark side’ of social media.

It talked about how data is sold and used to study human behaviors so that they can be targeted as the ideal audience for the desired strategy, which in this case, were the elections.

Pretty similar in essence to what Dr. Shoshana mentioned in The Social Dilemma, as well. After all, it imitates that the future of an entire nation can be decided by social media’s power.

So, did you remove the social media apps from your phone?

This is what I would like to call the origin of ‘The Anti-Social Dilemma’. Why make socializing a bad idea if it’s connecting the world? Or making people earn some money? I meant people in professions of social media marketing/digital marketing and not Google or Facebook (pun intended).

In the past few days, I have heard of stories where people either removed the app from their phones or took a break (aka digital detox) away from social media in a bid to push these multinational conglomerates from altering their behavior. And like every time, they returned on the app in a matter of a few hours or days.

But what if I tell you that this was a trick by Netflix so that you spend more time watching Netflix or Amazon Prime or YouTube instead of Instagram and Facebook? Did they just…?

No, I am kidding. Or, maybe not. Who knows? So, it brings us to the next big thing.

The Power of Technology. Of course, technology is powerful. But who makes it so?

Quoted by Justin Rosenstein in ‘The Social Dilemma’

True to every word, what we see around, and what we do, is established by the choices we make as humans. If capitalism exists, it is because we chose to make it happen. But what makes a difference, is how it is regulated for an impact. The way it gets managed by a nation’s industrial policies, capitalism will make the economy better or worse.

Similarly, how technology, more so social media gets regulated and is consumed by the people will decide whether it impacts humans positively or negatively.

One can choose to connect to their long lost friend online or disconnect with the people around them. The choice and decision lie with you and me. This superpower rests with humans.

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