How often do you grab your phone, look at your email, scroll through Instagram or Facebook? If you’re like me, you do it a lot!
After watching The Social Dilemma on Netflix, I realized that I am not alone. That these social networking sites, including Google, are changing who you are and how you think. Social networking sites and search engines have an algorithm and a business model that wants to keep you on the site.
As a result of that, these sites are monitoring everything you do and look at. Every time you get a notification it is monitored and recorded. These big tech companies know everything about you, and it’s not the data that is being sold. The data is used to build models that predict actions.
Seeking Online Interaction
Tech giants like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, etc., are seeking for online interaction.
Another thing I found compelling was the use of tags. Everyone wants to see who and what was tagged and why. You do this because there is a deep-seated psychological issue so that you don’t lose out on the conversation. These tech giants are doing this on purpose to get you to react. One of the interviewees said, “these social platforms are meant to control you and your emotions.”
Why Social Media is Addictive and the Consequences
Each person interviewed for The Social Dilemma worked at a tech giant in a senior development capacity. They disclosed the purpose and the way each of these sites makes you “addicted.”
Every like, every love and every reaction makes us feel popular in some way. That’s why depression is so high among girls. The film said that depression and anxiety are up from 2010 more than 62% in older teen girls and 189% in pre-teens. The suicide rate has increased as well with 70% ages 15-19 and 157% in pre-teens ages 10-14. All of the patterns point to social media. One of the tech interviewees said social media is like a “digital pacifier.”
When the interviewees were asked if they would let their children engage in social media, the answer was an anonymous, “NO!”
Addressing Fake News
The film also addressed fake news. They said that on twitter, fake news spread 6x faster than anywhere else.
One of the interviewees said if you want to control the population, go on Facebook.
The thing about fake news is that if you are on one political side, for example, you will only see things that correlate with your ideals. For example, they talked about global warming. If you believe in global warming, you will see lots of articles on Google saying that global warming is here. If you don’t agree, you will get articles that say, global warming is a hoax. That is why so many people for a long time believed (and still believe) that the COVID-19 is a “democratic hoax.”
Utopia vs. Dutopia
Originally, the tech development guys agreed that likes were to try to increase self-esteem, but unfortunately, it went the opposite direction.
Takeaways from The Social Dilemma
Here are some of the important takeaways from the movie:
- Reduce or turn off your notifications (then the social media giants will have a harder time predicting your moves)
- Don’t go-to recommendations by Google or any other site
- Before you share, make sure the facts are correct and true – do your due diligence
- Follow people with different points of view (otherwise, if you don’t you will only see certain items)
- People in the tech industry do not let their children on social networking sites (that says something!)
- Delete the sites you don’t use
Are we Addicted to Social Media?
Going back to the title of this blog, are we addicted to social media? Yes, we are. The tech giants have made sure that we are addicted and the notifications, email, and other ways to get you signed in and surfing around is done for a reason, to get you there and keep you there as long as possible. This only benefits the tech firms and advertisers. And as for the rest of us, we suffer.