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Is There Really a “Social Dilemma”

As you have probably heard by now, Netflix recently released a documentary, The Social Dilemma.

Before watching the film, I was convinced I already knew what they were going to say. Studying advertising in college and working as a marketer for REDFOX VISUAL, I thought I heard it all. But this film hit harder than I could’ve ever imagined. If I were to describe the movie in one word, I would say terrifying.

“There are only two industries that call their customers ‘users’: illegal drugs and software.” – Edward Tufte.

We have all become so reliant on our cellphones that the term “user” is fitting.

Don’t lie to yourself; you are addicted to your cell phone. Checking your email when you wake up, and scrolling through your Facebook feed while eating breakfast. You could’ve sworn that your phone vibrated, but there are no notifications. This is what we call addiction.

We have become so unaware of our addiction that we have reshaped the way that we communicate with one another – through a screen.

A quick text, a tap of the like button, maybe even commenting on a post. Yeah, it may make your life a little easier, but many people have decided that their worth depends on how many likes they get on a post.

Not only are people’s mental health at stake, but so is our government.

When scrolling through Facebook, you probably don’t think about how the content your seeing seems to be catered to you.

Well, honey, it is.

It is called an algorithm.

What is an algorithm, you ask.

Here is the google definition: Social media algorithms are a way of sorting posts in a users’ feed based on relevancy instead of publish time. Social networks prioritize which content users see in their feed first by the likelihood that they’ll want to see it.

The algorithms’ concept is all fine and dandy until you think about all the harm they cause.

Harm? Turn on the news.

Social Media algorithms show you what you want to see; when I say that, I mean something that supports your beliefs and opinions.

Why would these trusted social media platforms use your data in such a treacherous way?

Because these billionaires want to be trillionaires, you are a cash cow.

You, the “user,” are being sold to Facebook’s customers and sorry to tell you, but you are the product being sold. Your views and your clicks are the product.

With your beliefs and opinions being continuously validated, it is almost impossible to know what is real and what’s false.

This is where you ask the question, how can we fix it?

I think this responsibility falls on all of us; we have to fix the algorithms and seek out information ourselves.

  1. Turn off your notifications.
  2. Quit going down the rabbit hole. Set a timer, limit yourself to the amount of time you are staring at a screen.
  3. Stop looking at your phone right when you wake up.
  4. Start choosing the videos you want to watch, don’t let Youtube choose them for you.
  5. Get a hobby, like reading, sewing, or drawing. Stimulate that brain of yours.
  6. Always fact check

We have created a norm of being too reliant on technology. We need to learn how to control it before it controls us.

Well, that was dark.

Tune in next week for some more light and cheery content and maybe a marketing tip or two.

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Courtney Reiber