September 12th, 2020
Shall we unironically discuss The Social Dilemma on social media? We shall!
Let’s get this out of the way: if you’re a human and use any social media platform, this is essential viewing. It’s only 90 minutes long, and it contains information that should be shared with every human for the sake of our entire civilization (and that is not hyperbole). Some thoughts:
– This should be required viewing in schools. Not in advanced placement or specialty classes; this should be shown in an assembly with every person in the building present. If D.A.R.E. is essential, this is essential.
– I wasn’t as blown away by most of the apparent revelations here because most all of it has been covered in Westworld. I am not joking. In fact, Westworld went even farther in their last season to suggest a very potential future: imagine if your entire social media history was exposed for the world to explore? Every click, every like, every watch — not just what you looked at, but for how long. Your search history, your browser history, your personal messages — how would it affect you if this all became public information? For some, it’s whatever. For others, it’s life-ending.
– Speaking of which: I’ve seen quite a few people blame the isolation due to the pandemic for a rise in suicides. I’m not denying this could be a factor. I’m also seeing a lot of posts about saving our children. This is noble. Why, though, are very few people talking about how our childrens’ suicide and hospitalization rates have doubled or even tripled in some demographics — and it directly correlates to when social media became available to us on our mobile devices? While our attention gets focused on outside things (which I have talked about before), we willingly give our kids access to software that most adults can’t fully understand or maturely use…
– …Which leads me to one of the true revelations I did get. We spend so much time worrying about when technology is going to be superior to human strengths, that we completely missed it has already surpassed our weaknesses. Think about that for a second. It knows who we are, and what we respond to, and it preys and feeds on that. It’s simple but bears being spelled out. Not all humans have outstanding intellect or will. All of us have weaknesses. And social media, whether you want to admit it or not, knows more than you think.
– Something posted to Twitter spreads on average six times faster than real news. This is true of the spread of things on social media in general.
– Our feeds don’t look the same, no matter how inclusive we are of other people, because it shows us things depending on what it thinks we want, not to be a balanced worldview. This is important to remember as we consider the flow of news, as well.
The term “fake news” is a brilliant one for a dictator to adopt; once we lose trust in the idea of what actual truth is, our democracy crumbles. You would hope people could easily see that, but our country is the world’s example in how we can not. The technology quickly evolves, and our brains are millions of years old. We don’t win by outsmarting it; we win with our compassion and empathy for people. Our acceptance.
Please take just over an hour today and educate yourself. This is important in no uncertain terms. And be kind to others who may have been taken advantage of by our current society. We’re all worth so much.