Everything Wrong With The Social Dilemma

Written by Bridgette Weller Brown
on 27 Nov 2020

Does social media ‘control’ us? Is its influence so strong that the likes of Facebook and TikTok have become irreplaceable ‘needs’, as opposed to ‘wants’? Are we shaped offline, by the identity we create online?

A recent topic of fiery discussion, many have labelled Netflix’s docudrama ‘The Social Dilemma’ a ‘so-called’ documentary; a farce; a one-sided shambles.

The Social Dilemma delves deep into the ‘damage’ social media has imposed, suggesting it has contributed to mental and physical health issues, addiction, and the spread of conspiracy theories worldwide.

The controversial docudrama, unfortunately, never takes time to acknowledge the positive side of social media. Instead, it force-feeds audiences a narrative of a young boy led astray by online conspiracy theorists (you could say it’s a high budget example of someone’s opinion).

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Social media forms a huge part of our lives. Some people can’t, astoundingly, count the number of social media platforms they visit multiple times a day on just the one hand.

While we do acknowledge that Facebook has complex algorithms that ‘keep’ you on the platform with content that’ll keep you scrolling, Netflix is just as guilty of doing things it’s accusing Facebook of doing. Netflix itself has algorithms that keep you watching….

There’s also a flip side to the coin. Without social media, the Black Lives Matter movement wouldn’t have happened; shy or ‘nerdy’ people mightn’t have discovered new-found confidence online, people with speech disorders or impediments mightn’t have had their voices heard online.

Speaking on this lasting cultural phenomenon in the docudrama are a handful of ‘Tech Bro’s and Chicks’ (professionals behind the likes of Google, Facebook, YouTube, and more).

Did they ever realise they were creating platforms the documentary deems as ‘monsters?’ Could it be that, now that they’re multimillionaires, they’ve suddenly discovered their conscience? We can only wonder.

One viewer described The Social Dilemma as ‘a glorified mum at a school meeting who blames her bad parenting on everyone but her.’

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The Social Dilemma accuses the exact platforms it’s criticising of doing, the exact same thing the documentary is doing (creating an echo chamber, and showing one side of the argument).

As an informative piece of content, we think The Social Dilemma fails and is an example of lazy filmmaking (calling it a documentary is an offence to the likes of filmmakers like Louis Theroux & Morgan Spurlock).

Historically, every time a new piece of technology is introduced, there has always been pushback from those it affects most, who benefited from the way it ‘was’ as opposed to how something ‘will be’. It’s why some traditional media outlets (such as newspapers) have had no choice but to pivot to the digital editions, as opposed to print, as people turn to the online world for information they once acquired offline.

Thousands of aspiring business owners got their business off the ground using the power of social media. We can’t disqualify its positive power, but like anything, it needs to be consumed in ‘healthy’ portions.

At the end of the day, being the one person you know not on Facebook isn’t going to achieve anything. We encourage you to do the exact opposite of what The Social Dilemma is telling us to do; don’t get stuck in the echo chamber, find other sources of information, listen to people whose opinions are different from yours; grow, learn and always consider the other side of the story. and ensure our opinions are as well rounded as possible before we turn to our Facebook wall to complain about Instagram is destroying the minds of today’s youth.

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