Netflix has recently put up a documentary on the dilemma and havocs of social media. People who have worked in leadership teams of Facebook, Google, Instagram , YouTube are now warning how of the evils of social media and how it manipulates our daily life.
This show scared me. The influence of social media is strong and it can mess up with our heads. What we are already experiencing around us is extremely polarising opinions, extremism, anxiety, vanity-ism, depression , isolation. There are many other “ISMS” and “IONS”, I might be missing some out.
With a business model to drive up engagement, even at the expense of our mental health being , these are all the consequences which has grown exponentially post 2011.
No one can deny the beauty and wonder of these technologies. But when it becomes an addiction , which it was designed to , it is a serious cause of concern. We are literally pawns in the hands of these tech giants, and they sell our vulnerabilities to the advertisers, the highest bidder. The content that you see is altered as per your interest. This is how the algorithm works. It recommends videos and topics of similar interests which leads you to believe one type of narrative instead of a neutral perspective. This is dangerous and it can be/has been exploited.
For eg, The Like button, a stroke of genius. It was developed to create positivity and love but what it become was a source of validation and a popularity contest. Growing children, teenagers who are emotionally vulnerable are now suffering from low self esteem, depression and isolation. And ironically as someone on the show said, the more likes you get, the more empty you feel.
We need to remember, these apps were all developed by IT professionals and marketeers to drive up engagement with their app . We are not their customers, the advertisers are. We are mere subjects and they make money on their knowledge of us.
I don’t know how long the effect of this show will have on me . But I know if I don’t do anything about it for myself and family, It will be my responsibility. Please watch the show and act on it.