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The Social Dilemma

A warning going forward

By Starlight TuckerPublished 2 years ago Updated 5 months ago 4 min read

Social media is a festival of sharing. Agreements on controversial subjects intend to be passed down like an extreme telephone game- one whisper to the next. A shared or original post is not perceived as the user’s property, but public property.

Modern society may be referred to as The Information Age. However, The Social Dilemma points out the “flip side of that coin” - The Disinformation Age.

The Social Dilemma is a docu-drama about what cyber communications have revealed about online interactions and polarization. One central idea is that everyone is entitled to their own sources of information.

An important function of social media called the algorithm is becoming a widely-known vocabulary term. Technical business models are thought to have contributed to social tensions due to recommendation algorithms that link users to information based on their search history, likes, and comments.

Amongst the excessive benefits of social media are the dangers of propaganda that are hidden in plain sight through images of typed thoughts. Users constantly share and thus represent what supports the self. The algorithm predicts behavior in order to steer it towards personalized avenues that keep users online. The algorithm is not only used on one site; it is a part of modern technology.

The interviews are from former Silicon Valley insiders who were employed to help build the online world. The domino effects of polarization in cyber-arguments affect worldview in the physical atmosphere.

While people are not mindless absorbers of information, social media activity elicits neural responses. The documentary reveals that social apps thrive off the attention-extraction business model. The purpose of sharing opinion posts is that they validate arguments with thoughts and feelings. Social media arguments can occur over many different topics- lifestyles, health, relationship dynamics, employment, living situations, and so much more. Even if one of these posts does not elicit responses, people still see them and may or may not be insulted.

A controversial post attracts parallel response threads across different groups of users. I've come up with my own term, mass-insults, which refers to insulting a mass audience. It follows the theme of I’m insulting whoever this applies to.

Controversial posts may have support from one’s inner circle until an inciting comment has the opposing theme: I’m calling you out for sharing this post, and for good reason.

An online sense of urgency to conform looks like let’s see how many people care enough to share this; if you say nothing about this, you are part of the problem or of permission to participate in a post that would normally be inappropriate to bring up in person (here’s a characteristic or action that repels me whenever I see it in others). The first sentence appeals to ethics, and the second to power.

A trend to clean out the friends list is based on the desire to associate those who share the same set of opinions. Posts encourage followers who do not agree to remove themselves and for users to unfriend those who speak out against the posts. Propaganda on social media relies on the classic ethos/pathos/logos: ethics, emotion, and logic. Our inner dialogue is reactive to the visual experience that social media is.

The Social Dilemma is now a campaign to reform the design, regulation, and use of technology. The website has a section to Take Action by exposing the campaign. It requests advocacy with three sections: Share the Dilemma, Reboot Your Use, and Rebuild the System. This entails sharing it on social media, having conversations, realigning one’s relationship with technology, and reading about the proposals to reform the internet. The page has an additional section for More Ways to Take Action, such as submitting ideas to “Reset the Future.” The conversation tools include a discussion guide. Under “Rebuild the System” is a link to Grow the Humane Tech Movement, in which the new era of humane technology aspires to build a shared reality instead of many fragmented ones. The Social Dilemma informs that work is being done to eliminate the attention-extraction business model for a human-centered model. With awareness, people will take personal responsibility to discern what is useful to bring into the online social atmosphere and what is not.

The movement puts more pressure on the system of technology than on its users, but social media conduct should be cautious, having the common interest of savoring relationships and differences instead of absolutism. Although it acknowledges the positive outcomes of the online world, The Social Dilemma focuses on a severe perspective on the dark effects of online communications from public figures, businesses, and individuals.

Now that viewers have contemplated the most negative sides as discussed in the docu-drama, the movement will continue on the ending idea of reforming the business model, and brainstorming on how to repair fractured relationships in the public as well as between friends and family. The positive and negative areas of social media liken that of the real world.

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About the Creator

Starlight Tucker

Starlight Tucker creates works of fiction, music, and art. She has a BA in Communications and will graduate with an MFA in Creative Writing in February 2023. Connect with her on social media @StarlightTucker

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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  1. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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