If you know me at all, you know that I am the first person that wants to burry my phone in the backyard and go off the grid and completely disconnect from my phone. If it weren’t for my alarm, maps, and Spotify music, I would 100% be ok if my phone only worked for call and text. I hate how much time I spend on my phone, which is pretty contradictory I realize for what I do professionally and what I am going to school for.
After Greg suggested watching the Netflix documentary “The social Dilemma” I figured I would give it a try based on my already strong feelings about social. If you aren’t aware of what it is, the documentary is about several tech experts from various social media companies sounding the alarm on the dangerous human impact of social networking. They also discuss how every feature in social, or google is not by accident. Everything is a design technique, and everything is researched. Every single action that someone takes or does online is being monitored and recorded. Then that data is studied by a bunch of engineers who are trained to use your psychology against you and keep you glued to your apps.
Actual depiction of me watching this documentary.
I always felt that I thought differently than others in the fact that I don’t like being glued to social media. I understand the benefits of it, and sure it’s fun to be able to connect with people you haven’t seen or heard from in a while, but I don’t ever want to feel dependent on it. I also understand the hypocrisy of what I am saying, me being a person who has two accounts for every social platform (one personal one professional). If you ask my fiancé, he can vouch for the fact I delete my social apps at least once a month because I feel like I’m wasting brain cells. I feel every hour I spend mindlessly scrolling through my phone, is an hour wasted on something that really isn’t benefitting me at all.
So, after watching Social Dilemma documentary, I dug deeper into other reactions to the film. Facebook of course denied allegations made against them. But these social media companies cannot deny the negative effects it is having on people. According to one study by author Phil Reed said, “We have known for some time that people who are over-dependent on digital devices report feelings of anxiety when they are stopped from using them, but now we can see that these psychological effects are accompanied by actual physiological changes.” Also how in contrary to what founders aimed to achieve by creating these apps, Facebook use was linked to both less moment-to-moment happiness and less life satisfaction—the more people used Facebook in a day. Social media companies are not transparent in their algorithms in keeping users glued to their phones. There needs to be more government insight and these companies need to be more aware of the negative and addicting effects it is having on society.
Even by this poll done by YouGov. The majority see social media having negative effects on individuals’ self-esteem.
That’s not even going into the other negative effects studies have found.
It is difficult as a professional in the marketing field, to recognize both ends of the problem. One side of me, on a personal level, would love to disconnect completely, but for my job, I almost feel like I am a part of the problem. I know how on the back end of this technology works. How do you feel about the negative effects social media has on society? Do you think legislation should step in?
Akram, W., and R. Kumar. “A Study on Positive and Negative Effects of Social Media on Society.” International Journal of Computer Sciences and Engineering, vol. 5, no. 10, 2017, pp. 351–354., doi:10.26438/ijcse/v5i10.351354.
Lonstein, Wayne. “Council Post: Is Social Media Creating Humanoids?” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 24 Sept. 2020, www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2020/09/25/is-social-media-creating-humanoids/.
Orlowski, Jeff, director. The Social Dilemma. Netflix – The Social Dilemma, 2020, www.netflix.com/title/81254224.
Pardes, Arielle. “Hate Social Media? You’ll Love This Documentary.” Wired, Conde Nast, 2020, www.wired.com/story/social-dilemma-netflix-documentary/.
Walton, Alice G. “6 Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 3 Oct. 2017, www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2017/06/30/a-run-down-of-social-medias-effects-on-our-mental-health/.