This Netflix original documentary film is trying to turn on the alarm on the danger of the way humans interact through social networking
The Social Dilemma is a movie that shows many tech experts giving their input about the way social networking companies design their products to mainly improve the engagement of their users through psychological techniques that have a negative impact on human lives.
Social media apps might seem the products to sell in the social networking industry. Unfortunately, the truth is that the real product is our attention. These companies succeed after finding ways to keep people attached to their services while sending their attention to all types of brands that are looking for places to advertise their products or services. The real question here is, is that a bad thing? The answer is not simple. In a way, selling advertisements to an audience is nothing new, we have seen that in movies, billboards, television, or even on common websites. Therefore, this is not called the ‘Attention Industry’ for nothing, the way companies develop their platforms is intentionally designed to keep people consuming their content for many hours as possible without having any concern about the psychological long-term consequences or the social shape-shifting implications this could produce.
According to Jay McGinley, this documentary film points out the way how many social networks are designed using something called positive intermittent reinforcement to exploit people’s weaknesses. In other words, these social networks are ‘Addictive by design’ and as much as any other drug this addiction could affect severely the way people perceive themselves, others and even reality, not to mention the short term effects, such as lack of attention, social disconnection and many others.
In summary, the usual preconception is that social networks are tools to connect with friends and family. But accordingly, to Tristan Harris, one of the main characters in the Netflix Original The Social Dilemma, this is not true. A tool is something that is used for a purpose and is just there doing nothing until someone takes it and uses it. This is not the case of social networks, they beg people for using them, attack them with multiple emails and notifications, seduce and manipulates them to spend as much time as possible consuming their content.
A tool would never crave to be used unless is not a tool, and the user’s attention would never be exploited unless they are not the users but the product.
… and follow me on social media (just kidding)