The Social Dilemma


No, this is not a review of the Netflix documentary- The Social Dilemma.

This Netflix documentary gives you chills in the spine and wakes you up to the ill-effects of social media on individuals and society. The message from the documentary is loud and clear that some day it will break you and will have much adverse impact on teenagers of this urban world. The intensity with which the effects, on teenagers, are shown is impressive. It is also enlightening to see how a Facebook engine only throws that type of similar data/information which one wants to see. It in-fact is the tool of Persuasion. This documentary thus exposes us to the realities and things that go on behind the scenes of social-networking portals. 

Social Media creates perception about anything and everything. The distorted information appears several times in front of the user and he slowly starts believing it to be true. Further, word of mouth, likes and share buttons affirms its authenticity and thus creates perception of a product, movie, book, person, political party, hotel, place, from somebody who might have never experienced it, or may not have that sense of judgement to give a review for it. This is the power of social media. Today actual power does not lie with the King or the Queen, as was the case in the earlier centuries, but lies with the digital influencers. The power of autocracy which existed in the previous centuries  is taking a back seat, and the power of persuasion is shaping our society and driving us to do certain things specifically.

No doubts, artificial intelligence is the present and future of the world. These algorithms are powerful enough to cause behavioral changes not only of an individual but of the entire society or a nation. People are loosing their judgement of right or wrong, as they constantly rely on validation from their virtual friends who don't know them, who have not seen their struggles and successes, who are not aware what has been done in the backyard. These things, as it stands today, are not in our control, and reducing the screen time is not at all a solution. We all need this digital world and networking portals, don't we?

It has its boons, and we all need those boons to achieve our goals in life. 

In this situation, neutrality is the need of the hour, we need balance to counter the persuasive effects of social media. We need people to have a self-confidence, and a fine sense of judgement of right or wrong. Remember that right or wrong is relative. We need to understand this, and it should be clear to everybody that what these social portals want. Earning money is their only requirement, and they earn when you spend countless hours on their portals. We log in to have connection with friends, to build our network, to grow our business but most of the times the platform wins as they function through algorithms, and we function through our individual brains, a single brain does not stand against such strong ever-evolving algorithms developed by the best minds of the world.

What should we do?

Evolution of our mind, body and overall conscious is the need to control this phenomenon. Strong focus on our goal and purpose can help us achieve it. Below are some actions that will help you and me to have that balance in our life:

1) Self-confidence. Do not rely on virtual validation.

2) Fine sense of judgement of Right or Wrong.

3) Focus on personal goals and development, more than the likes and hits on social media.

4) Remember the purpose of your login today and validate if you have achieved it during log off.

5) Yoga and Meditation will keep you sane and will help you control your urge of social validation.

6) Meet frequently with your friends. (I understand it is difficult today but even zoom calls are ok. Speak with them and share your successes and challenges. You will like it more than the number of likes and shares on social media post.

7) Read books. Do I need to say that, huh?

Be aware that what is at stake if you get manipulated by somebody else. Don’t let that happen to you. Remember the purpose of your life.

Can I ask you one last thing? Can you make somebody smile today?

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Chetan Maheshwari

Hello, I am a Project Management Professional, and an author and a blogger by passion. I like good sarcasm and humor. Books, people around me, and nature inspire me, and my blogs and book reflect the same.

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