On January 26, 2020, The Social Dilemma made its way to Netflix. This movie is a two-sided story. One side is numerous interviews from individuals that work with various social media mediums. The other is a tale of a “normal” family that deals with the daily struggles that social media brings into our lives, such as addiction, depression, and anxiety.
One part of the film that resonated with me was when Tim Kendal, the former President of Pinterest, discussed how he would come home from a long day working for Pinterest, knowing very well how these applications are manipulating users, and still being unable to disconnect and be in the present. This resonated so much with me because social media is a huge part of my job, yet I still feel the need to be on social media when I am not at work. I run the social media sites and numerous other duties for six DI teams at The University of New Mexico. I often find myself making excuses when I get home from work in order not to feel guilty for getting on social media. One of my most common excuses is, “I was working on other people’s social media all day. It’s not bad if I stay on for a bit longer to check my own social media.”
Another point this movie brought up was how social media distorts the way we perceive the world around us, including ourselves. We are living in a time where algorithms decide what notifications we receive and when, and that in itself plays on the human psyche (News18). I myself have fallen prey to this distortion, and I think that the more you interact with content that makes you insecure, the more you see of it. With that being said, it is very easy to get insecure over social media. The way I try to keep it in perspective is by telling myself, “I am looking at someone's best of what their life has to offer. This does not tell me the whole story.” Although that does help, it does not always stop the intrusive thoughts that come into my mind from time to time.
TikTok has implemented one interesting method of creating a healthy relationship with social media. This new method is videos that pop up on your feed that tell you that you have been scrolling too long, that you should go to sleep, or that you should drink some water. Although these may not be the most effective videos in the world, they are taking a crack at slowing social media consumption, even if it’s just by a small amount. These videos are really the only attempts that I am aware of to help develop a healthy relationship with technology.
In my opinion, technology is too far integrated into civilization to be controlled at this point. The pandemic brought that to life. We have lived through a time and are currently living through a time where, in many situations, you do not have to go to the office because technology allows you the ability to work from home. Although this was a blessing and a big change for many last March, it has shown that individuals that once had office jobs can get the work done from home permanently. Although this may not be a bad thing for many, it brings up the dilemma of being able to shut off work. If you sleep where you work and work where you sleep, how do you differentiate the two? I know for me, I work about 90 hours a week in the office and still take work home with me a majority of the time. I don’t have that switch, and since I always have my phone, and my phone is connected to my email, it’s almost as if I am always working.
I truly do think I would be able to disconnect from social media for more than 24 hours. I think everyone should try it every once in a while to re-introduce what we are like face to face and not just who we are behind a screen.