I recently discovered a Netflix (TM) documentary called “Social Dilemma,” and was it an eye opener. Social Dilemma is directed by Jeff Orlowski, written by Davis Coombe, Vickie Curtis, and Jeff Orlowski, and has a surprising cast list of former employees, CEO’s, Executives, consultants, former Vice Presidents of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, just to name a few. The documentary explores the dangers of what happened when marketing and social media collided. I knew my data was being collected, I think most of us know that. I had no idea my feeds where designed just for me, I had no idea that there was an AI (Artificial Intelligence) created in cyber world that is none other than…. ME.
The documentary uncovers the fact that not only are these companies compiling information about you, they are also click baiting us with that information to keep us scrolling. That’s right, with marketing their number one goal for profit, we have become the product. I don’t want to ruin the 1 1/2 hour documentary for you, because I believe it is important for us all to experience it for ourselves, but I will tell you that what was most shocking to me, is that because an AI can not decipher truth from the false, much of what you are getting in your feed is FAKE NEWS. The information you see is also generated by your demographic, your political views, and what gets you “hooked,’ on scrolling your life away. No wonder I feel addicted to social media, it was developed that way.
Who else feels ashamed of their usage? I do! I cringe sometimes when I look at my usage, and I realize how many hours I have waist each week just scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. Can you relate? I am addicted to social media. I love everything about it, until now. I don’t want my personality to change, my views to change, my habits to change, based off what an AI “me,” tells me I should see. I don’t want to be motivated by fake news, aggravated by politics, and manipulated by marketing, but here I am, guilty. I get triggered. I have had arguments with some of my favorite people due to things they have shared or I have shared. At this point, who knows if the information we were arguing about was even REAL. This FAKE NEWS is causing civil unrest, but what is more heartbreaking is the sky rocketing suicide rates of our young children and teens.
The statistics are unacceptable! Pre-teen suicide rate is up 150% and teen suicide rate is up 70% and us as a society are saying “oh well, what can we do?” We need to do something, we can’t just stand by and do nothing!! Look what is happening to our society, to our teens, to our world because we have allowed this to be acceptable. We have noticed first hand the negative affects of social media with our teen. We were very cautious parents, and did not allow our daughter to have a phone or social media until the summer before she started high school. I will just give us a pat on the back for that. We thought we were so smart, wrong! Hind sight is always 2020. (and I can’t wait unit 2020 is hind site too!) She needed a phone, to be more independent, so we could get a hold of her while she was being a teen. What she didn’t need, and what we regret fully is that we allowed her to have social media. It had an immediate negative affect, that can’t be undone. CYBER BULLYING. She started High School with few friends, and it continues to be that way. Oh how I regret allowing her to start that account. If cyber bullying wasn’t enough, we have also noticed a difference in her attitude, her view points, her political opinions, and the ideals she backs. To think that her ideals are being changed because of an AI sending ideas to her feed is so scary. Politics, Black Lives Matter, The Thin Blue Line, LGBT issues, it is all being fed to her feed, just by her interests, her community, her surroundings, and to think that some of it is FAKE NEWS. Does an AI now have more influence on our daughter, then our moral ideals that we have in our home? Not to mention her attitude, depression, anxiety, and just overall bad attitude, lets just say we are dealing with the picture perfect teen girl, and of course I know NOTHING!! (insert eye-roll) However I am also a victim of these things, these feelings, this social ANXIETY. I can hardly stand not to pick up my phone and see what I am missing out there. If I can hardly control myself, what is is like for her? What is it like for your children in your life, how about you?
So what do we do about it? What am I going to do about it? How can I change? Well first off, this blog. Every time I feel inclined to “share,” on social media, I am going to share here. If my “friends,” and family really are interested in what we are doing, how farm life is going, what fun is happening at Beach Front Farm, you can just check right here http://www.beachfrontfarm.com/all-posts/ to follow our blog. Add it to your favorites list, put us on your shortcuts. We don’t have a like button, or a heart, or a AI determining what you need to see, just us! If you miss me on social media, you can find me right here. Secondly, but the hardest for me, I will be reducing my social media time. I won’t be clicking on “recommended videos,” I won’t read any political post “shares,” my friends are sharing, and I definitely am going to stop sharing posts that I have done research on myself. I am going to stop “shopping,” on any recommended links, and I am going to stop commenting on anything that is not personal. I am going to try to set a good example for my kids. Secondly, where our teen is concerned, we have limited the time she is allowed to be on social media to the hours of 4pm-6pm, at which time all devices will be removed from the room. We are going to encourage her to try to follow pages with ideas that don’t match her ideals, for educational purposes, but of course this is an uphill battle. It is a start. I would love to hear what you are doing to discourage being used as a marketing tool. I do not what to become a product. I do not what my own personal AI. I want to be released from the anxiety and stress caused by social media, and above all I do not want to be a part of something that is causing civil unrest. I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
Watch trailer here. Then watch full documentary on Netflix (TM).