I am not sure how many people are familiar with the show “Black Mirror,” but it is one of the most interesting and thought provoking shows on Netflix. You might be asking yourself how does a show like this have anything to do with media literacy and social media. There is one episode in particular that relates extremely well to social media, and allows the watcher to think of changes they may need to implement in their real lives. The episode is called Nose Dive; it follows the main character Lacie, and her journey through social media. We see right from the beginning of the episode that it focuses heavily on not only social identities, but socioeconomic identities as well. The reason that I am choosing to focus solely on social media is because of society’s current dependency on it. https://medium.com/@jfontaina/black-mirror-nosedive-analysis-1bc219e8bd13 https://sites.chapman.edu/sp20ffc100-kim/2020/03/02/nosedive-analysis/
How realistic is your social media? How often do you take dozens of pictures before posting one? How often do you see other peoples socials, that lead you to criticize yourself? That is one of the major themes in this episode. Everyone has the tendency to put their best foot forward online, despite the turmoil that may cause to those viewing it. Lacie is constantly seeking the approval of “higher rated” people: in order to gain popularity as well as climb the socioeconomic ladder. In the film, she gets invited to an old friend’s wedding, this friend is of a substantially higher rating, therefore Lacie sees this as an amazing opportunity. That is, until her whole trip derails and she is given bad ratings left and right. She ends up in a jail cell, without technology and is forced to face the facts of what her life has become: Only concerned about her social gain.
My biggest takeaway from this episode was the realization that even though this is just a tv show that seems like a far-fetched idea, is actually more current than we might like to believe. There is already a tremendous amount of pressure placed on society when it comes to social media. We are expected to be perfect, and almost put on this front to everyone viewing our material. The expectations that this creates is extremely detrimental to society. If we cannot make changes to how we view social platforms, it will cause even more issues in the future.
How are we going to change? It does sometimes seem like we may be too far gone. With influencers on virtually every social media platform, it may be hard to change. I feel that one of the most simple solutions is simply education. It might sound silly, but especially with new users joining social media every day, there are often misinterpretations of what social media should be used for. If we can educate people on the reality of social media, and the possible harms that it may cause, we could start heading in the right direction. I would personally love to create a social media platform that is different from the others. It will have no filters, no hashtags, no paid promotions. Ideally it would be an app where you posted whatever you wanted, without the stress of seeming perfect. There would be no like count, follower count, and no ability to comment on people’s posts. Just people sharing the good and bad parts of their lives. I do not know if this idea would be popular right now, but one can dream. This setup would allow individuals to not focus so much on how popular their posts are, or how many people follow them. It would make it so we can genuinely stay connected in each other’s lives, without any ulterior motives: followers, likes, competition. This is not a completely reimagined idea, there are a few apps that are starting to show more attributes like the ones that I mentioned. There are however none that fully demonstrate the ideas that I would like to achieve.
I do not think we are too far gone. I believe that we can make changes, and create a more safe and inclusive social environment. Maybe one day even the biggest celebrities and influencers will join the app made to bring us together, not push us apart.
**If you are interested in changing your outlook on social media, here are some apps that are heading in the right direction!