The Social Dilemma

When considering the "fake news" paradigm, consider this: this image is NOT a picture of the Statue of Liberty. It is a replica in Las Vegas.
When considering the “fake news” paradigm, consider this: this image is NOT a picture of the Statue of Liberty. It is a replica in Las Vegas.

I just watched the Netflix Original Documentary The Social Dilemma, and I have some thoughts on this rather chilling assessment of the current and future netscape.

  1. I have often been disappointed by my social media posts seeming to gather so much more attention than my blog posts here on this site, and I always have a sneaking suspicion that is due to the way social media stimulates rewards centers in the brain, while my blog posts are only well-written, thoughtful and true.
  2. The same concept applies to newspapers vs social media. One of the experts cited in this film asserts that fake news gets about six times as many shares as real news, “because real news is boring.”
  3. I recently turned down a better-paying job in corporate social media, and am feeling very vindicated for it after watching this show.
  4. Social media sharing and participation is easy for everyone, and requires little thought. In a post about my wife’s recent hospitalization, there were 318 “likes” and 108 comments, almost all of which were kind but empty, as in, “thoughts and prayers.” You feel like you are contributing something, but nothing particularly valuable.
  5. A relative of ours recently claimed with unwavering certainty that ivermectin, “cures 97 percent of all COVID-19 cases,” and she couldn’t have gotten ahold of a lie like that anywhere else but social media.

So what could the answer be? Is it enough for us to vet and share the truth every day, or will it take action by the force of governments and armies to stop poisoning our minds? Are we, as one commenting in the show asserted, headed for a civil war?

We've all heard the analogy of the "frog in boiling water," in which the heat gets higher so slowly the frog doesn't realize it is being boiled.
We’ve all heard the analogy of the “frog in boiling water,” in which the heat gets higher so slowly the frog doesn’t realize it is being boiled. Are we being boiled?


  1. I would say that the average consumer’s interest in “real news” is zero because it is “boring,” and that most young consumers get their “news” A) via social media and B) second-or-third hand. However, because they seem to know and understand the pitfalls of “fake news,” there seems to be a strong tendency to distrust everything, and ask, “is this true?” Or comment, “But I don’t know if that’s true.” The days of people relying on the news are over and the days of accepting the likely unreliability of social media are in full force and effect. And I’m sad about the frogs.

  2. There is so much I want to say on this topic, but my job prevents me from offering my opinion. Keep on being the journalist you are.

  3. I don’t even bother with my webpage anymore. Honestly if it wasn’t for the domain, and the email addresses that come with it, I would probably just do away with it. As for social media, it is my picture distribution system and nothing more. I rarely scroll, I rarely read, and I rarely comment on anything anymore.

    In large part that is because I’ve given up fighting the hordes of ignorance. If you speak out about something the zombie mob of ignorance rises from the depths and the mob converges angry over the idea someone still has a functioning brain.

    My last ten years at work was a fight. I had a slew of bosses, I had bosses of the bosses that were my bosses boss. Without exception not a single one of them had any experience doing what we did. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Every day was a battle. Every. Single. Day.

    Recently, I read a post from a local (?) tv station that clearly was designed to wake the zombie mob. As I read the 240 zillionth comment parroting the same false information, the same untruths, and the same ignorance that can be found on some of the 24×7 “news” channels I came to the realization there is probably nothing more useless than engaging the zombies.

    I still read 2 or 3 newspapers every morning. I still scroll social media occasionally but for 99.9% of my time on social media the only goal is to distribute pictures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *