Opinion|Social Media

Top 10 takeaways from The Social Dilemma

If you haven’t seen this doco yet… I highly recommend you do.

Jeff Orlowski’s The Social Dilemma is a documentary-drama hybrid streaming on Netflix that features the voices of technologists, researchers and activists who have played a significant role in creating social media giants including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram to name a few. This doco is their attempt to raise awareness about the growing data privacy concerns, the misuse of our information and behaviour on social media – all for profitability.

Here’s how the people who help build these social media giants use (and recommend using) these platforms. I’ve put together a list of 10 tips that they share in The Social Dilemma.

Top 10 takeaways from experts

  1. Uninstall apps from your phone that end up wasting your time. Turn off notifications on any app that demands your attention like social media apps and news apps.
  2. Turn off notifications.
  3. Recommend switching from Google search engine to Qwant, a search engine which doesn’t store your search history.
  4. Never click on the video recommended to you on YouTube. Always choose. There are several chrome extension to remove recommendations.
  5. Reduce the number of notifications you receive on your phone.
  6. Before you share, fact check. Consider the source. Do that extra Google. If it seems like its designed to really push your emotions, then it probably is.
  7. Make sure you get lots of different kinds of information in your own life. Follow people who you don’t necessarily share the same views with. So that you are exposed to different points of view to avoid unintentionally being in an echo-chamber.
  8. Notice that people in the tech industry don’t give these devices to their own children.
  9. 3 simple rules for kids:
    • All devices out of the bedroom at a fixed time
    • No social media until high school
    • Work out a time budget with your kid(s)
  10. And of course, to those who can… Delete your social media accounts

“We are more profitable to a corporation if we’re spending time staring at a screen, staring at an ad, than if we’re spending that time living our life in a rich way.”

“We’re seeing corporations using powerful artificial intelligence to outsmart us and figure out how to pull our attention for the things they want us to look at rather than things that are most consistent with our goals, our values and our lives.”

– Justin Rosenstein, Co-Founder of Asana and One Project; Former engineering lead at Facebook; Former product manager at Google