On Friday night I watched the Netflix documentary called “The Social Dilemma” here is the official synopsis from Wikipedia

“The Social Dilemma is a 2020 docudrama directed by Jeff Orlowski and written by Orlowski, Davis Coombe, and Vickie Curtis. Released via Netflix on September 9, 2020, the film explores the rise of social media and the damage it has caused to society, focusing on its exploitation of its users for financial gain through surveillance capitalism and data mining, how its design is meant to nurture an addiction, its use in politics, its impact on mental health (including the mental health of adolescents and rising teen suicide rates), and its role in spreading conspiracy theories and aiding groups such as flat-earthers and white supremacists.

The film features interviews with former Google design ethicist and Center for Humane Technology co-founder Tristan Harris, his fellow Center for Humane Technology co-founder Aza Raskin, Asana co-founder and Facebook’s like button co-creator Justin Rosenstein, Harvard University professor Shoshana Zuboff, former Pinterest president Tim Kendall, AI Now director of policy research Rashida Richardson, Yonder director of research Renee DiResta, Stanford University Addiction Medicine Fellowship program director Anna Lembke, and virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier. The interviews are cut together with dramatizations starring actors Skyler Gisondo, Kara Hayward, and Vincent Kartheiser, which tell the story of a teenager’s social media addiction”

Right? So daughter told me to watch and watch I did, I am not shocked or surprised but must say that some of the comments and findings really hit home. I feel a little violated in terms of my privacy and despite a personality that is extraverted and outgoing I am private. I keep my circle small and life to myself, those who know me know I share openly but you will need to get to know me first. I am thankfully not young enough to be “addicted to social media” or am I? is it really an age thing? Let us see, here are the signs:

–       Do you take your phone to bed with you at night? – yes, I do, but that is to check on emails – busted, even that is an addictive behaviour.

–       Do you check your phone before you get up to go to the bathroom in the morning? Maybe I do but that is none of your bus…. DAMNIT

–       Do you keep your phone on your desk during meetings – yup

–       Is your phone always close by no matter what – yup

Fine I am an addict! So what is the rehab? According to The Social dilemma its cold turkey, remove notifications and uninstall social media apps. I do not know if I can do that for several reasons:

–       The cat videos – of course this would be first, but I really think it is cute

–       The memes oh the memes, I have the funniest friends, I like to count myself amongst them.

–       Birthdays – Facebook has made it so that I don’t have to diarise birthdays anymore, I just check who is celebrating – send them a wish and let everyone know that I did so and there a two for one, validation and a birthday message.

–       Sometimes its fun

–       My kids my kids my kids, so I have 2 adult children wait 3, Andrew is 18 now, I get to see what they are sharing and who is loving and liking their posts, I believe this is called trolling. I am ok with that. They also send me pics of themselves so when I upload it as a “proud mom” moment, they get more likes, I believe this is called exploitation – also ok with that

–       I do use social media for business, but I am not convinced or sure that my messages are reaching who I need it to. I have an amazing marketing guru who tells me amazing things like “stop barking when you have a dog” which means that I should let her drive the social media for The Change Lab, and she does a fantastic job.

–       I have the following platforms for various reasons some are valid

o  Pinterest – for ideas of course, great coaching and HR content

o  Snapchat – no relevance other than fun

o  Facebook – that is where my friends live

o  LinkedIn for business

o  WhatsApp – well to chat – I still do not think WhatsApp counts though

o  YouTube- not really subscribed to anything but I do find myself using it a bit

Here is my opinion on the flipside of Social Media, for me anyway

–       It is a distraction; I can go down the rabbit hole of useless scrolling and get caught up in non- of- my business junk for un unproductive amount of time.

–       I do not believe that we cannot truly connect with each other through a platform not in a way that we should (call me old fashioned but nothing beats a face to face)

–       It has made us lazy, why meet up and have quality time, when we can “like” and “share” posts and get a voyeuristic view of other people’s lives

–       The advertising. Now here is where I may be a little hypocritical, I do not even watch tv ads, they annoy me. Yet I would love to get in peoples faces too. I hate having to wait 5 seconds for a video to begin and honestly do not know anyone who has ever sat through the advert and not pressed “skip ad”

–       I DO NOT LIKE TO BE TOLD WHAT TO LOOK AT this one is obviously big for me, and after watching the social dilemma I feel a bit “taken” and that is not ok.

It is unfortunate that Social Media has been used and even weaponised in many countries, and, society seems to make use of us as dummies with the algorithms and data we provide. All I keep hearing is that “if there is no product, you are the product,” that is without us going into anything knowingly so my ethical question here is “do I want to be a product as I mindlessly scroll to see how many people “like” my articles and posts? Or do I want to participate in the manipulation machine to enhance my own brand and business?

So here is my social dilemma, what if I go off the Social Media grid for a while – I have done it before, call it a detox, call it whatever. What will happen? Will my business suffer? Can I go back to marketing the old-fashioned way? Can I network even more, can I call my clients and friends and meet them face to face? Can I survive without it?

I would love to hear your thoughts engage with me away from likes and claps and shares. I would also urge you to watch the Social Dilemma and make up your own mind.

Then……check out https://www.humanetech.com/ its actually in your hands, take it back! Or do not, there are still the cat videos.

But email me kim@thechangelab.co.za lets really chat.

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