So I’ve had a couple of wines, so excuse me if my writing makes zero sense or my grammar is appalling…
But after re-watching the episode of Black Mirror that kicked off season 3, ‘Nosedive’, I wanted to write about how much Black Mirror episodes are coming true.
I think Black Mirror as a franchise is awesome. I love a good dystopian future film/novel and I’ve always kind of liked to scare myself with stuff like that, but you never expect it to actually come true. But Black Mirror is more often than not, actually predicting the future nowadays. Or should I say predicting our ‘present’?
I mean, when I recently rewatched the fantastic episode from season 2 called ‘White Christmas’, I freaked out because it pretty much described Amazon’s Alexa before it had been released to the mainstream. The whole idea of a device being given your commands to tell you all the information you need, run your schedule and even perfectly toast your bread in the morning HAS COME TRUE.
I will never purchase an Alexa purely because I believe they are spies for the government that we welcome into our homes…
Tonight I watched ‘Nosedive’ for the first time since it first came out on Netflix and it was funny to watch now, because a couple of years ago it was like ‘oh shit, this could happen’ and now it’s ‘oh shit, this is already happening’.
If you haven’t seen ‘Nosedive’ (then I recommend you watch it), but a general gist is that it is set in a not-too-distant-future where people walk around with their phones in their hand constantly. Everyone is obsessed with social media and rates each other based on their interactions in person or what they see on social media. Everyone gains and loses stars for an overall rating out of 5 that results in access to basic human rights such as who you can hang out with, where you can work, what modes of transport you can take and where you can live.
Wait, what was that? That sounds like our society already? Well yeah actually, it kind of does…
Everyone is so desperate for the popularity and self-validation that they feel from 100 or 1000 likes on an Instagram post that it takes away from their ability to talk about anything worth talking about.
Now I read blogger’s posts all the time because I love the honesty and it’s a way of finding out about places I might not have known otherwise. (I use blogs to find local brunch spots all the time.) But I’m tired of reading posts about a bloody lipstick and a dress that they’ve been gifted when I’d rather read about your life stories, experiences, about your beliefs and your opinions on things that really matter.
And it’s not a blogger’s fault, because when you’re trying to make money out of your writing, there’s no point in writing about what people don’t want to read.
It’s funny to notice the formula in a ‘successful’ Instagram post and one that’s not. I posted these two posts on Instagram recently. Guess which one got good engagement and which one got barely anything. To be honest, you don’t have to guess hard…
If you post a photo of you alone, it will get more ‘likes’ than a group shot. If you post a picture of you in a luxurious travel destination, you get extra brownie points, and if you are looking away from the camera instead of smiling directly at it, then that’s even better. (It’s candid then, after all…) Nobody wants to see a post that actually makes them feel emotions, they want to just scroll blissfully unaware through a newsfeed.
People on social media don’t care about seeing actual world issues, they only care about a glossy picture with the next item of clothing they can aspire to buy so that they can try look like the gorgeous model in the photo.
And that’s because the models looks so happy and like they have it all, so of course people associate happiness with that fabulous dress they are wearing.
And that is the ‘Nosedive’ world of social media we live in. We look for validation from those who have ‘higher ratings’ on social media and class ourselves as lower citizens when we don’t have as many followers.
We need to stop placing so much emphasis on it, or we risk losing ourselves to the digital world completely. We are quickly becoming less sociable and more superficial in real life, and finding it impossible to turn off our devices.
Don’t get me wrong, I work in digital media and I enjoy writing for my blog and have done for about 5 years now as a hobby, but I find it extremely difficult to dedicate my spare time to ‘growing my social media following’ and building my likes because I just don’t care enough.
But sadly, unless I want to become a 1.4 rating like the woman who doesn’t give a fuck in the Black Mirror episode, I kind of have to participate in order to let anyone know that I like to write some stuff from time to time. Social media is a great way of advertising.
In China, the society of ‘Nosedive’ is actually a very-near reality as they have recently voted to implement a points system for all citizens. They will gain points for doing good deeds such as giving blood and community service and lose points for committing crimes etc.
Now that all seems well and fair, right? Well that’s just where it begins… before long you’ll lose points for not smiling at a stranger in the street or telling someone when they’ve been a jackass. Oh, and did I mention that the point system will determine whether people can use public transport? Yeah, there we go – NOSE-FRICKIN-DIVE!
I pray that we are not making our way into a 1984 inspired society where our every move is watched and our every social interaction is judged, but I won’t hold my breath. The whole point of the Black Mirror series is that they prey on our fears of where our world is heading. I’m just afraid that with this one, they’ve nailed it on the head.