#Opinion

Our Social Dilemma: Beyond the unending loop of lnstagram likes

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How many times do you scroll through the explore section of Instagram because you are bored and there is nothing exciting in your life? How many times do you post your happy self on the Instagram when you are completely in a mess but do not want anyone else to know about your real situation?

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many more have become the cornerstone of modern communication and connection as it allows users to create a sense of belonging and redefine their way of being. 

The most crucial point about say, Instagram is that it may make you feel you have nothing, and everyone is enjoying their life.

Though, it is not like that. Instagram is a platform that people rarely will share the sad parts of their life, but more the sunny side of the lie. However, it might make you feel that others are happier than you. 

 Social media usage is intimately intertwined, and their mobile nature contributes to excessive checking habits, which often derives from what is commonly labelled as the ‘Fear of missing out’(FOMO).

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“The Social Dilemma” – the recently released documentary on Netflix highlights how the social media apps store our data and uses the algorithm to bring us content based on what we search and liked recently. Not that this is surprising, but do we not like it more that way? 

We have successfully spiralled into a double standard version of ourselves without even knowing it.

We bash the social media firms for monitoring our moves and secretly enjoy how our feed is filled with our preferences. At the end of the day, every company is up here for business. When you, as a hotel manager make sure to woo your customer to make them your regulars why shouldn’t the social media companies?

The dilemma that the documentary tries to chip into our mind is that if we are using the product for free then we are the product.

The freedom is only a subtle way of capturing us into the loop of likes, tags and reels. But if we introspect, as to why this dilemma really exists, we would be startled to realise that the truth has always been floating in the air. It was us who ignored it. What distinguishes us and gives a superior hand over every other species created by the hands of nature is our capability of thinking and forming opinions. That is what differentiates a crowd of men from a herd of cows. So, if today we claim that an app has taken control over our mind and coerced us into becoming its slave, it does strips us off our superiority. No one can control our delicately designed efficiently working brain if we do not allow them to. If we cannot keep a tab over our actions, well today its an app, tomorrow it will be a microscopic robot.

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It is not that the posts themselves are triggering. But the desperation to see what other people are up to, the need for any information going, has a profound effect on body. Simply logging on to Instagram does that. The anticipation of likes, new photos from friends and, if you are lucky, a cheeky DM, is all it takes. If you are letting the meagre number of likes set an adrenaline rush, you are the problem.

The irony lies in how people are going on social media to post about social dilemma that probably was produced to freak you to death as to how you’re being used as a pawn in the world of internet and threatens you to stop using social media. This naïve action of users all around the world shows how humans have become vulnerable by over depending on the beautiful boons of Internet. How many of us read the terms and conditions laid by any app before clicking the “I Agree” button?

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One can simply adopt’ digital detox strategies’ that allow you to reduce the amount of time spent on social media. This can include simple steps, such as turning off sound notifications and only allowing yourself to check your smartphone every 30 minutes or once an hour. Other simple steps include having periods in the day where there is self-imposed non-screen time (such as during meal times) and leaving your smartphone in a separate room from where you sleep (just so you don’t get the urge to check social media before bedtime, during the night, and when you wake up).

Social Dilemma does stand as a wide wake up call to convey to the generation Z that there is a world beyond the flashy highlights ad IGTV videos that deserve equal if not more attention. When it comes to solving the problem of reducing individuals’ use of social media there is no magic bullet. While individuals are ultimately responsible for their own social media use, policymakers, social media operators, employers, and educational establishments all need to play their part in reducing excessive social media use. It all boils down to your actions that boomerang to give you consequences.

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Views expressed are author’s own. Vidhi Bubna is a contributor at SheThePeople.TV