Are we aware of the Impact that Social Media plays in our life?
Social media platforms make it easier to grow and live in our own bubbles, filtering and reinforcing as echo chambers and influencing behaviours and thoughts- all of which have always endangered social stability and cohesion while minimising division. However this didn’t start with social media: communities, influential voices and brands in all their forms were doing this long before these platforms came to light. Digital platforms just enable interactions to grow to a much larger scale – amplifying their reach and impacts, both good and bad.
This is one of the many questions that the Netflix Original Docu-drama “The Social Dilemma” tries to answer in its 90 minutes runtime, focusing on the consequences that a younger audience of users might face in this new age of technological advancements. The Film was a hit and has created quite the buzz online, with people overall apalled by the revelations contained in it.
But what does the Gen Z really think about this? How is this new generation reacting to the narrative put forth by this Docu-drama?
To answer this pressing question, Ese Milan Campus unveiled a research conducted on Ese students, collecting their impressions before and after the viewing, to truly understand from their own voices how the lives of a young generation impacted by Social Media.
Right off the bat, an interesting trend came up: the results show that 65% of the students interviewed estimated an equal or greater amount of hours spent on Social media than the actual time, which would suggest a good level of awareness, despite what the general perception is. Students were then asked which of the 8 basic emotions they felt as they watched the Docu-drama and Disgust was overall the most prominent one, closely followed by Surprise, Fear and in minimal part Anger and Indifference. It’s clear that the Film has struck a chord within ESE students.
Eventually, students were asked, as a final question, if the The Social Dilemma had inspired them to change their social media habits – and once again the answers were surprising.
About half of the interviewees stated that their social media use is actually rather balanced and they would rather keep an eye on their current usage rather than changing their habits. “I don’t think I stay more than I should on Social Media” summarizes one Student “because I put lots of priorities first and if I do use social media Apps, I watch content that either teaches me something or helps my personal growth”. “I’ll definitely double check cookies and other data that may expose my personal info” concludes another interviewee “We all leave digital footprints and we need to be aware of that”.
This social experiment, as surprising as it was, proved that in order to understand the iGen we need to rethink the way we perceive them and start from their own perspective, their own truth: only by acknowledging this we will be able to have a better and more complete picture of how this new Generation operates.
Humans can easily fall under an influence and be manipulated, as we all tend to trip on unconscious bias, confirmation bias and habit. These are some of the behaviours that digital tools leverage, count on and trade off. But as humans we’re also capable of independent thought, critical thinking, complex self awareness and reflection, personal responsibility, taking action and behavioural change.