Readers’ Club Activity-The Social Dilemma

Report: Readers’ Club Activity Oct 21

The Readers’ Club of the IIS (deemed to be University) organized a group discussion on October 21, 2020 on the Human Impact of Social Networking with respect to the docu-drama The Social Dilemma. The documentary-drama hybrid explores the dangerous human impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creation. The discussion kick-started with the students discussing about the narrative technique of the film with respect to how it had two parallel narratives and how such an approach lent greater credibility to the claims made by the experts. Much of the discussion also focused on the negative impacts of increased social media engagement especially in teens and young adults. The psychological effects of social media became and the complications it gives rise to such as Eating and Mood Disorders became a vital part of the session withthe participants emphasizing on how teenagers are increasingly evaluating their self-worth and self-esteem on the basis of the unrealistic standards of beauty and fitness that they see online. Emotional alienation and decreasing actual social interactions were also discussed as important problems.

The use of manipulative algorithms that are designed to encourage addictive behaviour was talked about at length along with the employment of A.I. by such tech geniuses as Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Moreover, the mining of personal data to suggest customized advertisements and how such practices have gone largely unregulated was also discussed. Many students also suggested ways in which social media engagement can be limited so as to ensure that it does not affect one’s psychological and emotional well-being. Finally, the students brought in references from Literature and other contemporary films and documentaries that have dealt with similar issues to give the session a more holistic and comprehensive conclusion. The entire session was moderated by Dr. Rani Rathorewho guided the students towards newer approaches of looking at the docu-drama and applauded the efforts of the students who actively contributed to the discussion.