Spoilers follow for the Black Mirror episode "Nosedive."
The Netflix original series Black Mirror presents a shocking look at the technological future of mankind — and it has already predicted some shocking world events. However, some episodes of the sci-fi series feel more real than others.
In the first episode of Season 3, titled "Nosedive," a woman named Lacie (Bryce Dallas Howard) is obsessed with her social media rating on the RateMe app — because, in this society, it determines your status in life, much like a credit rating. Everyone ranks everyone, in the way that we now casually rank our Uber drivers. You can even pay experts to help you raise your score.
Lacie is psyched when she finds out she's invited to the wedding of a friend with an extremely high social media rating, because it will help raise her own. However, along the way to the wedding, everything goes wrong. The episode ends with a devastating conclusion when she has a total meltdown and winds up in jail due to her steadily declining rating.
What's so poweful about this episode is it feels strangely accurate. With social media becoming a growing part of our lives every day, was Black Mirror dead on about our obsession?
Are We People Or Profiles?
Yes, social media obsession is a real thing — and just like in "Nosedive," there are some nasty side effects to go along with it. People often get agitated, depressed and stop taking care of themselves when obsessing over what others are doing on social media. With celebrity news being everywhere, comparing your life to the life of your favorite celebrity is sure to be detrimental.
The more Lacie is obsessed with her online rating, the worse she does at her day-to-day human interactions, which might sound familiar if you've ever spent more than an hour trying to find the perfect Instagram filter. Are we really so obsessed with what people think of us online that we're failing at our real-world connections? Black Mirror seems to think so.
The RateMe App Is Now A Real Thing
While Black Mirror is constantly giving us warnings against our own twisted technological future, the show can also now contribute to it — the producers uploaded a real-life RateMe app as a marketing stunt. This app works just like in the episode: you key your twitter handle in and it pops out a rating. You can then tweet and Facebook share a link, which others can use to rate you. (If you press on "how to boost your rating" at the bottom of the app, it takes you to the "Nosedive" episode page.)
We're already super obsessed with getting "likes" on Facebook and Instagram, and retweets on Twitter — is an app where people rate each other based on daily interactions really so preposterous? While some might say this could cause people to be nicer to each other, that margin of possibility is small. It is more likely to do the opposite and damage some lives along the way.
What Can We Do About Our Social Media Obsession?
Our first step is to use "Nosedive" as a cautionary tale. Get out there! Enjoy the world in real time! Talk to people face-to-face. Black Mirror is dead on in its depection of where our obsession with #technology and #socialmedia is headed, but we could all learn from it and change that growing trend.
It seems like in modern day society, there is always something we have to do in order to live a better and higher standard of life. We need to start asking ourselves if our perception is really worth all of the stress!