Tech Talk Roundtable 08-03 | Unpacking “The Social Dilemma”


Every breath you take, every post you make, every page you swipe, anything you type, they’ll be watching you.  Woa! That’s really creepy! They’ll be watching ME?  Who’s watching me?  Social media of course!  And what are they doing with all that information they collect on you? That’s the “Social Dilemma”.  Today we’ll be talking about the new documentary showing on Netflix that’s the center of a lot of  talk among tech people, schools, parents or anyone who uses social media tools, aka EVERYBODY!  Should we be afraid?  Should we delete our Facebook and Google accounts? Join us as we dig into those and other questions, and together unpack “The Social Dilemma”

Lessons Learned

Dennis –  Learned from Rushton Hurley at ACAMIS Conference.  Which would you rather do – “change” or “improve”?  People often say they dislike change, but rarely  say they don’t want to improve.  Look at what you are doing today and see what you can do to make it just a little bit better.

Chris – Search engine use globally reveals that over 92% of all web traffic flows through Google <>. In the US that number is over 88%. Imagine the data being parsed there! The closest runner up is Bing, coming in at 2.83% usage globally. If you want a search engine that reduces parsing your data then try duckduckgo <>, or use the duckduckgo extension in chrome that combines the search engine, tracker blocker, and encryption enforcer into one Chrome Extension

Daniel – Nothing better than wired connection.  Moved into my new home and set up the LAN network.  Old and trusted Apple airports.  Keep the same SSID (Service Set Identifier) Name and Password.

Fun Fact

World Wide Social Media

Facebook has 2.7 billion monthly active users as of July 2020.  Which country has the most Facebook Users?

India 290 million (21.4% of their total population)

US 190 million (57%)

Indonesia 140 million (52%)

Brazil 130 million (62%)

Mexico 89 million (70%)

Philippines 76million (71%)

Which country spends the most time on Social Media? The Philippines


Notes & Links

There’s been lots of talk about the “documentary” The Social Dilemma on NetFlix.  The talk centers around the seemingly nefarious nature of Social Media Tools – specifically Facebook and Google – and how they are manipulating us and intentionally trying to change our behavior for the benefit of their advertisers or for political purposes.


Our Take on this film…


Daniel –

  • The tension and anxiety that it produced at the beginning was a bit much.  We know that these companies are making lots of money by offering us a ‘free’ service.
  • Flip side of the coin – Good intentions/Systems take on a life of their own.
  • “Eroding the social fabric of society”
  • Have we all fallen under a spell?
  • Tristan Harris – Design Ethicist – Ethical Design
    • Companies notifications are changing our behaviour
  • Jaron Lanier – Author
  • Center for Humane Technology – Aza Raskin
    • “If you’re not paying for the product, then you are the product.
  • Competing for your attention:  “How much of your life can you give to us?” Jaron Lanier – It’s the gradual, slight, imperceptible change in your own behavior and perception that is the product.  (Changing what you do and think)
  • Discussion – TV for many decades did this with cable television….what is different?
    • Notifications
  • All data (clicks, searches, likes) is stored which creates models of a user
  • Online connection has become primary.
  • Persuasive Technology – Designed to change your behaviour in a specific way. Unconscious habit.
    • Tagging people in photos, Emojis, autofill
  • “Not for our good.  They want us to be zombies so we watch more ads.
  • Moved from a tools-based technology environment to an addiction and manipulation based environment.
    • Uses your psychology against you.
  • Digital Pacifier – No longer are we alone with our thoughts.
  • Conclusion -Blah Blah Blah


Chris – Feeding us a steady diet of self-reinforcing, often non-factual news, is the single greatest contributor to the growth of the extreme right and the extreme left. The former VP of Facebook’s monetization team now has a single greatest short-term fear for the US: civil war!

Don’t believe me? Checked out Wired article:

Dennis – my notes while I watched…

  • The produced segments seem a bit contrived – scare tactics.
    • Daniel – Was nice to see that Welsley Crusher was at the helm of our attention.
  • Not selling your data. You are not the product. The product is how they can change your behavior.
  • Goals of Social Media
    • Engagement
    •  Growth
    • Advertising
  • “Yeah, right” moment – Scene in the kitchen when the phone nefariously calls the kid who’s trying to go without for a week.
  • “Two businesses call their customers “Users”  – software and drug dealers.”
  • How do you navigate truth? What is truth?
  • Democracy threatened.
  • Best part happens during the end credits. This is where the experts explain what  we SHOULD be doing.

About miles.mei

Technology Multimedia Specialist

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