Black Mirror "Nosedive" Analysis: The Dark Side of Social Media Ratings

Nosedive is an episode of a Black mirror where the screenplay is written by Michael Schur and Rashida Jones with the directing done by Joe Wright. (Wikipedia 2018) This essay will provide the Black Mirror "Nosedive" episode analysis.

The series is a commentary on and criticism of contemporary issues, especially the dependence of people on technology in all aspects of their lives, to the extent that they are about to be unable to communicate without it. This is the area that the series explores, the meaning of the title “black mirror” is the mirror you see on every wall and desk and in every hand, a television screen or a computer or a shiny new smartphone (Indy100 2018).

The episode “Nosedive” begins to be exposed to the culture of the internet, which depicts a world in which one's livelihood and status in society depends on their popularity on the internet. In this essay, I will first objectively summarize the episode and then write my reflections and response to the episode using my own experience and other resources to discuss social media's impact on teenagers. In a world of social networking, Lacie Pound is recklessly working hard to raise her account points on a communication platform on the internet. Lacie lives in a small apartment with her brother, but she wants to move to a more luxurious apartment that is too expensive for her current economic situation.

People have so-called points ranging from 0-5. These points represent you. If you have a high rate, you are well-respected and probably a rich person, if you have a lower rate, you are looked down upon, and you don't have as many opportunities in society as those with higher points/rates. Lacie is a 4.2, to get a discount on the apartment she must reach a 4.5, it's not about whether the apartment is suitable for her as an individual but more the individual she could become. Your score is raised or lowered each time a person rates you and Lacie hires a specialist to coach her to achieve her goal. When Lacie gets a call by her longtime friend Naomi, a 4.8, she is overjoyed as she gets to know she'll be holding a speech as the bride's maid of honor on Naomi's wedding, where the attendees have a 4.5 or greater rating and saw this as her chance! But what Lacie thought would be the latchkey to her dream apartment, turns into a descending spiral of bad luck.

Every moment starting from her exiting her house, taking a taxi, and arriving at the airport- goes downhill. Lacie gets caught in an infinite circle of challenges and incidents that couldn't have been avoided, her actions because of these incidents does not only cause mounts of stress and problems, but it also results in her getting so-called double damage for 24 hours- making her a 3.1. Midway through her long journey of challenges she gets offered a ride by a truck driving old lady with a 1.4, she hesitates at first but decides that she has no choice. Lacie didn't think twice before checking the lady's platform to see if she was a criminal, but it turned out that the lady was no different from Lacie as they both have shared the same struggles, and what has only been a drive closer to her destination, may have been a door of realization to Lacie.

What Lacie got to go through is the reality for many young people today. The desperate attempts that Lacie repeatedly exposed herself to were not only mentally destructive, but it also sabotaged her relationship with her brother. All the clothes, the fake laughs, and smiles that she practiced in front of the mirror were only acted out to impress others. This is happening today in our society, and our teenagers are constantly getting exposed to the addiction to social media.

A very interesting quote by Erik Qualman on twitter awakens many thoughts and reflections. He says: “We don't have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we do it.” This reflecting episode shows us the desperate situation that people have reached with the many means and means of social media. And I think that what Erik said is not only a connected exposition to the episode nosedive but also, something that many people can relate to today. It's not whether you have Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter (as we almost have no choice) but it's how much likes you get, how good your pictures look, how many followers you have, and the greater the proportion of followers the greater the value or life of the person and vice versa, but the reality, in fact, is often contrary.

Sussily Nutley, a Swedish neuroscientist, discusses on YLE, a Finnish public service media company, the connection between social media and mental illness among teenagers. Sussily points out that while the hour's teenagers spend on social media has increased significantly, social anxiety, depression and mental illness have gotten worse in the same short period of time. Sussily tells YLE that "Some studies show a connection between the time spent on social media and symptoms of depression."(Svenska YLE, 2018).

New York University professor and author Adam Alter also bring up an interesting and thought-provoking comparison of social media and drugs to Business Insider. He talks about what happens to your brain when someone likes your post on Instagram or any other social media platform. Adam makes a parallel comparison of social media and drugs, explaining that they have a similar effect on our brain, once you taste it, you become hooked and eventually addicted. He demonstrates that all these experiences, getting likes, trying out drugs, etc. are correlated with satisfaction and produce a chemical called dopamine, which is linked with pleasure. (Business Insider, 2017)

To have social media being compared to drugs and frequently discussed by professors shows just how much of a devastating impact it has on teenagers everyday life. The obsession and addiction of continually showing our best times and moments and the best versions of ourselves on social media to portray a "perfect life" which doesn't exist; lying to others and ourselves, is making teenagers lose their individuality and their uniqueness only to be, look or live like others. When we see others looking, or living their best life on social media, we feel useless, insecure and ineffective, this compilation of negative thoughts leads to depression and other mental instabilities in the long run.

Professor Adam Alter explains this perfectly telling us that "Every time you look at someone's feed, you're getting only the very best aspects of their lives, which makes you feel like your life, in comparison with all its messiness, probably isn't as good. Seeing the best version of everyone else's life makes you feel deprived" (Business Insider, 2017) We are swimming in a mind destructive never-ending cycle of Social Media, and once you are trapped, it's hard to get out. Nosedive is one of the best episodes that have been done about the negative level that people have reached in our time in this area, which led them to forget about interest in their reality that matters more.

03 December 2019
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