Episode one from season three of Black Mirror portrays a society where the people rate each other on a scale from one to five stars for every interaction they have. These ratings have an impact on their socioeconomic status, which impacts things such as where they can live and the people they can hang out with. The main character, Lacie, was determined to increase her rating in order to move into a luxurious apartment. When Lacie asked an adviser about ways that she could increase her rating, she was told that she mainly interacted with low ranked people; therefore, it would take her about two years to increase her rating to the score that she needed for the apartment. This reminded me of the article we read about how companies use and analyze data from the internet since their ratings were similar to a credit score. In the article, they mentioned that, “Facebook has registered a patent for credit assessment based on the credit ratings of someone’s friends on a social network” (Cracked Labs, 2017). Lacie was basically told that her friends were the reason that she could not get the apartment. In my opinion, your friend list on a social media platform does not correlate to your creditworthiness at all! From that point on, Lacie looked at the profiles of high ranked people, and began to post similar things in order to receive higher ratings. She even agreed to be the maid of honor for a childhood friend’s wedding just because she knew that the guest list was filled with high ranked people. Her brother noticed that she was not being herself, and he criticized her for changing herself just to impress others.
Throughout the episode, people were always on their phones posting things about their personal lives and whatever they were doing to impress others and receive ratings. In this instance, the ratings can be compared to likes on Instagram or retweets on Twitter. People posted so much information that strangers would walk up to them and have a conversation about their personal lives because of something that person saw on their social media account. These scenes reminded me of a verse from one of Drake’s recent songs titled “Emotionless.” The verse says:
I know a girl whose one goal was to visit Rome
Then she finally got to Rome
And all she did was post pictures for people at home
‘Cause all that mattered was impressin’ everybody she’s known
I know another girl that’s cryin’ out for help
But her latest caption is “Leave me alone”
I know a girl happily married ’til she puts down her phone
I know a girl that saves pictures from places she’s flown
To post later and make it look like she’s still on the go
Look at the way we live.
I think this verse clearly summarizes the society that was portrayed in this episode, which is very similar to the social media driven society that we live in today. In today’s society, people think that everything belongs on social media because other people need to see it; it’s almost like we forgot what privacy is. In class, we also talked about how people create online personas that are often very different from how the person is in real life. Online personas allow people to fit into groups that they would not normally be a part of; it allows people to create an image of how they would like the world to perceive them. The picture shown at the beginning of my blog shows a girl that created a background to make it seem like she was enjoying herself on a beach for Instagram, but in reality she is at home. The picture may seem silly, but I’ve seen friends do something similar to that many times; they take pictures to make it seem like they’re having fun when they are not. I also think that the question below the image is something that we should take a minute to think about. Does your social media presence represent the real you?