Our lives revolve around social media.
We notify Facebook whenever we get into a new relationship. Hashtags are used to make sure everyone knows just how in love we are. We get more excited for the likes and the validation than the actual date. Meals don’t taste quite as good if we can’t put an Instagram filter over them. Life has been broken down into likes, impressions and followers. Social rank is more important than it ever was.
Imagine a world in which you could look at someone and instantly see how they rank on social media via augmented reality. That is what Netflix’s hit show, Black Mirror, explores in its episode entitled “Nosedive.” Given the creepy nature of this series, coupled with the perfect storm of Halloween proximity and social media themes, we thought we’d have a little fun and review this episode with you. Give some thought to how pervasive social media is in your life and how much more it might be in the not too distant future. Enjoy…if you dare.
Google Glass? How Quaint!
“Nosedive” explores a fictitious world in which augmented reality contact lenses display user generated scores glowing across everyone’s faces. These scores range from 0 to 5. If you have a negative experience with someone, you can give them a rank of 1 and it will affect their score. Furthermore, having a low score affects your status in society, your access to services such as luxury apartments and car rentals, and even your employability. You literally cannot rent a nice hotel room in this world if you have a low social score.
The episode centers around protagonist Lacie Pound (played by Bryce Dallas Howard). Lacie is obsessed with maintaining this Martha Stewart-type appeal so that people will give her high rankings. She goes out of her way to prepare meals that look great, but taste horrible. She does this just so she can photograph her Instagram-worthy food in hopes of getting high ratings from her friends.
Lacie’s social media popularity lands her the position of Maid of Honor by an old friend of hers, who happens to have a high rating of 4.7. Furthermore, most of the people who will attend this wedding have ratings of 4.5 and above. In this world, ratings from higher ranking people are worth more. This is Lacie’s perfect chance to increase her rating.
The wedding is at a private island, so Lacie has to catch a plane. At the airport, the airline informs her that her flight has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. Lacie freaks out. Since this society is so tailor-made to produce content that appeals to the masses, no one shows their true emotions. When Lacie lashes out at the airline, they call the police on her.
In this world, instead of getting a ticket, you get points deducted from your rating. Lacie went from being a 4.2 to a 3.2 because of her outburst at the airport. She was also put on “double damage.” This means that if someone gives her a low ranking, her score is affected twice as much.
Lacie is escorted out of the airport. Since she has a low score, she is only able to rent a crappy car. She hopes to still drive to the wedding even though it is a few thousand miles away.
While driving her crappy car, the vehicle breaks down. Lacie is stranded in the middle of the highway. Since she has a low score of 3.2, no one wants to help her get to where she is going. People literally drive by and ignore her. This angers Lacie so much that she yells at the passing drivers. The more she yells, the more people stop and give her negative ratings. Lacie goes from a 3.2 to a 2.1.
When the bride is notified of Lacie’s low rating score, she calls Lacie and tells her that she can no longer attend the wedding. Lacie is furious, but she decides to drive to the wedding anyway.
After a series of low ratings and bad luck, Lacie makes it to the island. She notices a sign that reads “Ratings of 4.0 and above only are allowed entry.” Lacie has to climb a fence while no one is looking.
She is completely destroyed by her journey and her clothes are in tatters. After making it to the other side of the island, she notices that the wedding ceremony has already commenced. Lacie sneaks into the wedding and steals a microphone to give a speech as to why the world isn’t a good place anymore. She is fed up with the rating system. It doesn’t help that she picks up a knife while she is giving this speech. Everyone in attendance gives her negative reviews. When she hits 0, police officers escort her into a prison that looks straight out of the novel, 1984.
Does Life Imitate Art, Or…
While this episode is a bit extreme, it is not too far removed from our current reality. To get a job, you are asked for your social media profiles. Even real estate agents are checking social media accounts. Oh, and have you ever heard of Klout Perks? What’s even scarier is that an app was almost created that literally depicts Lacie’s world!
Back in 2015, an app called Peeple was being developed that was basically “Yelp for people.” There was a huge public outcry against the app, so it was never developed.
Even though “Nosedive” is a complete satire, there is a lot of truth to it. It raises the question: does social media jeopardize authenticity? What do you guys think? Let’s continue the conversation on Twitter (but we can’t promise that someone, somewhere, is not keeping score!)
Image credits: Netflix