reflecting on the #socialdilemma, do mirrors provide a true reflection?

This is a response to the filmmaker Jeff Orlowski Netflix documentary Social Dilemma.  If you have not watched it yet, it is worth it.  There are many write up’s,  here are three of my picks one, two three.   

However, rather than write another commentary on the pros and cons of the movie, I wanted to reflect on the idea that Social Media is a reflection of society - as this is a core tenant on the work.  The big theme is that all the platforms do is create a mirror reflecting back what society is like.   However, there is more than one type of mirror!


The play in our minds is that a mirror is a mirror and does what it says on the tin, it reflects. If true, job done as such and it makes no sense to read on.  However, we know from CSI and other spy films there are one ways mirrors as well.  If we look at Social Media only through the lens of a reflecting mirror; we certainly can’t blame anyone for any outcome but ourselves.   But we intrinsically know that Social Media is not a reflective mirror. 

The imagination mirror is one where we make up what we want to see. Another reflection mirror is one that disperses light, we see the rainbow of choice or like the ones at the fairground that provide a distorted reflection of reality.     

The lower three are the dark mirrors - where the reflection is what someone else would like you believe is a truth, but creating confusion through a contradictory position.  The true black mirrors of control and manipulation complete the set.  These are closer to the two way spy mirrors as it allows others to see us without us knowing and be able to control the situation without us really knowing.

The key point, we should not assume or trust that the mirror we hold up is one that can provide a true reflection.