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The Social Dilemma




As an avid Netflix watcher and social media user, when I saw the promotions for Netflix’s new documentary, The Social Dilemma, I added it to my watchlist immediately. I am sure I want to work in social media in my future career, and as the Director of Social Media for our chapter, I figured this new documentary would be right up my alley. 

The Social Dilemma highlights everything wrong with social media and urges the viewers to recognize that social media is actually doing more harm than good. The film illustrates the idea that technology and social media companies, like Google and Facebook, are using our online actions to manipulate us into giving all of our attention to these apps. This manipulation is done without us knowing, and these companies are making huge amounts of money off of it. These apps also perpetuate fake news and conspiracies, without facing any repercussions for doing so. Their algorithms make it easy to waste hours on our phones, making it a true addiction.

So, remind me again why I want to work in social media? Well, it’s not so bad. Social media has now become a place for brands to get exposure and gain new customers, and that’s where PR professionals come in. Although there may be personal issues with social media, it is something that is very beneficial for brands to utilize as a marketing tool. As future PR professionals, it is very important that we learn how to use social media in a way that benefits our clients, and to warn others about the unethical things that may be going on with these technology companies and our data.

Ethics is one topic that comes up in every single one of my PR classes and it is more important than ever before to maintain high ethical standards. By now, Facebook has probably been accused hundreds of times of using our personal habits and data against us, unethically and against our will. The PR industry has become intertwined with social media, so it is now our duty to combat its negative aspects and make it a beneficial tool for everyone. 

With the knowledge of social media and ethics that we PR students have, I am optimistic that future PR professionals can dispel the negative parts of social media and provide a more ethical and privatized approach to it. The truth is, social media is a valuable and free tool for brands and businesses to use, and it is here to stay. That just means we have to use it in a positive and ethical way. 

This blog post was written by Kiersten Sholly, Director of Social Media.

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