What ‘The Social Dilemma’ misunderstands about social networks
I. A dilemma
On Sunday night, after being encouraged to by friends and family, I hit play on a new documentary about our digital lives. Directed by Jeff Orlowski, The Social Dilemma explores the effect of smartphones and social networks on human behavior. Blending talking-head interviews with some well known Silicon Valley apostates and fictional, after-school special-style dramatizations of what happens when Johnny and Janey scroll through feeds all day, the film presents itself as an urgent warning about our modern condition.
I’m more than a little sympathetic to these concerns. I started writing this newsletter in 2017 after coming to the belated realization that social networks really did have an outsized impact on modern life, and…