<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=157568251604410&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Black Mirror: a dive into the hell of social networks?

The British television series Black Mirror that appeared on our screens in 2011 caused quite a stir with its original approach (each episode is a complete story) and its vision of an eerie futuristic world where technology has taken control of our lives. 

The excellent episode 1 of season 3 - now airing on Netflix - depicts a frightening future for our social-networked society. The online magazine Vox describes it as "a nightmare of Social Media in a pastel-colored dream"

In reality, there is little chance that this prophecy will ever be proven right. Here's why.

The story takes place in the near future. A young woman, named Lacie, lives her life in a society where a soft dictatorship established by social media reigns. Human relationships (from simple handshakes to interpersonal conflicts) are conditioned by a rating system comparable to Yelp or eBay.

Lacie, played by the excellent Bryce Dallas Howard

Every character in the episode has a super smartphone (with ocular interface), capable of recording and broadcasting moments from their own lives and learning about the lives of others.

The phone identifies each person crossed and offers each interaction the possibility to rate the exchange (on a scale of 1 to 5). Depending on the quality of his social behavior or his daily publications, the individual rating will vary. The note attached to a person appears on his screen when we cross it, indicating immediately his ranking in the social hierarchy. 

The scenario of the episode entitled " Nosedive " is interesting and terrifying, but remains highly improbable in a democratic society.

Let's go back to Lacie for a moment. She lives with her brother (a gamer) in a kind of digital hell. She seeks to get out of it by raising her " society " grade.

Concretely, to acquire the apartment of her dreams, Lacie must raise her rating from 4.2 to over 4.5. In her quest to get that grade at all costs, she is willing to anything. And that's when her troubles will start.


Can we imagine a social contract based on such a rating system?

Reason #1: The scoring system is not (very) reliable

A 2013 Nielsen survey showed that 80% of online shoppers say they take into account reviews and 68% trust consumer opinions. 

However, a scoring controversy of "The New Adventures of Aladdin" on AlloCiné recently called into question the site's scoring system in depth.

In June 2016, a study conducted by the University of Colorado proved that Amazon's star rating system did not reflect the objective quality of items on sale.

As these "cases" come out, the public tends to become more suspicious.

In the Black Mirror episode, the rating system is accepted by 100% of the population.

Or, even in a world like ours,  much less digitally integrated than that of " Nosedive ", people are starting to distrust grades. There is talk even of doing away with them in school !

Add that a rating system can be easily hacked (bots, etc.)


Even when reduced to e-commerce, this technique hardly works. It is therefore unlikely to take hold in an entire company.


Rationale #2: Human relationships are based on original content exchanges

In the episode of Black Mirror, Lacie meets another woman. She learns her story which upsets her. This story explains to her that diving (Nosedive) into the unknown may be better than a too perfectly constructed life.

Nosedive: A Plunge into Social Network Hell?

More than a note, what cements Internet users is authentic content : A story, an encounter, a constructive exchange.

We then understand that the relationship with others is more related to a narrative that we build, than to an arbitrarily given note.


To build a relationship, therefore, it is essential to build an effective storytelling based on authenticity and a rejection of the rating system 

Season #3: China tried...and backed down

As her setbacks unfold, Lacie faces a downgrade in her " societal " rating that devalues her in status and even physically.

This could not happen unless we break out of the democratic system. And even an authoritarian government like China's tried to put such a system in place ... before backing down in the face of an outcry from its people!

The story of Black Mirror assumes that we are all slaves to ultra-intrusive technology. Some fear that this is already the case.

But that's not the reality. We certainly spend a lot of time on mobile and connected tools, but it's mostly to interact with other humans.

Digital is just a tool, not a business model.

It is useful to remember this as an individual but also as a company. In order to be visible to everyone, we must first and foremost think about working on the substance, the writing, the story, rather than relying too easily on technological advances.


Call-to-action ebook visibilité Internet 

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Idées, Social Media Management, UGC, Storytelling, Système de notation, Black Mirror