“The first episode of Black Mirror was as intense as it was realistic, showing a world a bit too close for comfort in our selfie-obsessed society.

The first episode of the third season of this hit psychological series, titled ‘Nosedive,’ stars Bryce Dallas Howard of Twilight fame and one of my favourite actresses. I was expecting good things to fill my long spout of procrastination. What I got was a mind warp.  

“you can be as fake as a houseplant to entice people online, but it’s doubtful that your 200th instagram follower will make your real life any better.”

‘Nosedive,’ set in the near future, centres around a new form of social media where everyone is given a rating out of 5, which can go up and down depending on how others rate your profile and interactions with you. It’s not too dissimilar to a class system, with those of higher ratings having access to certain privileges. Those of lower ratings are unable to access certain jobs, restricted from entering certain areas, and are ultimately shunned by those with higher ratings.

This leads to a society where everyone has a need to be liked. They upload videos of themselves doing cute things with their friends. They post aesthetic pictures of food they’re eating in hopes people rate them highly. They take picture after picture until it looks just right, and then wait for the likes – oops, I mean ratings – to come flooding in.

Now, doesn’t that sound familiar? We tweet and hope people like, retweet, or even follow us. We upload pictures to Instagram that are perfectly and artistically shot to rake in the likes. I admit I’ve done that thing where you take a dozen pictures of a slice of cake or your face to get it just right, and then wait to see how many likes that post will get. My friend and I have even looked through our Instagrams to see who has the picture with the most likes, or who has the most followers. It’s me by the way. Just saying.

The closest thing we have to rate technology is Tinder, I guess. A dating app where you decide whether you like or don’t like a person. If you like them then there’s the possibility of a match. If you don’t then you lose them to the Tinder-sphere.

Granted, Tinder is probably quite far off from a universally used rating system that affects your social standing. But what if Tinder had an update where the more right swipes you get, the higher score you get? Then it’s no longer just a dating app, but an app to see how many people like you and who is the most liked. Then we’ll form a friendship with those with the same number of likes as us, and shun those with lower. Then you’ll need likes to be able to ride a bus. Then the whole world will fall into ruin!

Okay, maybe not that. I’m just being dramatic to emphasise our generations’ obsession with being ‘liked’ by social media.

 

A great addition to ‘Nosedive’ was a character with a very low rating of 1.6; an older lady who had lost her husband to cancer. When Howard’s character questions why she doesn’t care about her rating the older lady basically says ‘being liked didn’t cure by husbands cancer, so I stopped caring if I was liked.’ This older lady then went on living her life saying what she wanted when she wanted and was happier for it. She represented this idea that you can be as fake as a houseplant to entice people online, but it’s doubtful that your 200th Instagram follower will make your real life any better.

I’m not sure if this has become a review, another one of my depressing observations on modern obsession with social media, or a monstrous hybrid of the two.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, social media has taken over our lives. It has become as much a part of everyday life as cars and clothes, and it is never leaving. Let’s just hope Charlie Brooker is wrong this time. Or we’ll all be living a pastel-coloured social media nightmare.

If you’re curious of your rating there’s a test you can take from The Telegraph that is totally legit… What is your rating?