Are Beauty Vloggers and Instagrammers Precursors to Black Mirror’s Dark Version of the Future?

by - Thursday, November 03, 2016

Today our friend and guest contributor, Charlene, is sharing her thoughts on a hot topic!

Having just concluded the latest season of Netflix’s Black Mirror -a show which keeps getting better - I couldn’t help pondering what future technology holds for us. If Black Mirror is anything to go by, then we should be very afraid.

The poignant first episode Nosedive gave me an introspective outlook on life, perhaps because of its similarity to our social media landscape today. In it, a woman’s quest for social ascension saw her going through extremes to gain approval. Without revealing any spoilers, the premise of the episode seemed to ask, “Is online social approval really worth it?”

In our current world of vloggers and instagrammers where people share intimate details of their personal life and get lauded for it, could we be heading towards the socially-faux futuristic society depicted in Nosedive

Not to be viewed from a one-sided angle, social media networks are what you make of them. You could choose to do extreme things for “likes” and comments, or you could stay under the radar and amuse yourself with funny cat videos. When all’s said and done, everybody is entertaining or being entertained in some way. Like a double-edged sword, there are two sides to social networking videos; the dark and the good.

The Dark Side
Vloggers and YouTubers have set a niche of their own; they have gained the ability to connect with viewers on a one-on-one basis and as a result have been chosen by brands to endorse their products.
For many people, media personalities look like they are really “cool” people to hang out with, unfortunately, it’s not always as rosy as it seems. 

·         Australian wellness vlogger Belle Gibson found internet fame and fortune when she led the whole world to believe she had cured brain cancer using ayuverdic medicine, oxygen therapy and sugar-free diet. She went on to write a book and launch a successful app on her healing regimen, only to reveal in 2015 that she never had the disease. Her loyal followers have felt deceived and there is a chance she might face criminal charges for fraud.

·         In 2014, popular beauty and fashion beauty vlogger Zoe Sugg Zoella, was embroiled in a media fiasco when it was revealed she hired author Siobhan Curham, to write her teen novel Girl Online. She eventually had to take a forced break when angry fans lashed out at her for the deception.

·         In February, YouTube sensation Sam Pepper was forced to quit social media after a prank that went horribly wrong. In the disturbing video, Sam was seen “kidnapping and murdering” a young man. Though he admitted it was a joke, viewers called for YouTube to delete his account.

I have benefited greatly from vlogs and YouTube instructional videos. YouTube is my go-to place for new product demos, DIY instructions and even the occasional cooking guide. But the obsession for constant approval and viewer hits by some vloggers can make you wonder if we are headed towards a Black Mirror-esque future. I really hope not.

Have you watched Black Mirror? What are your thoughts? Share in the comments below!

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