I want to look at ratio of media texts that are positive towards social media to those that are negative. I am trying to find out if I am justified by making the statement that there is not enough films focusing on the positives of social media. I’ll be excluding work by the companies themselves or product placements from film companies, as they will obviously be promoting their product. I’m going to try to find 3 texts from both sides from a range of media formats. I am going to give myself an hour for each category (positive films, positive documentaries etc.) to see if I can complete this challenge. I won’t be posting the trailers etc. for every film I find, but you can find the links in the bibliography.
- Inside (D. J. Caruso, 2011)
Inside is about a woman who is trapped in a room and is supplied with a laptop with wi-fi. She is given clues and she posts them online to get help. People all over the world get involved and the film shows how society can come together as one to help those in need.
2. Chef (Jon Favreau, 2014)
This is a film not actually about social media, but about a chef who is fired due to a public tweet he writes. While this sounds negative, social media and word of mouth ultimately helps him create his own successful business.
[time taken – 1 hour; ran out of time]
- Noah (Patrick Cederberg & Walter Woodman, 2013)
Of course I was going to add this to the list! As I’ve previously mentioned Noah is young man who is suspicious that his girlfriend is cheating on him. The film suggests that social media can create trust issues & narcissism due to the amount people post online.
2. Unfriended (Leo Gabriadze, 2014)
This horror film taking place mostly through Skype, is about a girl who was bullied to the point of her committing suicide. Her ghost torments a group of her old friends in a conversation on Skype. The director of the film has said that one of the reasons he chose to be part of the film is because it’s about bullying. He mentions that bullying has gotten a lot worse now due to the Internet (Loeffler, 2014).
3. Relationship Status: Online (TheMingThing, 2015)
Another film about having a relationship during the social media era. The short film is about a couple whose relationship suffers due to the girl’s obsession with making posts about it online. Overall the film is suggesting that people need to reduce the amount their post about their lives, or at least be present when they are with their loved ones.
[time taken – 30 minutes]
- #140Characters: A Documentary about Twitter (Bryan Beasley, 2011)
The title makes the film quite explanatory. This is a documentary about Twitter, exploring 4 people’s lives and telling their stories of how the website positively impacted their lives.
2. Generation Social (Andrew Lavigne, 2013)
Generation Social follows three people who have used social media to make their voices heard. It shows in the future there is real hope for social change as these people are already bringing communities together with social media.
3. #chicagoGirl – The Social Network Takes On A Dictator (Joe Piscatella, 2013)
This documentary is about a 19-year-old girl from Chicago who is running a revolution in Syria through social media. “With 1,200 Facebook friends and 2,000 followers on Twitter, she has built up an impressive network. She posts demonstrations as Facebook events, plots escape routes using Google Maps and uploads footage shot by demonstrators.” (The Playlist 2013)
[time taken – 40 minutes]
- Catfish (Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman 2010)
This documentary, which spawned a TV show, is about a man called Nev who has been flirting with a woman online. However his friends soon become suspicious of her and try to meet her in person. Catfish raises the question of whether we can truly trust the people at the other end of your laptop and phone screen.
2. InRealLife (Beeban Kidron, 2013)
“InRealLife asks what exactly is the internet and what is it doing to our children? Taking us on a journey from the bedrooms of British teenagers to the world of Silicon Valley, filmmaker Beeban Kidron suggests that rather than the promise of free and open connectivity, young people are increasingly ensnared in a commercial world. Beguiling and glittering on the outside, it can be alienating and addictive. Quietly building its case, InRealLife asks if we can afford to stand by while our children, trapped in their 24/7 connectivity, are being outsourced to the net?” (Dogwoof Ltd. 2017)
3. Why I’m not on Facebook (Brant Pinvidic, 2015)
A documentary about Brant who refuses to join Facebook. When asked by his son why he’s not allowed to join himself, Brant decides see what the website is truly like. He goes on a journey, meets lots of people and listens to their stories of how social media has affected them.
[time taken – 1 hour]
Based on my research, I have found that it is easier to find negative portrayals of social media in fictional films, rather than in documentaries. I have reached this conclusion because it only took me 30 minutes to find three films in the negative film category, but double the time to find the same number of negative documentaries. Although keep in mind that this challenge was only about social media, and not the Internet. I was able to find a few documentaries depicting the negative side of the Internet, such as the deep web, but because this isn’t the focus of the post I chose not to include them.
I was surprised that I was able to find 3 positive documentaries about social media within 45 minutes. I think the reason this was somewhat easy is because documentaries are based on real life; so if people in the real world are having positive experiences with social media, which they are, it can’t be ignored. As I had initially assumed, I had a hard time finding positive films about social media. This has driven me to want to create something that would be able to fit into this category.
Beasley, B. (2017) #140characters; a documentary about Twitter (trailer). Available at: https://vimeo.com/20501037 (Accessed: 4 January 2017).
Cederberg, P. (2016) NOAH. Available at: https://vimeo.com/65935223 (Accessed: 27 December 2016).
Dogwoof (2013) InRealLife- official trailer. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGKgjmKzXYM (Accessed: 4 January 2017).
Dogwoof Ltd. (2017) InRealLife. Available at: https://dogwoof.com/inreallife/ (Accessed: 4 January 2017).
Invelop Entertainment Studio (2015) Why I’m not on Facebook – official trailer – a documentary by Brant Pinvidic. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dIGasAynlY (Accessed: 27 January 2017).
Lavigne, A. (2013) Generation social – full version. Available at: https://www.reelhouse.org/andrewlavigne/generationsocialvancouvernetwork/generationsocialfullversion (Accessed: 4 January 2017).
Loeffler, S. (2014) Fantasia 2014: Genre redefined – an interview with Cybernatural’s director, Leo Gabriadze. Available at: http://www.yellmagazine.com/fantasia-2014-genre-redefined-interview-cybernaturals-director-leo-gabriadze/88717/2/ (Accessed: 4 January 2017).
Movieclips Trailers (2014) Chef official trailer #1 (2014) – Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr. Movie HD. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FF_rYNupPwg (Accessed: 4 January 2017).
Movieclips Trailers (2015) Unfriended official trailer #1 (2015) – horror movie HD. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQfjW0DLDr0 (Accessed: 4 January 2017).
TheMingThing (2015) ‘Relationship status: Online’ (short film). Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rt_SKeGPRcE (Accessed: 4 January 2017).
The Playlist (2013) ‘#chicagoGirl: The social network takes on A dictator’. Available at: https://vimeo.com/79270867 (Accessed: 4 January 2017).
Toni L. (2014) The inside experience – full movie. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJFL5kd6dG8&feature=youtu.be (Accessed: 4 January 2017).
Universal Pictures (2010) Catfish – trailer. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuE98oeL-e0 (Accessed: 4 January 2017).