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Sarthak Sharma for XenoX

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/the social dilemma_ of an Engineer 💻

No, I did not steal the title from Jeff Orlowski; I borrowed it.

Having watched Netflix's The Social Dilemma recently, I certainly gained a fresh insight into the tech world but did not find myself acquiring any newfound knowledge. This smooth familiarity with reduced tech usage is perhaps the result of having invested a bulky chunk of my time drafting articles, creating guides, and building Open Source products regarding the same.

Concerning the movie, the outputs remain targeted to aid the layman and not the developers. The extensive use of anecdotal episodes and unrestricted storytelling made it easy for the novice to grasp complex concepts like algorithms and machine learning.
Kudos to Netflix for the fabulous job! The critics and the appreciators of the movie are all welcome to contribute their inputs in the comment section.

Now, having reviewed the movie, let's head towards the emerging question, shall we?

What is our role in this?

I recall discussing this hypothetical situation about your company abusing its users and asking whether you would express loyalty to the company or ethicality towards humankind. The outcome of the responses was varied, and I could not conclude the right step to be taken, as is the case with a majority of philosophical debates. But after seeing the addiction of the inventors of tech gadgets in the documentary, it was pretty clear to me that following the ethical trail is rewarding in the long-term. This made me realise how the techies can perform certain actions to influence people and create awareness about the downside of gadgets and technology.

Here are the key steps I believe we as developers can formulate to bring a change.

1. Educate: 🧑🏽🏫

We as developers might not be as unaffected by technology as the masses, but we are conscious and aware of its perks and pitfalls. And so we must undertake the task of educating people about the threat of technology.
When I used to come across a person with their head shoved into the phone, I transformed into a preacher of health intending to help them understand the damaging effects of prolonged gadget use. Although people didn't greet me affectionately post-lecture, I continued, and I would choose to believe it has bettered the lifestyle of a handful of people.
One does not always have to go the high way here, start with guiding your family and friends. It's all about taking efficient steps to bring change and not an immediate giant leap.

2. Innovate 👨🏻🔬

You possess the masterful ability to ponder, so imagine innovative solutions to appeal to the masses.
I started XenoX 🔥 to accomplish this purpose, to unite with fresh talent and design a productive solution that will spark a discussion regarding these issues and will eventually encourage people to apply these methods in real life.
In the past few years, a lot of people have crafted tons of creative projects. I hope this culture continues while we try to support people in every manner possible.

3. Inspire 🧐

Three years ago, I ditched Facebook and Instagram.
My friends wondered about my whereabouts while I enjoyed the peaceful harmony I had attained. When they questioned me about my social media abstinence, I described it as a permanent detox I was undergoing. A year later, they dropped these platforms as well.
Irrespective of the factor that sparked the change, this counts as a slow and steady reform.
Also, I still stand true to my oath and only maintain Twitter and LinkedIn for work purposes and yes, the aim of quitting social media is definitely achievable.

Can't figure out whether you are addicted, or are in denial?
Here's a quick test:
Just pick a social media platform, preferably the one that consumes most of your screen time, and try to survive without it for a week. Eradicate its existence from your memory and perceive the effects it has on you. When you reflect upon your relationship with tech, you'll open your eyes to the unnecessary toxicity you are cradling in your life.

To sum up, I'd like to add; we started this, we can fix it.
It's never too late until it is.

Enough with the monologue, let's keep the conversation going. Gear up your termination strategies, share your ideas in the comment section and hit us up if you notice an additional solution to cease this emerging crisis.

Thanks a lot for reading. If you have feedback or would like to present an idea, you can reach out to me on Twitter, @sarthology. I will soon be starting a new series on our latest blog, LastMocha🥤, about being more Productive and achieving Digital Detox. Do subscribe!

Top comments (17)

amaljoy258 profile image
Amal Joy

Watched this documentary film yesterday. And I'm glad that I'm not using Facebook for the past 3 years. I'm inspired by the message of this film. We as a developer, must educate people about this. During this pandemic period, I've changed my habit of using social medias and honestly, my daily mobile usage is less than 30 mins. Instead of scrolling through social media apps, I learn new courses, read articles about UI/UX design, which I'm working on right now. I've more time to spend with my family, friends, studies & work. Yes, quitting social media is definitely achievable and it'll make a big difference in our life.

sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma

And I can vouche that you are productive indeed. 😅

amaljoy258 profile image
Amal Joy


manasp profile image
Manas P

Yeah you are right 💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻
Im also following the same thing (But I use Instagram)

sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma

I was actually thinking about writing how to use social media mindfully may be you can use that. 🙂

Thread Thread
machineno15 profile image
Tanvir Shaikh

Guess that will be helpful , i use insnagram mostly for UI/UX, creative photo,video editings n follows all tech stuff , then i use those concepts n ideas for my work.
I feels like I'm using it as productive way, but do i really ?i have a doubt .
can you help .

vignesh865 profile image

Already AI got you. Watched yesterday, seeing this dev post today on fb. The social dilemma.

Same case for me too

lady_ana_developer profile image

It is very interesting. Developers should disconnect from devices from time to time.
Furthermore, it is a good idea for device detox, include other activities like make art and craft or play an instrument.

sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma

Or meditation 🧘🏻‍♂️ 😅

juanfrank77 profile image
Juan F Gonzalez

@sarthology Like the saying goes, "Great minds think alike". I made a post about doing "Digital Detox" as well

I also started slowly getting out of the Strong Grip that Facebook had on me. Started in 2018 in the first months and by the second semester, I only checked it a few times a month.

Got called a hermit for not using Fb or Ig but for me it was bliss. I, as well, only use Twitter and LinkedIn as social media platforms and not for personal purposes.

Let me know if you'd like to have new ideas for that series in your new blog, would be happy to help. 😄

sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma

Woahh !! We are actually looking for great authors like you to help world be a better place. 😊
Dm me on @sarthology

endieposts profile image
Endie • Edited

While I definitely sympathise with the message of this blog, I wish that the author hadn't compensated for his lack of social media engagement by embedding frustrating, unpausible distractions throughout the article in the form of Buzzfeed-style gifs. Nobody making a serious point should think that listicle-with-gifs improves their message. They just made me turn on my ad-blocker - probably not any website's desired outcome - and block the images.

devwhoruns profile image

I created 2 accounts on FB. Logged out of one of them almost 4 years ago and kept the other one only for groups. Life becomes better without FB and Insta for sure. Now only on twitter and in like you but thinking of only keeping one after 2021.

sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma


sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma