There is no question that social media may be the best (and worst) thing that has ever happened to society. While we’re more connected than ever with the world around us, we’re also exposed to so much content that we’re damned to find ourselves comparing lives with some influencer who seems to have it all together.
The new Netflix docudrama, The Social Dilemma, explores the phenomenon of social media and the damage it has caused to society. From the exploitation of its users for financial gain through surveillance capitalism and data mining, to how apps and their designs are meant to feed into human addiction to the impact of social media on ones’ mental health, The Social Dilemma shows just how dangerous a place your phone can be.
The film interviews many experts in the arena of the internet and social media including former Director of Monetization at Facebook and former Pinterest president Tim Kendall. Since leaving the social media world behind, Tim has become a huge advocate for less time using technology and more time connecting with our loved ones the old fashioned way.
Tim Kendall has called for greater corporate responsibility when it comes to social media.
After spending almost a decade in the tech industry, Tim knew there needed to be some changes made when it came to some of the big players in the social media game, including Pinterest and Facebook — two companies he worked for.
In one dramatization scene in The Social Dilemma depicts a family desperate for some device-free connection. They end up resorting to drastic measures, including putting everyone’s phones inside a time-lock receptacle during dinnertime in order to force conversation.
According to Built In, the scene was actually inspired by Tim Kendall’s own real-life, tough love attempt to overcome the addiction he felt when it came to spending time on his phone. “The irony is not lost on Kendall, who is featured prominently in the doc: the former director of monetization at Facebook and onetime president of Pinterest was instrumental in developing strategies that mined gold from that same magnetic pull,” Built In reported.
Tim began to tackle the problem with screen addiction — starting with himself.
Tim began experimenting with screen time on himself. According to CNN, he "radically reduced" his social media usage — eventually deleting apps like Facebook entirely. He also checked his email less, which isn't necessarily ideal for a tech executive living in Silicon Valley and being the president of Pinterest. "There are still a lot of people, unfortunately, in Silicon Valley who conflate two-minute response times with intelligence," he told CNN. "It actually may be counter correlated."
In November 2017, he announced he was leaving his job at Pinterest with plans to launch his own company that would tackle the screen time problem and helps others conquer their screen addictions. That same month, he reached out to Kevin Holesh and bought the app Moment.
Tim is now the CEO of Moment which helps users with their tech habits.
Tim believes in the power of an app like Moment, which works to help users take accountability for their screen time and work habits. “I fundamentally think you can use technology and our intimate knowledge of human psychology to help people make better choices that are in their long-term best interests,” he told Built In.
Moment’s most recent update included a new group function — essentially an accountability tool that allows users to share usage patterns with their social circles in order to be more deliberate about their relationships with devices and expose themselves to others.
Tim Kendall has some simple advice on how to overcome phone addiction.
When it comes to overcoming the addiction of screens and social media, Tim really believes it to be a family effort. Everyone needs to get on board to make it happen.
“In a family context, it’s important to establish windows of time where everybody’s offline. It could be after 9 p.m. It could be between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., during dinner,” he explained to Built In. “But establishing those as norms that everybody sticks to. And another norm is having offline areas of the house. Say, as an example, we don’t bring phones into our bedrooms, period. Or we don’t bring phones to the dinner table.”