With social networks becoming an increasingly fundamental part of our lives, it was just a matter of time before they became the target of interest for documentarians. After all, everything we do ends up going through some network and becoming information for some algorithm, so there’s nothing better than exploring and deepening the various facets of this phenomenon.
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Therefore, there is no lack of productions of this kind that address issues related to our online life. These are films that analyze the way we interact with this digital content, that analyze our behavior as a connected society or that present the impacts that these networks bring to the way we see the world around us. Again, material is not lacking.
And if you are interested in these discussions, following these documentaries is more than essential. And to help you choose what to watch, FreeGameGuide has put together some of the best productions on social media for you to check out.
10. Here are the Delusions of the Connected World
We open our list with a documentary that addresses a topic more than necessary and that is made by a heavyweight filmmaker. Behold the Delusions of the Connected World is directed by none other than Werner Herzog, responsible for films such as Aguirre: The Wrath of the Gods and Desert in Fire, as well as being the imperial who wanted to kill Baby Yoda in Mandalorian.
And he comes with this entire curriculum to discuss and analyze how the internet and social media have been shaping our society. The great starting point proposed by Herzog is that the boundaries between the real and the digital no longer exist and the documentary starts to discuss the consequences of this for the future. After all, will our grandchildren need human companionship or will an avatar on a social network be enough?
Unfortunately, the movie is a bit tricky to find around here, as it’s not available on any streaming platform in Brazil.
9. Empire of Memes
Don’t be fooled by the title. Império de Memes is much less about viral content and more about what it’s like to be a digital influencer on social media and what that constant exposure impacts on people’s lives and psyche. The documentary follows famous people like Paris Hilton and DJ Khaled to understand their relationship with digital life and how it affects them.
One of the strongest points is precisely when these online celebrities highlight how lonely this kind of life is, how frustrating it is to live in search of approval from strangers and how this same audience is always eager to see their idols fall from grace.
Empire of Memes is available on Netflix.
8. The Creepy Line
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It’s no longer a secret that social networks shape the way we see the world — and the documentary The Creepy Line (something like “The Scary Line” in a literal translation) details how Facebook and other social networks work to form these bubbles within society and how, in the end, we all end up being manipulated.
It’s a documentary that reminds us of what happens when gigantic companies have access to a multitude of personal data from practically an entire country. And the best thing is that you can watch the movie for free on Tubi TV.
7. Privacy Hacked
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Following this same documentary line that will make you close all your social media profiles, Privacy Hacked is a clear example of how the information you share can be used to shape your worldview and manipulate how you think. From the Facebook scandal with Cambridge Analytica in the 2016 US elections, the film addresses how your likes and even the way you write become something valuable for these megacorporations and for politicians interested in controlling our perspective on reality.
Hacked Privacy is available on Netflix.
You certainly know someone who is addicted to social media. And, in this case, it is not a force of expression, but an addiction itself. It is from this that the documentary Like approaches our relationships with these digital platforms, exploring the impact on our lives and also on our brain.
The difference is that the film is not so apocalyptic and is also about the positive part of this ultra-connected life, raising the banner that it is possible to balance the online world with real life. Still, it’s interesting to see explanations why we’re so interested in being a part of these online movements and so passionate about a like button.
Like is available on Indieflix.
5. The Story of Content
Documentaries of this kind do not live only from the demonization of social networks. The Story of Content takes a more positive approach to how social media has become vital to marketing and has created a new world of business and creative possibilities, with brands fighting for their place in the sun of the digital environment.
Thus, the film is perfect for both marketing and advertising students and for those who work (or want to work) with content production for the internet, showing successful examples and how it was possible to get there.
The Story of Content is available for free on the Content Marketing Institute website.
If you’re interested in the subject, but don’t have that much patience to follow a traditional documentary (what if something happens on Twitter in the meantime? What about TikTok?), the short Influencers is the perfect choice for you. With just 14 minutes, he discusses what it is to be a digital influencer and takes some of the magical aura that surrounds the title, while working on the idea of how this world of creativity and trends is contagious.
To do this, he relies on a series of interviews with influencers from different sectors of New York to make this assessment of their role in digital pop culture.
The Influencers short is available in full on Vimeo.
3. Celebs, Brands & Fake Fans
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In the same vein, the documentary Celebs, Brands & Fake Fans goes to the unglamorous side of social media, analyzing how artificial digital celebrities are born — that is, those who go after fake fans to inflate their reach and forge a non-existent relevance. In a world where followings and likes are the currency, understanding how this black market of false followers works is essential.
Produced by the Real Stories channel, the documentary is available in full on YouTube.
2. New Kings: The Power of Online Influencers
The documentary New Kings was produced as the result of a Master’s Degree by a University of Southern California student and is another production that discusses the power of online influencers — this time from the perspective of the future of communication and marketing and how they created a new economy based on you becoming a product.
And because it is the result of academic work, he goes deep into all these issues, listening not only to the influencers themselves, but also experts from different areas.
New Kings: The Power of Online Influencers is available on YouTube.
1. The Networks Dilemma
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Perhaps the most famous documentary on the subject, The Networks Dilemma hit Netflix late last year with a rather alarmist message about how social media can impact humanity and our democratic system. Not that we haven’t seen this in practice, but it’s always scary to see experts, researchers and people who work in the field spelling out the size of the hole we’re getting into.
The Networking Dilemma can be seen on Netflix.