GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado (CBS4) – A social experiment was held in a common room on the Colorado Mesa University campus that focused on the film “The Social Dilemma”. A group of people from all walks of life gathered at Grand Junction to discuss how differences and divisions can become bridges to a prosperous community.
“We kept coming back to social media, the fact that we don’t have a common truth and why,” said Jay Seaton, editor of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and a member of the community panel.
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Seaton organized the final meeting for the group, or junta as he calls it. A collection of community members from all professions, political ideologies and walks of life. Each member watched the documentary drama “The Social Dilemma” and then held a panel discussion with the makers of the film.
“Starting in 2017, we have been investigating what consequences social media has for society. We really wanted to go to the people who work in the companies, the experts, the engineers, the designers, the executives who have worked on Facebook, Twitter and Google, ”said Jeff Orlowski, the film’s director. “We were so excited to take part in this conversation because we know and have seen how these technology platforms can exacerbate divisions and cause polarization. Hopefully let this be a tool and opportunity for bridge building. ”
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“The Social Dilemma” is the second most popular documentary in Netflix history. It’s growing in popularity as the award season approaches. Orlowski says in the first month it was released last September, 38 million households streamed the film.
“How can we break away from these custom feeds and get back to talking together? A community group that brings people together in a room to have these conversations is so powerful. I just love that these groups come together to have tough conversations, ”Orlowski said.
Seaton hopes events like this one can be a stepping stone to broaden the conversation in the community around Grand Junction. He knows change will take time, but he hopes it can begin soon.
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“I feel like we’re gaining a foothold, as if we can actually make a difference. Who knows, ”he said. “As a community, we want to stimulate a discussion about it. How do we initiate this conversation and how do we get there? How do we get people to think twice about what they’re doing on social media? ”