“We Are In An Experiment Controlled By A Handful Of White Men!” Todd Sampson On The Cost Of Social Media

“We Are In An Experiment Controlled By A Handful Of White Men!” Todd Sampson On The Cost Of Social Media

Todd Sampson is back on network 10 and holding up a very unflattering mirror to social media in the new show, Mirror Mirror.

It’s no secret that social media has become this generation’s drug of choice. We are all extremely online, from Instagram, Snap, Facebook, and BeReal.

Still, it’s all new. Social media only emerged in the 2000s, and exploring the consequences is something Sampson is very interested in. Not just as a former Adman but as a father of two daughters that are growing up in an online generation.

Sampson is also aware that only a handful of people are pulling the social media strings in Silicon Valley.

Sampson said: “We are in an experiment controlled by a handful of white men. At no point in history have so few people been controlling so many people,” He explained.

Sampson also firmly believes that adland can’t ignore the downsides of social media.  In fact, Sampson thinks that regulation is necessary when it comes to advertising on social media, “I’m not pro-regulation normally, but they should regulate it,” he explained.

He also rightfully points out that the ad industry does have the power to change things, “Attention-based advertising is where their revenue is,” he pointed out.

Sampson’s Mirror Mirror doesn’t aim to get us all to throw away our social media accounts. For the most part, Sampson accepts that we can’t go backwards, particularly when an offline life would be a fairly lonely existence for the average young person.

However, Sampson does want us to examine the impact it is having on children. He said: “Anything a child has in their hands for 50 hours a week will change their brains. We can’t be naive about it.”

Perhaps what is most unnerving and interesting about 10’s Mirror Mirror is that it reveals what we’ve previously gotten wrong about social media. For instance, it’s less about how much time you spend online and more about the ‘like’ button, a feature introduced in 2009 that has made an entire generation’s well-being reliant on mass approval.

It’s these kinds of unveilings that give the two-part series real grit. Coupled with the fact that Sampson refuses to bury his head in the sand or, in this case, in his Instagram feed. You can practically feel his curiosity when watching Mirror Mirror, and he also understands social media’s chokehold on society.

“Every day, the smartest people in the world are waking up and thinking up new ways to capture your attention,” he explained.

So what do we do? Well, for parents, Sampson believes there is an opportunity to gain control.

Sampson said: “We know kids are most vulnerable at night from a brain perspective. We can tell them no phones in the bedroom after 8 o’clock. A lot of bullying and shaming happens at night.”

He also believes that we can’t trust these social media platforms to be acting in our best interests, “Look at the Facebook leaks, one of the leaks is about how internal researchers came and told their bosses that self, harm, body issues, etc. were linked to Instagram usages and they shelved it. Until it was leaked.”

Sampson’s Mirror Mirror doesn’t just pull back the curtain on social media. It rips it away, so viewers must look at the social media stage for what it is.

Mirror Mirror debuts tonight at 10.




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