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Jeffersonian Dinner: How Social Media Affects the Way we Treat People

June 16 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Social media affects our lives in ways we don’t always consider.  A world without the convenience and instant validation can be hard to imagine, especially for those who have grown up in the Internet age.   Black Mirror is a British science fiction anthology television series that examines modern society, particularly with regard to the unanticipated consequences of new technologies.  Each of the stand alone episodes provide a social commentary on how technology affects (or will affect) or lives.  This discussion will focus on the episode Nosedive, which depicts a world where we rate all of our interactions with others that gives an overall score.  This score greatly affects our lives by determining where we live, what social groups we are part of, what flights we can board, and perhaps most importantly, how we treat each other.  The format of this dinner described below will be in the spirit Thomas Jefferson’s gatherings centered around shared meals at his home where he would invite people with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints in order to stimulate a civil discussion.  It’s part of Community Dining, a group started in March of 2015 aiming to connect people through shared meals that engage us in the means by which we fuel ourselves, stimulate substantive dialogue, and strengthen social bonds.  

Here are some questions to think about:

  1. Will social credit systems be a part of our lives in the future? In what ways do these systems already pervade our culture? 

  2. How has the ability to rate our experiences affected the way we treat people?

  3. Being a social media influencer is predicated on the quantity of followers and the level of online engagement of each follower. Has being an influencer become something we inherently strive for?  Are we now more focused on external validation than internal?

  4. Does China’s social credit system represent an ideal we can strive for? What are the benefits and drawbacks to such a system?


June 16
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm