The Social Dilemma Essay

Question # 00822586 Posted By: wildcraft Updated on: 04/18/2022 12:15 AM Due on: 04/18/2022
Subject Education Topic General Education Tutorials:
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The Social Dilemma Essay


You probably have quite a bit of experience reading and summarizing. Since grade school, you have been writing book reports and suffering through summer reading programs. Reading, comprehending, and summarizing are vital skills. At the college level, however, simply regurgitating material is insufficient. One of the most important benefits of a college education is the ability to think critically. Understanding someone else’s ideas and then responding to them is one of the most common tasks you will encounter in your college classes. And although your future employer may never ask you to provide a literary analysis of The Scarlett Letter or a research paper about global warming, you will be expected to exercise critical thinking skills on a regular basis.


Write a summary-and-response essay about the documentary, The Social Dilemma. You are not being asked to discuss whether you like/dislike the film or agree/disagree with the ideas set forth in it. Instead, you are being asked to deconstruct the film and assess the validity of the arguments set forth in it.

The summary portion of the essay should be fairly brief, preferably limited to the introductory paragraph but certainly no more than one body paragraph. Your response should take up the bulk of the paper.


• For this essay, you will incorporate two secondary sources. You may use The Social Dilemma rebuttal articles as your sources, or you may choose your own sources after conducting research. You must properly incorporate these sources into the essay, using signal phrases to introduce the sources and using parenthetical citations to credit the authors. You also will include a Works Cited page with correct MLA citations for each source. In addition, you must properly cite The Social Dilemma.

• You must adhere to the formatting guidelines set forth in The MLA Handbook, 8th edition. Be sure that all margins measure 1 inch and that you use the Times New

Roman 12-point font. You should also follow MLA formatting guidelines regarding the page heading, running header, page numbering, etc. Finally, your citations must conform to MLA citation style.

• The essay’s assigned length is 1,000−1,200 words.


Step 1. Grab some snacks and watch the film. The first time you view the film, do not take notes. Just enjoy it (hopefully) like you would any other movie.

Step 2. Watch the movie a second time. This time, you should pay close attention to the

director’s argument. In addition, you should try to identify the director’s purpose and intended audience. Take notes. Write down any relevant facts or statistics.

Step 3. Write a response to the film. Some questions to consider:

• What did you think about the film?

• Do you agree or disagree with the ideas set forth in it?

• Does the director convincingly prove his thesis? If not, why?

• What are the director’s underlying assumptions?

• What is Orlowski assuming that you will agree/disagree with?

• Does Orlowski omit information that would damage his argument? If so, what information does he omit?

• What rhetorical strategy/strategies does Orlowski use? (See for more information about

rhetorical strategies). 

Step 4. Complete the “Deconstructing a Documentary Film Worksheet.”

Step 5. Write the summary portion of the essay. Do not write the film equivalent of a book report. Instead, identify the director’s thesis and then summarize the evidence he uses to support that thesis. Be objective. Do not allow your own thoughts to creep into your summary.

Step 6. For the response section of the essay, choose one of the following strategies for writing a response essay:

• Analyze the effectiveness of the director’s argument – In this case, the response analyzes key features, such as the clarity of the main idea; the organization of the argument; the quality of the supporting evidence; and/or the effectiveness of the author's style, tone, and voice.

• Agree or disagree with the director’s argument - Often, responders react to the ideas or the argument of the essay. In this case, the responders show why they agree or disagree with what the director says.

• Interpret and reflect on the director’s argument - The responder examines the underlying assumptions or the implications of the director’s argument. Often the responder reflects on how his or her own experiences, attitudes, and observations relate to the film.


Potential Topics for The Social Dilemma Essay

The following is a list of potential topics for The Social Dilemma essay. Don’t limit yourself to these topics. Feel free to choose your own topic.

1. Is The Social Dilemma, biased? Is it accurate? What information provided in the film is misleading?

2. Is social media beneficial, detrimental, or both beneficial and detrimental?

3. Is social media a drug? Is it addictive? Is this a problem?

4. Does social media damage our sense of self-worth and identity?

5. Does social media cause mental illness? For example, does it lead to depression and anxiety? Do you agree with Orlowski (the director) that it can lead to suicide?

6. Do you agree with Orlowski that social media leads to a false sense that everyone agrees with you because it narrows your social sphere to people who think like you? Does it lead to polarization? In other words, does social media create ideological divisions?

7. Do you agree with Orlowski that social media propagates conspiracy theories and fake news?

8. Should children be allowed to use social media? For example, many social media platforms require users to be at least 13 years old. What age limit do you feel is appropriate for social media use?

9. Does social media lead to bullying?

10. Does social media drive us apart or bring us together? Does it make us more/less lonely and isolated?

11. Do you agree with Orlowski that social media is an assault on democracy? Does it destabilize and erode society?

12. Should social media be permitted to collect data regarding our interests, political views, et cetera?

13. Should social media platforms be permitted to tailor advertising to our personal interests?

14. Do you agree with Orlowski that social media is an existential threat that brings out the worst in society?

15. Should the government regulate social media?

16. Orlowski says that social media platforms should be designed humanely. Is this possible?

17. Does social media cause us to compare our real lives to others’ idealized lives? In other words, does it cause us to compare our real selves to other people’s fake selves?

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