Anyone who has seen an episode of The Twilight Zone can get an idea of what Black Mirror is like, even if they hadn't seen a single episode of the show. Each episode is its own separate story and each has a further-reaching moral applicable to society. While The Twilight Zone featured a number of intriguing plots about 1960s-esque topics such as space travel and the "nuclear family", Black Mirror focuses similarly on aspects of today's society. Every episodes hits just close enough to home that we get just slightly creeped out. A favorite topic of the show has been the effect of social media on our daily lives. My favorite episode of all by far is titled "The Entire History of You."
This episode centers around a "grain" that is implanted in the brain and can record every single task and interaction you have during your daily lives. It allows for instant playback with a single thought. This playback is called "re-doing" and almost everyone in the country is doing it. The episode was quick to push away that fears that had already formed in viewers' mind after reading the description of the plot by showing off why the device would actually be useful and actually improve the lives of those who use it--playing back a job interview, for example. Just when the reader starts to let their guard down a little, the couple around which this episode centers is pulled into conflict about whether or not one of the was unfaithful to the other. I won't spoil the ending, but suffice it to say the ability to re-live every moment of your life has many more negative effects than positive. It breeds paranoia and drives distrust, even of those they care about the most.
While humans may not be implanted with recorder-chips in our brain at the moment, there is not much difference between the kind of recording done by the "grain" and the kind that we do by posting our everyday lives to Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Any interactions we have on the Internet leave a virtual paper trail that allows anyone with a connection to review your political views or see videos from the party you went to when you told someone else you planned to just go to bed early. The most obvious ramification is that other people will feel annoyed or left-out when they see these things, bowing to the pressure of society to record your own life can also have an impact on your own mental health.
How many times have you gotten a throwback notification from Facebook of a status post from middle school and cringed so hard at your old self? Or scrolled far back through Instagram and wondered why you ever posted that filter-ridden photo? This, our own kind of "re-doing", makes us over-think the people we choose to be. However, the good thing that comes from us looking back through social media is that we get to see focus more on the good moments and not over-analyze the bad. This is the reason why "The Entire History of You" is so meaningful in our age. It draws upon an issue that is prevalent in society and blows it up in order to make us realize we shouldn't dwell in the past. Instead, we should keep looking to the future and moving forward.