The Circle: Bubble People

You don’t put a bumper sticker on a Ferrari.

– Joey

No airbrushing, filters or being too perfect, on FB and insta. It makes one seem too much like a bot. Too perfect is not appealing. You need a Goldilocks effect: just right. Like the person next door. I like the profile picture analysis. A variety of photos shows more sides of yourself, and is more proof that you’re not catfish, so long as it’s not obvious that you’re trying too hard.

A more individualized profile is more grounded, and more relatable. No filters, and no makeup equates to being more real. Have a natural glow and a personality that’s hard to fake. That’s how to survive the rise of the bots and catfish, on the internet. Human vulnerability and uniqueness will save us all.

The tension of the show is how real-life social media differs from the in-house social network, of The Circle. Contestants must compare and contrast what it means to understand the masses, versus what it takes to understand around twelve people. The question of which kind of fakeness is rewarded, in our society, was also explored in the Black Mirror social media episode, “Nosedive” – another Netflix show.

It’s interesting to see how social media rewards us – in the miniature – on The Circle. Contestants call out other people for being fake, in a game, about being fake. The fakest person is always on the lookout for who’s fake. This is on an online show, that is by its very nature, artificial and virtual.

I like that fresh players can still be added, to the game, after the game starts. It’s like unlocking a new character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Gamification and parallels between social media and video games are also investigated, by the show. Shubby is a virtual media designer that dislikes social media – when an online social network is essentially just light virtual reality. Shubby, who fears fakeness the most, is the least prepared to recognize fakeness. He gets taken in by both of the catfish, on The Circle. No wants to feel led on.

On Tinder, and other social networking sites, so much is decided on just a profile pic and a bio (or lack thereof). So much is at stake, on a profile pic, in real life, that a profile picture competition, on The Circle, is realistic and timely. What I like about The Circle is how the show gamifies decisions and judgments we already have to make every day. Social media is just a highlight reel.