Black Mirror, the first of three dramas from Charlie Brooker, tonight revealed just how powerful social media has become and indeed will become in the United Kingdom and around the world. Audacious, darkly comic and typically satirical, this intriguing hour of television with the subtitle of ‘The National Anthem’ was as gripping as it was shocking and had the team here at Young Academic scrambling for the remote to get next week’s instalment recorded. From one Charlie to another, bloody blinding stuff!
The show used fictional characters that closely resembled Kate Middleton and Prince William as well as David Cameron and his wife Sarah. The story starts with the Prime Minister being set an ultimatum, seemingly by terrorists that have kidnapped the Princess. The PM is forced to have sexual intercourse with a live pig on television in front of millions of viewers.
The attempts to stifle the story by the government also touch a nerve as we continue to wonder whether or not what we read in the papers or see on the news actually resemble the truth.
In the interests of not ruining the story, Young Academic will leave the storyline there but what was fascinating about Black Mirror was just how powerful social media has become. YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are all key to the plot and turn out to contribute to the outcome of the programme significantly.
Indeed, once the demands set by the Princesses kidnapper are broadcast on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter play a bigger role than even the press when it comes to bringing the public developments regarding the events that ensue.
One can’t help thinking that if such a situation arose, or even a similar one, the roles of the aforementioned social media platforms cannot be underestimated. Are they making the press secondary or even obsolete? Charlie Brooker certainly seems to think so.