Social media has become a platform for pretty much everything in our lives – job hunting, finding love, memes, politics and social issues. While it can sometimes lead to positive change, social media often tend to bring out the armchair activist and troll in many of us, which can lead to uninformed opinions, sensationalism, and false narratives.
And that’s exactly what Alexander Fitzgerald’s short film I Know You From Somewhere is about. The dark yet comical film follows a young woman, Katherene, whose search for love through a popular dating app eventually leads to an impassioned speech in public. Unfortunately, her speech is surreptitiously recorded by someone, and our protagonist inadvertently finds herself the subject of a viral video.
The film plays out like an episode from Black Mirror. It provides a succinct commentary on online culture and the hostility, sensationalism and uninformed righteousness of the internet. It brings back memories of cases such as Justine Sacco, who incurred the wrath of the internet a couple years ago for tweeting “inappropriate jokes”. Public shaming and internet vigilantism has become new ways to mete out justice. For people like Sacco – and she is not alone – it resulted in a lifetime of stigma and trauma.
Fitzgerald, through the film, wants to bring focus on the “attention economy” creates by corporations, which homogenise news and thrive on sensationalism and outrage. “We become addicted to this relentless stream of tabloid trash and what does the world get in return? Don Trump and pop-up ads,” he told Vimeo.