The Circle: A Social Media Competition

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The Circle is a competition that tests the players’ strategic and analytical skills in social media to hopefully win $100,000!

Jeanelle Wu, Photojournalist

Looking for a Netflix show to binge on? The Circle is a Netflix original series that combines social media with reality TV. Who doesn’t love social media, comedy, competition, and talking technology? So imagine what it would be like for it all to combine into one reality TV show. Well, no need to imagine, because The Circle is a social media-based competition that gives players a chance to win $100,000. The third season of the show has recently been released on Netflix, so here is everything you need to know about the show to dive right into the series.

The point that the film tried to make about the selfishness and malice of human nature was really cool and thought provoking.”

— Arya Banerjee

The first season of The Circle streamed on Netflix in January of 2020, after its success in the U.K. in 2017 (oprahdaily.com). After the success of the American version on Netflix, Netflix launched versions in France and Brazil, which shows the success and impact that it had in the entertainment industry. An interesting fact behind the scenes is that the show is actually filmed in the U.K, although the contestants are from the U.S. Appealing to different ages, many students at YLHS have seen the show or heard about it. Arya Banerjee (10) shares her thoughts on the show, and how “it does deserve some praise and recognition for its thoughtfulness. The point that the film tried to make about the selfishness and malice of human nature was really cool and thought provoking.”

With $100,000 on the line, the players can choose to either enter the competition as themselves or as someone else, otherwise known as a catfish. The contestants are fully isolated in separate apartments during the game, and they will not be able to see or hear each other. Their only means of communication with each other is through the social media profile they set up for themselves, which includes a biography and photos, and through a texting chat. This will allow them to keep their identity a secret and it will test the constenstants’ ability to fish out the catfish.

Some people may choose to play as a different person to either challenge themselves, or because they feel like they would have a higher chance of winning as a different person, which could prove or disprove stereotypes people have about social media. For example, a player may choose to play as an attractive female with a nice personality because they think that others will want to become friends with her and will trust someone with a genuine personality. However, while it may be beneficial, playing as a different person comes with risks, since one text can be suspicious and give away your identity. The aspect of catfishing is very well represented in the show since it is a prominent issue in social media today. With people on social media, one can never be sure whether people are who they say they are and should never put their full trust in people.

Throughout the season, the players will get to know everyone, form connections, and set alliances with hopes of being ranked higher by their competitors. Basically, they try to be the most popular version of themselves, or of someone else, in order for others to want to rank them higher. Every few days, the contestants individually rank each other, then the average rankings are shown. The top two ranked players become the “influencers”, with the job of unanimously agreeing on one of the players to “block”, who will then have to leave the show. The ranking process is repeated a few times as new players come in to replace the ones who are “blocked”. In the last episode of each season, the remaining players vote for each other one last time to determine who is the “ultimate influencer” and winner of the $100,000. 

Go watch The Circle now to see how the competitions play out!