Netflix’s The Circle: A Popularity Experiment

As many people are being confined to their homes, streaming services have a great opportunity to present new content. With new shows popping up across different platforms weekly, many took notice when Netflix presented The Circle. This show drives contestants to become the most popular player within their small group. Whoever is chosen to be the winner receives a grand prize of $100,000. The Circle is all about building relationships, instilling trust in one another and being the most popular person in the group.

Contestants each choose a name, profile picture and gender. However, some of the players decided to provide false information on their profiles, commonly known as “catfishing.” One challenge that the players face is not knowing who to trust while going through the competition.

Each contestant ranks one another, putting them in a list from one (the best) to seven (the worst). The two most popular players, also known as influencers, gain immunity from being sent home that week. They are also the ones who have the power to send a player home.  Once a player is removed from the game, a new contestant will sometimes join the show.

By not being able to see the other players in person, each participant must win over the others by communicating to them by sending them messages through a television screen that is relayed to the other rooms. This provides a certain challenge that each contestant must face. They must build relationships based on personal or even group texts. The majority of the contestants built relationships quickly and stuck with them until the end. 

Many of the contestants had no problem trusting one another after a couple casual conversations. Group chats were a common commodity throughout the entire show. By building up trust between players, they were able to team up and root out the weaker players. The less popular players usually tend to have a smaller friend group that consisted of one or two other contestants. This can lead to people providing a sense of false identity. Oftentimes in reality television, people will tell each other what others want to hear in order to think there are remaining positive and on their side. At the end of the day, $100,000 for being the most popular would still be on the line. 

With the majority of our society being on social media platforms today, many people only portray positive messages and post that others will find intriguing. This raises the question on how far people are really willing to go in order to be popular. In the show, the ones that were noticeably providing false information, lying in group chats or introverted, quickly found themselves close to, or even at the bottom, of the weekly ratings. Having to retain a positive image and optimistic attitude throughout the show is rather easy for some people. However, some of the contestants struggle greatly with being able to bond and cope with others, leading their time on the show to be limited.  People want to be seen as constantly happy and content, and they have the ability to show that through many online platforms such as social media posts. 

The Circle did a great job at portraying parts of the social world that we live in today. People will often go to extremes just to gain popularity and be accepted in today’s society. With roughly 60% of the world’s population on social media, it is in our nature to want to be the most popular person in any group that we are involved in. 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *