I really liked a lot of things about this video and I thought it was very interesting to see how things like marketing have started to change and adapt to the new ways that people are consuming media. I feel like so many of us believe that because something is social media, it must be organic and more “real” than traditional marketing. If something is trending it’s because we’re talking about it! If someone on Youtube is famous it must be because they really are special.
While I do believe that this is sometimes true, the documentary Generation Like really shows that a lot of what we believe to be “organic fame” is really not as far from the old way of doing things as we’d like to believe. While it’s true that social media gives us all a voice, that doesn’t mean marketers don’t know how to take those voices, likes, followers and clicks and leverage them to benefit their clients.
This method of marketing seems more exploitative because it saturates our society and is wired into our homes. But having your clients be your best marketing tool is an age old marketing method of harnessing peoples passions and having them share the word. Instead of sharing magazines, gossiping with our neighbors or passing along a local coupon in the paper with our co-workers. Now we share, discuss and talk about our passions on a global scale. We don’t have to struggle to find people in our immediate communities that share, talk about and enjoy our hobbies. And marketer’s demographics have become wider as uniting their consumers has become easier.
The idea that this Youtube channel, this blog or these followers are going to be our golden ticket to making it, isn’t a new hope. It isn’t any different than peoples hopes that this talent agent, this movie, or this catalog ad was going the be the ticket to launch them to fame. The idea of making it, being famous, loved and admired has driven people and their actions throughout all of history. The motivation behind young people investing all their time and energy into wanting to get Instagram famous or become the next big Youtube star isn’t new.
Some people viewed this documentary as a discouraging or disheartening revelation on the state of the world. They believe that the world is now a darker, more manipulative place and young people are more shallow and self centered than ever. However, I am a firm believer that people are the same they have always been, and that all of this new technology, has just given a new expression to behaviors and attitudes that have always existed. The only new thing about any of this behavior, on the end of content creators and marketers, is the technology that makes it easier for us to do what people throughout all of history have always wanted to be able to do.