Generation Like (2014) looks at the explosion of social media profitability and how studios, companies, and individuals utilize it. Host Douglas Rushkoff takes viewers through a day in the life of social media agencies, independent YouTubers, and super fans. He pulls back the curtain on how studios like Lionsgate use the fans to create a self perpetuating marketing cycle for their upcoming movie “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”. Enticing fans to create, like, share, subscribe, and retweet Hunger Games based content in order to earn “Sparks” for digital prizes such as banners you can place on your profile to show you’re a fan. Having the banner becomes a social badge of honor and increases your popularity among other fans of the franchise online thus making fans want to unlock the banner so they share away, freely promoting the movie without really costing the studio much at all.
The documentary also sits down with Tyler Oakley, a pop-culture YouTuber who has made a career off of talking about things he likes (not a bad job). Tyler discussed some of the deals he’s made for brand integration with companies like Taco Bell and Pepsi. He even mentioned some of the gigs he’s landed with MTV and YouTube but they didn’t dive much into the numbers behind the deals. Maybe the data wasn’t as easily available then as it is now but I would’ve like to have heard more about the actual USD (and not just digital currency) he makes from these deals, views, and adsense. What people once scoffed at as wasting time uploading videos online has now turned into an industry where a cell phone video camera and internet connection can become a full-time job and even bring in millions, in real cold hard cash.