I love Frontline. I always have. But I’ve now seen Generation Like (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/generation-like/) three times and I think I’ve finally figured out how fame is the new currency. The problem is that saying it like that is misleading. Its more like becoming famous is now more accessible than ever and just like when Michael Jordan was selling Wheaties and Nike shoes, some kid name Straig from Beaver, Utah could be selling Oreos.
You see, Straig loves running around his small town causing mischief, catching it on film, and posting the shenanigans online. First, his schoolmates thought the videos were funny, then his brother’s friends, then some YouTube famous kid in Salt Lake saw his videos and thought he was hilarious and wanted to collaborate on a video. Straig’s videos explode and now he’s known all over Utah and the west.
Oreo, wanting a relatable YouTube celeb to sell more cookies in the western US, notices a large portion of their followers in the area has interacted with Straig’s page. So now Straig is promoting Oreos and Oreos is promoting Straig and both can see how their interaction is being responded too on their platforms (likes, retweeets, new followers, etc).
Fame has become such an indicator of potential wealth that companies like Facebook have started basing their value on user interaction. And companies now do what they can to engage people on their social media platforms through contests and interactive advertising.
This is a pretty neat developement in the world of advertising and so little of it seems to be tied in to actual talent, its more about how well you can network and sell your brand/personality in this new landscape.
If you’re interested in other ways companies use the internet to sell and promote their product check out Hasan Minaj’s Patriot Act episode on the company Supreme: https://youtu.be/RKl_Y3EA7Sc