Generation Like- The influence of ‘likes’ in youth

In Generation Likehttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/generation-like/, Douglas Rushkoff explored the digital age of 2012-2013, an age I remember vividly since I was thirteen and in seventh grade at the time. A lot of the things that were a focus in the documentary such as The Vampire Diariesand the rise of popular Youtuber’s are things that I participated in. I was watching these shows and YouTube videos, listening to popular music and creating a Facebook page for myself. But I believe that this documentary made teenagers seem unable to understand the consequences of their actions on social media and very unaware of their universal surroundings. 

The documentary was selective with which teenagers they showed and portrayed them as addicted to social media or in it for the “likes.” I think Tyler Oakley was a correct representation of a teenager just wanting to express himself and make videos, whereas the other examples made it seem there was no entertainment value in what they did, just for the “instant gratification” or for “fame.” In this age with Adsense and the prevalence of brand deals, the dramatization of the documentary might be acceptable now, but back then it seems extreme from the point of view from someone who lived in it. There are now hundreds of Tyler Oakley’s on YouTube; tons of people starting off making videos in their bedrooms and are now modeling for Vogueor are sponsored by Nike. For example, Jake Paul a 21-year YouTuber made 21.5 million dollars in 2018 and he’s one of many making multiple millions off their YouTube career according to CBSNews; check out their list of highest paid YouTuber’s from the last year: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/top-10-highest-paid-youtube-stars-of-2018-forbes/Becoming obsessed with likes makes more sense now because it’s almost a ‘normal’ job for many people, whereas then, it was much more uncommon to pursue becoming an influencer.

Pictured here is Jake Paul and his fiancé Tana Mongeau when they flew on his private         
jet to Las Vegas as part of their wedding day celebrations. The photo is from Jake Paul’s Instagram, @jakepaul

 

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