Generation Like

In a recent episode of PBS’s Frontline, aired in February, they explore the “Generation Like” we currently live in and gives a fascination perspective on both the social and actual currencies of the world of “likes.” The game of likes is a mutually beneficial relationship between the person getting or giving likes and the corporation/entity that directs marketing efforts based on those likes.

For example, the billion dollar movie franchise Hunger Games has an active social media campaign, actually running contests for fans to prove who among them is the most loyal.  In the process, the fan is encouraged to retweet, repost, relike and share.  The franchise is able to track every like, share, retweet, etc and gather big data on the leads.  The fan is actually part of the marketing campaign, unbeknownst to them in most cases.  “Every bit of it is being manipulated by the campaign.” AND, the fan now has the ability to gain attention and notoriety from “friends” because they are being retweeted by the actors in some cases.  If they could only be paid for their free marketing efforts!

The episode further explores the generation of YouTubers, and how everyday teens are becoming famous in their own right due to “likes” and “shares.”  They create their own marketing plans, bring other famous YouTube sensations into their broadcasts to help expand both of their fan bases, and enjoy more followers.

“You are your own media company,” says Jane Buckingham, President of Trendera.  “Your consumer is your marketer.  It is a huge shift because it used to be a one way conversation between the brand and the customer.”

Although the piece is an hour long, it really is worth a view. It is a fascination snapshot into the business of “likes.”   It offers a somewhat unsettling view on the victimization of teenagers, in that their personal role in a brand or person’s marketing scheme is largely unknown.   They are doing what seems organic and in the moment, but they are actually following out a well devised plan from the organization’s perspective.  And all the kid really wants is to be “liked.”


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