Even though the Frontline special focused on social media and teens as consumers, what stuck with me was two of the reasons teens gave as to why they engaged in digital spaces. Several of the teens in the video mentioned how important it was “to be liked” on social media platforms. In the same breath, many would go on to say that they felt empowered by social media, and that it gave them “a voice” to show who they are as individuals.
These statements are very contradictory in theory. Normally, people would categorize someone who does/posts things for the sole purpose of gaining others’ approval as insecure. However, these teens feel that it empowers them and allows them to show their personalities and interests.
In the video, the part where the group of teens help put together their one friend’s profile mirrors a marketing meeting. They’re sitting around a table discussing which picture and caption would best portray him, or “his brand.” These kids do not seem insecure, they actually come off as very intelligent and savvy. They’re selling themselves the same way that consumers are selling their products, and they seem to be more aware of it then we give them credit for. The kids at the table recognized that their “meeting” was tongue-in-cheek, and were having fun with being creative. That being said, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t kids out there who are insecure and use every “like” as a validation of their self worth.
Rushkoff, D. (2014). Frontline: Generation Like. Available at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/generation-like/