Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"Generation Like" on PBS Frontline

PBS Frontline aired an episode “Generation Like” on Feb. 18, and described an entire new ad economy based on “Likeonomics”, particularly among teenagers.
  
The link is here

The documentary says that in 2001, the technique was totally different.  Companies had to troll teens to get them to share.  Now, with social media (most of all Facebook), kids want to. 

The program referred to a promotional company in LA called “The Audience” (link) and a 2005 earlier Frontline broadcast, “The Merchants of Cool.”
  
   
Companies (such as Trident gum – which you can’t chew in class anyway) promote teens’ Facebook profiles and YouTube channels when they become sufficiently popular.  A few teens, such as Tyler Oakley in northern New Jersey, have turned these into little media businesses.  The concept is becoming a “professional fan” whose YouTube channel draws visitors who will see the corporate ads. 
   
There have been some serious problems, however, with fake likes or “Like farms”, just as has happened with link farms and spam associated with them.
   
The film showed teens socializing in the real world (in New Jersey and LA segments).  That’s important to getting popular enough.  It’s harder if you’re 70. 
    
I practice a bit of this.  My Movie Reviews blog draws DVD and private Vimeo screeners from companies in the independent film market (but no big Hollywood studios blanketing the shopping mall multiplexes with kids movies).  My market is mostly LGBT (especially surrounding the recent repeal of DADT, free speech issues, government surveillance, (the Snowden and Wikileaks stuff)  and even some actual national security. 

You can watch the program on YouTube for $1.99, but it is free on PBS Broadcast.  

Other comparisons: Rohit Bhargava's "Likeonomics" (Book reviews, Dec. 19, 2012), and the film "Us Now" (Movies blog, Feb. 20, 2014).  

Picture: Montclair, NJ, 2011 (mine) 

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