Generation Like

The documentary Frontline – Generation Like is a thought provoking look at how teenagers use and consume new media. Teenagers tell the world what they think through likes, retweets, views and follows. Companies are able to turn “the currency of likes turns into real currency”. Companies today believe the consumer is now their marketer and young people can sell a product for them and they employ complex marketing strategies to exploit this. Danah Boyd says in the documentary “Young people want attention and want validation and that’s not actually new” however the audience they can reach is much greater. Many of the teenagers interviewed speak of feeling empowered by using web 2.0 technologies. Some, such as Tyler Oakley understood that big business benefited from their activities and he used this to his advantage, but others were oblivious. I don’t believe this type if thinking is confined to teenagers. While some adults are suspicious of the ways companies such as Facebook and Google use their data, others do not give it a second thought.

Educators have an important role to play in teaching young people how to use social media safely and to question their relationship with it. I look forward to exploring this issue further throughout my studies.

creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by owenwbrown

Frontline. (2014, February 18). Generation Like [Video file]. Retrieved from

4 Comments on Generation Like

  1. Linda
    April 14, 2015 at 10:12 am (7 years ago)

    I agree, Karen. boyd dismisses a lot of teen online activity as ‘just what kids do’ but online conditions are continually changing (and have changed considerably since she compiled ‘It’s Complicated’) so I don’t think we can just sit back and leave them to it.

    Even adults make mistakes online, and boyd herself laments some of the early blogging and comments she made online (though I can’t track back to this now… Perhaps somewhere on: To her credit, her point is that we do leave a digital footprint – some more than others, and it takes a bit to establish and control your digital personae.

    Some like Tyler recognise this and take control; others need care and guidance, as in many things children learn as they mature. We just have to be there for them – though in this raoidly changing digital world, we too need to learn.

      April 24, 2015 at 9:13 am (7 years ago)

      Yes Linda we do have to be there for them and provide guidance. Guidance in areas that are changing and evolving such as algorithms. I was aware of algorithms but hadn’t really given much thought to how they shape our online experience until I watched the documentary.

  2. Amanda Brown
    April 27, 2015 at 10:57 am (6 years ago)

    Hi Karen
    Thanks for sharing this video. I have shared it with the teachers of Soc & C and Child studies as this is part of their coursework. I was recently writing about the impact of social media in the Digital Citizenship subject and mentioned that it was not just the person posting that was affected but also their friends and family. This video highlighted that very clearly especially when the guy from the audience was going through all the connnections. What I found particularly disturbing (especially as a mother of a 14 year old girl) was the attitude of Daniela Diaz’s mother and the photos that she took and then posted of her daughter. Many of them showed her cleavage and objectified her body. Is this really what we want our teens to be doing all to get a ‘like’? It makes it difficult as a parent and a teacher to reinforce the idea that its not all about the way you look or act.

      May 4, 2015 at 8:35 am (6 years ago)

      Glad that you found the video useful. I discovered it in through the INF506 Social Networking for Information Professionals subject. I was also concerned by Daniela Diaz’s mother.