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The documentary film, Generation Like, Douglas Rushkoff, introduces the issue of how social media has influenced the life of the teens in todays society. The documentary is a representation of how current teens are swayed by the social media in search of connection and identity through Retweets, Likes, Subscribers, Favorites, Comments, and Followers. The documentary evaluates the contribution of various social media platforms on the lives of the teens. The documentary also addresses the issues of changes in character and culture among the societal members due to the impacts of how teens adapt to fit in to today’s society. Even though many teens use social media platforms for interaction, connection, and identity, the marketers have the upper hand in attracting and using teens to market their products through making them part of their marketing operations, seeking ones identity, using celebrities and artists, and providing payments and sponsorship.
Rushkoff evaluates the changes introduced by the social media age while also reflecting in the past times. The rise of social media platforms as a hub for teens interactions and connection has also paved the way for evolving complicated relationships between companies and young consumers. With today’s social media interactions they have introduced changes in the culture and character of individuals in society.
The current teen culture has embraced the use of social media platforms for interactions, communications, self-identity, and connection. To define culture as what human beings make of the world is to make clear that culture is much more than a world view (Crouch, 2009). Rushkoff argues that teens seek for popularity and connection through reaching out to more friends and peer networks for likes, subscriptions, favorites, followers, and comments. At the same time, companies have entered the race to expand their products markets by “taking data and turning it into money” (Rushkoff, 2014). Teens have unknowingly engaged in practices that get them used for unwanted marketing as they hope to become the “next big star.” As the Bible says, do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:12). Showing that do not conform to the world around you, be your own person, be with God and he will lead you to be the best version of you.
The documentary also depicts changes in character among the teens and the companies involved in social media interactions and product marketing. Rushkoff is quick to show that today’s teens are not chased down by corporations. Instead, they engage in talking, posting, liking, following, and retweeting .Teens today struggle to be their own character because they try to be what social media wants them to be, they struggle to answer the same questions Wright asked, “what am I here for? How do we know what’s right and what’s wrong?” (Wright, p 7) This generation showcases a change in character as compared to the past where pop culture, advertisement, and promotions were useful in attracting teens to various products. By trying to develop personal profiles and lead in the race for followers and likes, today’s teens showcase a change in principles and leadership practices. Teens need to sit back and ask the question Kouzes & Posner asked, “who am I really serving?” (Kouzes & Posner, p. 72) They should realize that in order to make a a real difference is to do so “humbly, without regard for recognition, ego, pride, even self-preservation” (Kouzes & Posner, p. 72). But teens in today’s social media culture do not care whether they are being used to promote brands since they hope to benefit from assured popularity, identity, and even income. The companies using teens for marketing do not necessarily care about their rights of privacy, compensation, and protection. Because of this, the interactions have led to a change of character associated with new practices.
As teens get swayed while seeking for popularity and identity, companies have found opportunities to harness data and get their products marketed. The teens seek to gain an identity to adapt to today’s society, and to fit in to today’s culture. By seeking an identity based off of social media does not show your true character. Character strengths don’t happen all in a rush. You have to work at them. Character is a slow forming thing (Wright, p 35).
In conclusion, the documentary, is an evaluation of the current society and changes that have occurred with technology advancement associated with the internet and social media. The film discusses how teens have embraced social media for the actualization of their self-identity and to ensure increased connections. However, this issue has only resulted in being targeted and used for marketing and marketing data by companies.
- Crouch, A. (2008). Culture making: Recovering our creative calling. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books.
- Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2006). Christian reflections on the leadership challenge. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
- Rushkoff, D. (2014, February 18). Generation Like. Retrieved from https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/generation-like/
- Wright, N. T. (2010). After you believe: Why Christian character matters. New York, NY: HarperOne.
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