While watching the documentary “Generation Like” I can honestly say that most of it did not surprise me. This is the generation and the society that I have grown up in so most of what was talked about has become commonplace and normalized completely today. Especially during the opening scene when they were talking about how much emphasis is put on getting Likes and how popularity is measured by the amount of views and shares on your video and photo. When comparing how things were from 2014 to now, I can honestly say that there hasn’t been a lessening in the influence of social media; if anything it has increasing over the years.
Something that I took note of during the video is the similarities between YouTubers in 2014 and now. There are still so many people who are making videos of random things, sometimes even dangerous things, just to get attention and views online. The strategy of having guest stars of other popular famous YouTubers is still very much a thing as well. YouTubers are even reaching stardom and landing spots on television shows and other similar things. An example of this is YouTube personality, Liza Koshy. She got her start with a group of other similar YouTube personalities and then when they started to gain more followers and viewers they branched out on their own. Liza even has he boyfriend, another famous vlogger with just as many—if not more—followers, appear in her videos regularly. According to COED their net incomes have reached over 1.5 million dollars because of their popularity, which led to endorsements and appearances on things such as being a red carpet hostess. In my personal opinion I find it astonishing that these YouTube personalities are gaining so many followers and, eventually, making a living by video typing themselves doing things that my friends and I do on a regular basis. Which is one of the things that I think make the people and the videos so popular. People like to be able to relate to the things that they are watching and the things that other people are doing.
Another thing that the documentary focused on heavily was the importance of how many Likes pictures and videos receive once they have been posted. I think for a while many people believe that the crazy of social media would fade out and that, after the years of it being around, the buzz of Likes and Favorites would lose importance. Unfortunately, I think this did not happen at all. If anything the importance that is placed on social media and our self worth is at an enormously high rate. Drawing from personal experiences as well, I have seen first hand how people measure their worth based on the number of likes and comments their Instagram posts get. Spending lots of time pouring over the picture they are going to use and the caption that is going to accompany it in order to get maximum views. Its gotten to the point where they are even Apps that exist to track your followers, gauge your likes, and even estimate how popular your next post will be. It lets you know when someone has unfollowed your account or even blocked you and provides you with an option to immediately unfollow them back. I think this just goes to show how much stock our generation puts into social media.
However, not all of this is bad. I think often time the media and the older generations want to spin our younger generations’ involvement in social media as a bad thing but it is not always the case. First, the thing that social media does is create this massive network that keeps all of us connected. Which was touched on in the video as well. So many brands and companies have jumped on the bandwagon of utilizing social media and the way that the Generation Like share information and spread news across the Internet. This is still widely used as a marketing tactic. Their example was with The Hunger Games and how they had things timed to appear on the different social media platforms, in more recent time a good example of this same thing would be Star Wars: Rouge One. The constant sharing and posting of everything that was released across every social media platforms by the fans is what kept the positive press and buzz up about the new movie for as long as it did before the actual movie even came out. This just shows the power that social media has and how it has a positive impact as well.
In the PBS documentary, I often felt that the outlook on Generation Like and the use of social media in 2014 was mainly negative. In the years since, I think the stigma of social media has decreased and the acceptance of it as a useful platform has increased. Mainly, the social media on a whole has become accepted as a common place practice that is recognized by so many as a form of networking, communication, and advertising that there is still going to be a raise in its influence in the years to come. And perhaps, its not the worst thing that could happen, and it is time for older generations to come to terms with it.