Teens, Social Media, and Technology (full documentary) | FRONTLINE

Tonight on Frontline… It's all about likes. You want to be liked. I like…
– I like… I like…
– I like… NARRATOR: The power
of "like." Companies know how to
"like" into money. NARRATOR: The kids
who are liked. I put it on my
and I was so happy. I started getting views, which I didn't think was going
to happen. This is my first bite
the Cool Ranch Dorito taco. NARRATOR:
And the advertising machine spinning likes into go. Your consumer is
your marketer. This is the biggest
transformation that we've had in our lifetime. If you don't have
a zillion hits, then you generally wouldn't get
noticed by a sponsor. NARRATOR:
Author Douglas Rushkoff examines the culture of "like." A million people took
an action to say, "Yes, I like that piece
of content. That piece of content
speaks to me." That's profound.

NARRATOR: The fame… They needed to stop
about their followers and start worrying
about the money. NARRATOR:
The fortune. They can reach their
their peer networks and be your own evangelist. They can sell your product
for you. NARRATOR:
And what it all means for the way we interact
with each other and all the people and things
we like. Tonight on Frontline,
"Generation Like." The PTA put together
this event tonight because as parents, we're all
going through the digital revolution
with our kids. We have Douglas Rushkoff… DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: I've
speaking at events like this for more than 20 years now. My sister has two
Twitter accounts… RUSHKOFF: I've written
and taught classes about this stuff, so people turn
to me for answers. What do you do in the
of extreme bullying? My son plays a game
Starcraft. How much does that show
in tracking? RUSHKOFF: I don't think
going to affect the kid's job for the rest of their lives…

RUSHKOFF: But lately
been wondering: are we all asking the wrong
questions when we focus
on the technology itself rather than what's behind it? Kids are spending more and more
of their time in digital spaces that they don't have even
a basic understanding of what they are, where they're
tilted, what are they for. The problem, as I see it,
is what are companies doing to our kids through technology, and how can they and we be made
more aware? Technology is here to stay, and
it's changing all of our lives, especially those of our kids. But how? What do these websites and apps
really allow teens to do? What is it they ask in return? And are kids aware
of any of this? It hasn't always been like this. When we made the Frontline
documentary "Merchants of Cool" back in 2001, the media
environment was quite different. What's up, we're Limp
Bizkit and you're watching TRL
if you didn't notice already. RUSHKOFF: MTV was the
behemoth growing rich exploiting
kids' desire to be cool.

Can I take your picture for a street culture website
I work for? RUSHKOFF: Corporations
chasing kids down, taking teen culture and selling
it back to them. Did you see this guy
other day who got, like… 90 favorites. RUSHKOFF:
Today's teens, like this group of high school
friends in Montclair, New Jersey, don't
need to be chased down. They're putting themselves out
there online for anyone to see. They tell the world
what they think is cool, starting with their own
online profiles. Are you doing a profile
picture or a cover photo? I don't know. Well, you can't have
a cover photo by yourself.

Listen to Genna,
she's the master of Facebook. Come on, we're trying to get you
400 likes! "How to get 400 likes
on your
profile picture." A profile picture
is kind of like how you want people
to visualize you. You put your best foot forward. And your cover photo kind of
tells about your personality. Okay, guys, do you
Darius should do this picture? That picture? As his profile picture? I vote no. RUSHKOFF: What is it
would want the profile to accomplish? You want it to show
the true Darius, and usually when you think of
Darius, he's always smiling, always a happy guy to be around. Oh, that's so cute! So it's this one? Yeah, it's really cute. We found a photo of
when he's
smiling and being his true self. RUSHKOFF:
Is it "true you" now? My profile is
the true me now. Definitely true me. RUSHKOFF: Compared with
the kids I met 13 years ago, this group seemed
so sophisticated.

What's your caption
going to be, Darius? Nothing… You need a caption! RUSHKOFF:
But as they sat there doing a virtual makeover
on their friend's profile, they revealed a vulnerability. How did you get almost
likes on your profile picture? Exactly! RUSHKOFF: Likes. You were kind of surprised
at her high number of likes? Yeah. RUSHKOFF: Why is that? Like, 300 to 400 is a lot? For example, we just
a picture of me, my new profile picture,
and I got like 14 likes. Boys get less than
girls. RUSHKOFF: It's only
20 minutes, though. Yeah, but she had 300. RUSHKOFF: Likes. Follows. Friends. Retweets. They're the social currency
of this generation: Generation Like. The more likes you have,
the better you feel. You can't wait to find
out if
other people like you or not, so you need likes and stuff
like that.

Instant gratification. RUSHKOFF: You get them,
give them, and everyone knows how many you've earned. The number is right there
for anyone to see. Are the likes you get,
are they about you or are they about
your profile picture? That's what you sit in
of your computer for an hour trying to figure out. It's very cryptic. RUSHKOFF: And when a
likes something online, a product or a brand
or a celebrity, it becomes part of the identity that they broadcast to the
world, the way a t-shirt or a bedroom poster defined me
when I was a teen.

For kids today, you are
what you like. I like Urban
Outfitters. Under Armor. Fanta. Joke pages. Nike. McDonald's. Twizzlers. PETA. Sony. Drake. Too many to name,
really. 25, 24, 23… RUSHKOFF: Ceili Lynch
of Mount Vernon, New York, likes The Hunger Games. A lot. This is like my number
kind of thing. I obviously like other books
and other fandoms and stuff but not as much
as The Hunger Games. Like, that's my top one. RUSHKOFF: Her Tumblr
and Twitter feed are filled with pictures and links to
the billion-dollar franchise.

I've been a fan of the
ever since I was younger, like when they first came out. I found out about this website
and I saw they were having these little contests on it, so
I was, like, "Oh, I really want to win these contests." RUSHKOFF: The Hunger
is about teens forced by adults to battle each other as a form
of public entertainment. We're gonna kill you! RUSHKOFF: Being a fan
isn't so different. The movie's official website
allows kids to compete with each other
for virtual prizes by sharing its content
on Twitter. It's called retweeting, and
when it comes to The Hunger Games, Ceili's among the most prolific
in the world. It's like an
accomplishment. Like, it's just really cool
to be able to think of yourself as one of the people that likes
The Hunger Gamesthe most.

Being one of those people who
loves it so much, it's like
you're one of the top fans. RUSHKOFF: So there's a
way to
almost verify your centrality. It's like a way to show
people, "Yes, I am one "of the top fans, actually. Look at the website!" RUSHKOFF: More than any
generation before them, today's teens can speak directly
to the artists, celebrities and brands they like. And sometimes, they get a reply. A couple of the other
and actresses from the first movie have
noticed me. Jack Quaid, who played Marvel
from District 1, he was like my favorite actor,
I don't know why, but I became super obsessed with
him, so I was tweeting him, like, "My only goal anymore is
to get you to tweet me back." And he tweeted me, like,
"Oh, go check it off your list.

Now go save the world,
and hurry!" So that was really, really cool
for me. RUSHKOFF: Does that
you to share things in the hopes of them
kind of noticing? Yeah, I mean I've
them a bunch of times hoping they'll retweet me
and stuff because it's really cool, like,
them noticing you. RUSHKOFF: It's cool
when a kid likes something and that thing likes her back,
other kids notice, and then they like her too. The Hunger
Twitter, they retweeted me and I gained, like, 60, 70
followers. It's kind of self-empowering
to know that, like, "Oh, I'm one of the top fans
on their website." RUSHKOFF: Empowerment. It's a word you hear a lot when
kids talk about social media. I think that social
media… …really has empowered
me. It's a way of letting
know you're there.

Definitely gives me a
voice. Show my talent to the
world. Broaden who you're
talking to. They'll just post
they're feeling. There's no one there
saying, "You can't say that." RUSHKOFF: Once teens
created online identities, they have an array of tools through which to express
themselves to anyone interested enough
to listen. Hey, everyone, it's
Tyler. I'm a vlogger on YouTube. I got in trouble because I don't
have a filter on my mouth. I talk about my life
online. That's what I do. I went to an ugly
party… But I've been doing it
since 2007. I had just gotten
my first laptop, and I discovered YouTube. I just wanted to do
a really quick update while I'm at home
doing my laundry. I had just gone off
to college, I was 18, and my three best friends went
to three different schools, and so I had
Facebook to keep in touch, but I also wanted to keep in
touch in my own little way.

I noticed one thing
my new haircut: it does this optical illusion called Humongous Forehead
Syndrome. And I remember one
video had
100 views, and I was like, "I do not have 100 friends." I want to say I'm so
for all the new subscribers, I mean, the numbers go up
and up and up. I have made probably
over 500 videos just talking about everything. How cute. RUSHKOFF:
Well, not everything… just the things he likes. This one's got the
story of One Direction. Girl, we are in for a treat! RUSHKOFF: Like Ceili
and her Hunger Games, Tyler Oakley is obsessed
with pop culture. He's Ceili on steroids.

I absolutely adore
these two bowties! RUSHKOFF: And social
lets him share his obsessions with the world. Oh, hey! Welcome to my room! If you were to, like,
go hog wild about somebody or put One Direction posters
all over their wall… I have no excuse for
this. …people might look at
weird. But on the Internet,
people are all about it. RUSHKOFF: And guess
what. Getting people to be "all about"
something is big business. ♪ Put a Pepsi in the
That choice is up to you You're the Pepsi Generation…

have long spent billions trying to get kids to engage
with their products and brands. Introducing Oreo
BigStuf. RUSHKOFF: Now that the
kids consume media has changed, the companies that want
to reach them know they need to change too. The icons of this
are the like button, the tweet button,
the reblog button. I mean, this is the biggest
transformation that we've had in terms of communicating with
consumers in our lifetime. In our lifetime. And so to not learn how to
participate in those channels is outrageous. So to stand on the sideline
is not an option. RUSHKOFF: As a
marketing executive, Bonin Bough understands that
when kids like something, it becomes part of who they are.

And if kids want
to express themselves by advertising his company's
products, like Oreo cookies, he's happy to oblige. The strategy was to
pop culture through the eyes of Oreo. We called it "Daily Twist." RUSHKOFF: Take the
of same-sex marriage. If you're in favor of it
and want the world to know, Oreo is there to help. Here, this platform
something as simple as a cookie– a cookie,
which is, you know, two chocolate and cream
in the middle– the ability to have a
perspective on culture that was so profound. Oreos are gay! That one post alone had
a million likes. A million people took an action
to say, "Yes, I associate with that. "I like that piece of content. That piece of content speaks
to me." That's profound. Those are big, big numbers. RUSHKOFF: And those
are extremely valuable. There is right now a
huge commercial push, or corporate push, to collect
as much data as possible. When you hit "like," when you
retweet, when you make any expression online,
you're creating data.

You're creating a demographic
profile of yourself. Everybody go like
my profile picture! Everybody go like
Darius's picture. RUSHKOFF: When Darius's
friends like his profile picture, Facebook sees who he interacts
with the most– information that would be
valuable to advertisers. When Daisy likes dozens
of brands on Facebook, those brands can learn more
about a potential customer, and all her friends as well. When Ceili and her friends
retweet news about The Hunger Games, the movie studio is able to
track the response in real time. When Tyler goes on YouTube in
search of the things he likes, YouTube, which is owned
by Google, can track his every move.

This is where the currency
of likes turns into actual currency. Companies know how
to take that data and turn it into money. The people who are handing over
the data, because they're hitting "I like
this" or "I like that" or they're telling all
their friends, "Will you please come like me?" they have no idea
what the value of that is. RUSHKOFF: So all those
selfies you take so that people will like them
on Instagram? They helped that company sell
for a billion dollars. Send a tweet, and you help raise
the value of Twitter to around $30 billion. And Facebook? It's valued at around
$140 billion. Those numbers aren't based on
profits– not yet, anyway. Those prices are based on the volume of likes
they can generate. And likes don't generate
themselves. That's why companies need kids
to stay online, clicking and liking
and tweeting. How do they do that? Who wants to win a call
from Lady Gaga? (cheering) Who wants to win a phone call
from Lady Gaga? RUSHKOFF: By giving
kids a
chance to be a part of the game: fame by association.

You may not be as famous
as Taylor Swift, but your photo can be part of her promotion
for Diet Coke. Ladies and gentlemen,
show some love for Beyoncé! RUSHKOFF:
Send Pepsi your selfie, and maybe it'll be included
in this intro to Beyoncé's Super Bowl
halftime show. Reach out to any celebrity
or brand on social media and there's an implied promise
they might reach back. And bam, there I am
in the commercial. That's like literally
a check off the bucket list. RUSHKOFF: Tyler Oakley
proof that it works, at least for the skilled liker. Like, oh my gosh, I am
excited for Lady Gaga tonight. RUSHKOFF: His success
in this game of likes is reflected in his numbers. Darren Criss, stop it! RUSHKOFF: After seven
of talking about his obsessions, he's won over three million
subscribers to the YouTube channel
he created. I don't know how it
happened. It just happened out of the blue
and it happened without intent, and I think a lot of what I did
was just talk about what I love and people gravitated toward it,
and it's opened up a lot of opportunities and it
opened up a lot of doors.

I felt so VIP official
with my lanyard. RUSHKOFF: He's covered
Video Music Awards on Twitter. I'm so excited, I wish
were all here with me. RUSHKOFF: He's a
guest on a pop culture show on YouTube. When I, like, fangirl
things, I think people really relate to that. RUSHKOFF: And when he
went to
see One Direction in concert last summer…

(crowd chanting "Tyler!") …Tyler Oakley,
professional fan, had quite a few fans of his own. (crowd cheering) The interesting thing
traditional celebrities and then YouTubers, for a fan,
they run up to me in the street and they act
like we are friends. Part of the reason why a lot
of people, like, relate to me is that I am just one of them. Oh hey, girl, come on
in! RUSHKOFF: But he's not,
really. Beyond his massive following
on YouTube, he has over 800,000 followers
on Facebook, 1.3 million on Instagram, approaching two million on
Twitter, and the numbers are rising every day. Tyler is a millionaire
in the currency of likes. I can upload tomorrow. I can upload whenever
you want. RUSHKOFF: But social
media is
all about sharing, and that includes sharing
the wealth. When kids with large audiences
work together, everyone benefits. Well, hello, everyone.

My name is Tyler Oakley,
and I am here with Oli White! My favorite thing to do
on my
channel is collaborations. Christmas gives me,
anxiety. All of us YouTubers are
realizing, "Okay, there's no point in not
wanting to help all of us be successful and all
of us rise together." RUSHKOFF: Here's how it
works: Tyler does a video with Oli White, introducing his three million
subscribers to Oli, who has just 300,000. Hey, guys, so today,
I am with Louise. RUSHKOFF: Oli does one
Louise, who has a million. Woop woop! I am here with Hannah Hart
today. Hello. RUSHKOFF: Louise brings
her audience to Hannah, who has 920,000. You met Shane Dawson
today. RUSHKOFF: Hannah is
happy to work with Shane, a comedian and musician with
an astounding 5.4 million fans. Ka-ching! RUSHKOFF: And Shane
shows up
in a video with Liam Horne. You probably don't know Liam
yet. He only has 45,000 subscribers. But that's going to change. ♪ Oh, yeah… ♪ Yeah, yeah,
just like that, girl. ♪ Hey, sexy lady,
Shane's got a message for you, ♪ So I'm gonna sing it
for you… ♪ RUSHKOFF:
Liam isn't trying to be a YouTube personality,

He's a relatively
unknown musician hoping to make the big time. To do that, he's turned to a new
kind of company called The Audience. Let's pull it up. Let's see the 10th,
for instance. RUSHKOFF: It's a talent
agency, publisher, promoter and network rolled into one. It's the brainchild
of Oliver Luckett. Good to see you. What we do here
at The Audience is we run a publishing network. What we do is we basically run
the social media on behalf of entertainers
and artists and musicians and actors, and we
help them express themselves inside of this medium. How many days of
was this? RUSHKOFF: It used to be
if a kid didn't have good connections, hard work and
talent was the only path to fame, and even that was
no guarantee.

But today, there's another
route: build and leverage a social network. The piece that you did
Shane Dawson, I mean, that's got two million views in two weeks. Yeah, yeah, yeah… And you read every
on your YouTube and they say, "Shane brought me here,
but now I love you, now I want to know more about you." It's crazy. What they're doing right now
is kind of the job of what a record company would
do for me. They're building my fan base
for me and helping me with media stuff.

Sawyer Hartman showed
up. He was, like, really cool. The big YouTube kid? He's got like half a million
followers, right? Yeah. That's awesome. RUSHKOFF:
Liam has genuine talent, but it's almost beside
the point. To get ahead, he needs to attach
himself to others who have mastered the game
of likes: kids like Acacia Brinley,
who has over a million followers on Instagram. She's only in the video
for a few seconds, but she's a critical part
of the marketing plan. ♪ 'Cause the truth is Yeah, the truth is… ♪ All these people in my
already had their own amazing followings,
which is like a million followers here and
there, and they're all in my video
and they tweet about it, talk about it, Instagram it, so all their fans are like,
"Wait, who's this kid they're all hanging out with?" And they'd all come over.

So it's basically just merging
the fan bases all together, you know? RUSHKOFF: From the
this does sound empowering: a bunch of kids working
together, helping each other to get ahead
without having to rely on the usual corporate suspects. But look a little closer. Is this a music video or an ad
for the Ford Fiesta? It's nice to see that
at every step of the way, brands have been willing to step
in and help pay for the videos. His first video, we got support
from Ford Motor Company. In this last one, you had… Adidas gave you stuff,
Young & Reckless, so it's nice to see that your
art is being funded as well. Oh, those are bad. Sick! RUSHKOFF: It's a
mash-up of culture and commerce.

I love you, man, I love
you. It's Christmas! RUSHKOFF: Everybody
seems to
be getting what they want. Take Steven Fernandez,
a 13-year-old skateboarder from Compton, California. Is that that famous
kid? Hey, Steven! And he's famous? RUSHKOFF: I like that
question, "Are you famous?" I'm not famous, you
know me, I'm not famous. RUSHKOFF: It's not, "Is
he on
TV, is he an actor, is he a good skateboarder,"
it's "famous." It's just that word. They need to stop
about the followers and start worrying
about the money. RUSHKOFF: Steven's been
worrying about money all his life. His family has never had
very much of it. This is my living room. This is where Dad sleeps. I lay down there sometimes. All right, let's go to my room. RUSHKOFF: Two years
he started putting videos of himself up on YouTube. I started
skateboarding. That's the number one thing
I love to do. The first video I ever posted, I didn't think anyone
was gonna like it. I mean, I just posted it
and it started getting views.

I was hyped. I was happy. I didn't think it was
going to go that far. RUSHKOFF: But it did. He got hundreds of views,
then thousands. Soon, all those little likes
turned into YouTube gold: corporate sponsorship. RUSHKOFF: How did the
company find you? Primitive was the first
company that sponsored me. I made a video skating, and
Andy, the dude from Primitive, saw it and was like, "Yeah, let's get this dude
in this company." RUSHKOFF: Does it go
right to cash sponsorships? They start giving you
and then it goes to money.

he's a walking billboard for his sponsors,
literally head to toe. RUSHKOFF: The sneakers? These are Supra. RUSHKOFF: And the
socks? These are DGK socks. DGK board, A-struts,
Gold Wheels, Grizzly Grip. Oh, yeah, and thanks to all my
sponsors for helping me out. Appreciate it. I was, like, "Man, if I
doing this, I can actually support my family and get them
off poverty and this little hood." RUSHKOFF: YouTube cuts
him in
on the cash from ads placed on his videos.

But up to now, his sponsors have
been paying him largely in skate gear
or branded merchandise. That's not enough to vault him
out of Compton. But then, Steven's not riding
to fame on his skateboard talents alone. Are you okay? I think I just (bleep)
my pants. Oh, no! RUSHKOFF: Lots of kids
skateboard. Steven needed a way to cut
through the clutter. Can you clean me? It really smells. Once you start doing
funny videos, you get more than skater fans. I started to get bigger
and bigger. RUSHKOFF: So now Steven
by the nickname Baby Scumbag. More than a skateboarder, he's a raucous, raunchy Internet
sensation, banking huge numbers of clicks and views and likes. Are you famous? Do you do something? RUSHKOFF: How do you
whether a video's doing well? The views, the likes,
the shares on Facebook, the likes on Facebook. The more views I get,
the more comments I get, the more money I get. Are you crazy? You're trying to see…
that bad? Are you happy now? RUSHKOFF: Baby
views are rising as his content gets racier. He still skates, but gets
hundreds of thousands of views on videos like these.

Any normal guy can get
a girl, huh? Hey, cuties, you guys wanna
touch my…? Oh, my God, I think I found
a white girl that can twerk! RUSHKOFF: So now, when
goes out to make a video… Today, I'm gonna be
hands with random people. RUSHKOFF: …he often
the skateboard at home. Ma? Ma? Young people want
they want validation, and that's actually not new. It's just that now, the possible stage which you can
operate on is much bigger. At the same time, the ability
to get attention in a place where there's tons of
information, where there are tons of people competing for
attention, is also harder. When your business depends on
the number of clicks, the number of page views, the
number of ad impressions, what you really need from people
is their attention. I've seen your YouTube
video! Because it's a way of actually capturing money
as well. Because it's the car crash. It's taffy! It's very rare, bruh. They watch these things because people wish they hanged
out with models like I do in these videos,
but it's all fun.

Right here, Angel! RUSHKOFF: As if to
prove the
point, Steven introduced us to a friend he said was the best
skater at the park. Better than himself. Angel's got the moves, but most
of his videos only have a few hundred views. RUSHKOFF: You're making
YouTubes and stuff, too? Yeah, whenever we go
we just film a little bit of stuff
and eventually it turns into enough footage to get it
on YouTube. RUSHKOFF: How many
does your stuff get? The video with the most
views, of course, has Steven in it.


So that one has 38,000 views. RUSHKOFF: If you don't
a zillion hits, then you generally wouldn't get
noticed by a sponsor? Yeah, exactly. There are videos out there that
got upwards of 10,000 views, and those are the ones that
people really look at. So unless you're on one of those
channels, then I feel like you're not going to get that
much recognition. RUSHKOFF:
Is there stuff you can do to make something get seen more? Just doing crazy stuff. Like what Steven does, like how
to get girls and stuff. Because those get hundreds of
thousands of views. So there's that. RUSHKOFF: Thus a
was empowered through interactive media. Why on earth would
spend all those hours to make a YouTube video of them doing something absolutely
stupid and insane? They're only gonna get a check
for three dollars for doing it. But money isn't the only
currency. This is a condom. And when you can see
that you
have 5,000 followers on Twitter or when someone recognizes you as that kid who did that stupid
stunt on a mountain bike and broke your arm, suddenly
your arm doesn't hurt because you know you're famous.

Everybody desires to be
famous. Facebook famous. Instagram famous. The most popular person
on YouTube. It's way easier to
famous for something outrageous. Girls will post
pictures. Make a video and get
a million views. Get as many friends,
as many likes as possible. You want to be liked. Will this get likes? It's all about likes. Let's see how this
works out! RUSHKOFF: But how much
is enough? Does the quest for likes
ever end? What happens if you finally go
all the way? Not some niche sensation
on the Internet, but a bona fide Hollywood star? Hello.

RUSHKOFF: The kind of
reached by Ian Somerhalder. You're just so pretty. RUSHKOFF: He has wealth
fame and immortality as the star of the smash hit
series The Vampire Diaries. He also has Oliver Luckett,
who handles his social media. Welcome to my world. Have you been killing
again? I don't think PBS would
the blood. It'll spice it up a
little! RUSHKOFF: Ian may be
every kid's dream, but he's still reducible
to his numbers of likes. Though his numbers are a little
different than yours. Right now you're
at 6.3 million fans. You're now reaching 24 million
unique people a month. We were looking at the
numbers of the show, and what you guys have created
has a higher number value than actually the viewership
of The Vampire Diaries in the United States. It's just crazy to me. Thank you, buddy. Thank you. It's all you, dude. RUSHKOFF:
Oliver's just being modest. The content may be Ian's,
but as he showed me, Oliver's company is running
the show.

It has a calendar of
that's coming out. You know, if we looked,
these are two objects that are coming out right now, it's been approved
by the artist. RUSHKOFF:
And then when it goes out, you can track how well it did. Exactly. If I look at the Facebook post
analysis, I can see pretty much in real time what those objects
are doing. This picture,
"Coming home from work, luckiest dude in the world," of him and his newborn puppies, reached 5.4 million unique
people with 8.9 million views, right, with 377,000
stories generated about it. And so the list kind of keeps
going on every time he talks, and sometimes twice a day, three
times a day, he's reaching three to six million people. RUSHKOFF:
Now, if I'm a brand… Right, then you want to
in this business. RUSHKOFF:
I want some of this! How much does it cost me? It is going up. Literally, our business has done
that in the last five months.

RUSHKOFF: I mean, show
what kinds of products or brands that Ian's followers like. Sure, so if I go in and
looking at this platform… RUSHKOFF: And there
they are:
your likes. Dissected, analyzed, and
in Oliver's hands, monetized. If you start looking at
Beauty & Health, for
instance, it's Origins, right?
That makes total sense. RUSHKOFF: If you like
Ian and
you like a product or brand, Oliver knows. 6.7% of the Origins
interacted with Ian Somerhalder's content. RUSHKOFF: And those
interactions can mean prized endorsements
for Oliver's clients. So if you're connected
to Ian
and he likes the product and then you like Ian and you
like the product, then now you've got a double
endorsement to your friends. RUSHKOFF: It's an asset
can use however he wants, whether it's building up his
nonprofit foundation or other more profitable

I now understand that understanding how to
quantify that value is huge. It is the coolest thing,
pretty much, since sliced bread. RUSHKOFF: Maybe it
sense that Oliver's company is called The Audience,
because in the end, that's what he's selling. And remember:
the audience is you. So I get social media and I use social media
to promote my career so that I can get to the point
where I have a social media network
that I sell.

That's exactly right. You are your own
media company, 100%. That's every single person's
goal in this. The smart ones. It's all very transparent. It's all very obvious, you know. RUSHKOFF:
Obvious and transparent? Or simply invisible? Want to see
how it actually works? Take a look inside the offices of TVGLA, a social media
marketing agency just outside Hollywood. So we're brainstorming
on the superhero movie. Of course, our target:
millennials. RUSHKOFF: TVGLA has
movies like Wolverine and The Expendablesand TV shows
like Homeland. We start with the
and strategy phase where we really dig into
who that audience is, and then we figure out how
that audience uses social media to communicate. You can also sort of
people, "Which power would you
want?", and then you have people tweet their responses. The challenges would be
that audience in the way that you want to use them
in order to see the results you're looking for. RUSHKOFF: In other
instead of selling the product to the audience, the idea is
to get the audience to sell the product for them.

They want to make
the interactions seem open and transparent. But all that transparency
takes a lot of planning. Doing something
with green screen, where people walking down
the street can walk up to it and be inserted into a scene. It's all about
more openness. Because that openness, you know,
starts creating essentially what most brands want,
which is trust. You want to trust in any
conversation that you believe what that person on the other
side is telling you. And it's no different between
a brand and your best friend. What if even you insert
yourself into a news report and you could share that video
with your friends? You've got the line in
you're reeling in the fish.

So it's not like…
you can't jerk it too fast, you can't give it
too much slack. You gotta feel constant tension. A hashtag that's
at the end of the credits that pulls everyone back
to pulling out their phone and tweeting something. Then you start really
deploying, heavily, your engagement strategies. Creating memes, letting the
audience caption those memes, getting them to enter into a
sweepstakes or a contest asking them to share
your content.

You know, "Like this post for X"
or "share it for Y." It's all about trying
figure out this pipeline of connected pieces that are
going to continue that audience to be
essentially your best marketer. Because that's the hope. The 75thHunger Games! RUSHKOFF: Just take a
look at
two of the biggest movies aimed at teens: The Hunger Games
and its sequel, Catching Fire. Catching Fireis coming
out. I've seen the ad
online. Commercials on YouTube. A lot of my friends
would post pictures. Are tweeting a lot
about it. Like, new movie posters
and the outfits. Like this page about
The Hunger Gamesmovie.

It's exciting,
it lures you in. Yeah, I am excited
about it coming up. RUSHKOFF: What's
designed to
look like a grassroots wave of excitement is actually a meticulously planned
marketing strategy. It may be "Catching Fire," but it was doused with gasoline
beforehand. Absolutely nothing is
to chance. I mean, with The Hunger Games,
I had the sort of rare chance to look at what their strategy
was of, like, day by day, hour by hour, what they're
putting out in the world. 12:00 noon Pacific,
Yahoo page goes live. 3:00 p.m., Tumblr photo
of this person gets released. 6:00 p.m., this. The goal is to create
a controlled brush fire online, and so the fans at a certain
point are convincing each other, "Oh, wow, look, that's really
cool, did you see that?" RUSHKOFF: So Ceili,
in her bedroom trying to win sparks and badges by liking The
Hunger Games,isn't just being marketed to; she's actually part of the
marketing campaign itself. You get ten sparks or
sparks for sharing something or making something on Tumblr,
whatever, Twitter, Facebook.

So that's basically what they
use to show how much stuff you've shared. This is basically how I find out
news about The Hunger Games and Catching Fire,
like casting information, who's on what magazine cover,
stuff like that. All those little
tidbits can
serve as fuel for this online fire
they're trying to create, and that is how they both keep
interest up, they keep the flames burning,
and they prep the next one. I find out about it, I
about it, more people see it, and basically it's just like
one person finds out, it goes to two more people and
then it just kind of multiplies.

Catches fire! Every bit of it is
manipulated from the beginning of the campaign to the end,
a year out. Your 16-year-old is right now
starting to have an interest in movies that are a year away,
and she's thinking it's organic. Meanwhile, there's a studio back
there counting how many times did
she click on it. RUSHKOFF: We asked
to talk to us about their marketing for
Hunger Games 2: Catching Fire, but like many companies we
approached, they declined. The studios worry that
the minute that they show you that there's a man behind
the curtain pulling all of these strings, that the audience will start
tuning out, so they're sort of really
working hard to pretend that it all happens by magic.

It's Hollywood, it happens
by magic, right? (laughing) RUSHKOFF: But to the
the real magic is that kids like Ceili are happy
to work for free promoting their films. It's a lot of work to
all this. It takes a lot of time
to retweet everything, to like everything. So I was liking and sharing
all these posts for, like, four to five hours. My hands were so tired after! It makes me feel like a worker,
but it's all worth it in the end because… I get more sparks. Your consumer is your
marketer, and I think that's a real shift because it
used to be a one-way conversation of
the marketer to the consumer. And now the consumer is doing
as much as the marketer is in getting the message across.

There is this unique moment
where they are wanting to be as much a part of the process
as a company will let them be. RUSHKOFF: Lots of
are happy to put kids to work, and not just at marketing. Sometimes they'll let them
provide the content for the whole show. Trending 10 is a new kind of
program on the Fuse network. It's sponsored by Trident gum,
made by the same company that makes Oreos. It decides what content
to feature by monitoring social media feeds. We start the day off
by looking and seeing what conversations are spiking
on Twitter around music. RUSHKOFF: Justin
Bieber. Lady Gaga. The kind of music teens
love to talk about. Then we create a show
in the morning based on what's actually being
talked about in Twitter.

Lady Gaga premiers
"Applause" music video on GMA. So then we create a
around that, and then we create 20 pieces of content
throughout the day that's distributed on Twitter around how the conversation
is changing. And so that's real-time video
content creation around discussion that's
actually happening, taken from where the discussion
started and putting it back into the discussion
in this fluid ecosystem between TV and Twitter in a way
that's never been done before. RUSHKOFF: Did you get
that? Kids are coming up
with the content, then helping to promote it back
to themselves in an endless feedback loop between broadcast
and social media. Hmm, what do you guys
think? Share your thoughts
on the subject over @Tridentgum and @T10.

selling Trident gum. Guess what? When we're using Twitter
to distribute video that has Trident branded around
it from a Trident show and you're watching, that's
signaling you to remind you to go pick up
Trident gum at point of buying. Companies focus on
to teenagers because they hope they'll form a brand loyalty
with a product. So now that it's just blossomed
on the Web, the sky's the limit for commercial culture. I don't think there's a sense
that there's any shame in being marketed to
or marketing.

Pepsi sent me to New
for the Super Bowl. RUSHKOFF: Tyler Oakley
doesn't have any problem with it. Oh, my God, look at how
my jersey is! I have done a lot of
with Pepsi, Audible, Warby Parker, MTV,
tons of brands. The link to that is
so be sure to click that. I have been fortunate. A lot of brands believe in me. RUSHKOFF: He's been so
successful at turning his YouTube channel
into a marketing juggernaut that he's now considered
an expert, even advising corporate
executives how to master the economy of likes.

So talk about your work
with Taco Bell. So Taco Bell is great. I literally was just on the
phone with them this morning. They have been really
at the forefront, I think, for YouTuber interactions. So there I was in bed,
minding my own business, tweeting at Taco Bell, saying
I'm protesting Taco Bell until they address the absence
of a Cool Ranch Doritos taco… They have a voice,
they're cool, they're fun, and our people get excited when
we are tweeted by them.

Come here, come closer. Can you see the label? Can you see what kind of taco
that is? I'm getting an exclusive
first bite. The second when a brand
like, "We trust your judgment," I'm just, like, "Oh, my God,
you're the best thing ever," and I'm ten times more likely
to give a real good genuine integration. (bleep), that's good. I do a lot of brand
integrations whenever it works, but I try to keep it minimal. Yeah, that's a Cool
Ranch. That's the best. So how did you feel like that content with the brand
played out with your 12-year-olds? Surprisingly, they can
tell if a YouTuber is, like, pushing something. So I try to keep it transparent
and honest because they know it's my job and they know that
I have to pay bills. They get that, so it's all good.

So what do you think is
the future of the Tyler Oakley brand? World domination! With brand deals. My plan for the future
world domination, but by my own rules, which is
the coolest part because I am doing what
I love and I feel like a lot of opportunities are there
if I want to work for them. Catching Fireis on
so audible.com/tyleroakley, you get your first book free. Selling out is not
out anymore. It's sort of getting
the brass ring.

If you get Taco Bell
to sponsor your stuff, it's like, "Hey, look,
I'm important enough "that Taco Bell realizes you're
an important audience to reach, "so let's all geek out
about Taco Bell for a video. I don't care." We just bump into John
Mayer because who else would you bump
into at a Taco Bell party? I say now that selling
doesn't even exist as a term. I don't hear young people
talking about selling out. I'm not sure they even know
what it means. Selling out… Can you define that? Well, selling out

It can mean different things. I guess I think first
of like a concert that's totally sold out,
like, no tickets left. That's probably not
what you meant, though. I don't know what that
means. You could sell out like
album or you could sell out, like, you're a sell-out,
like you're nowhere in life, you're never gonna get back
on top. Hey, everyone! RUSHKOFF: So Tyler has
millions of likes in his pocket, which he can trade to brands in
exchange for their sponsorship. Has Tyler won the game of likes? And is this really social
media's promise of self-determination? Promoting movies in exchange
for virtual prizes? Playing the class clown
in public to get free skateboard gear? Expressing your identity through
junk food advertisements? Can kids really win when they
don't make the rules? Maybe that's why some of them
are opting to become the game makers themselves.

A lot of people who
this culture are kids or were kids
when they created it, so it does actually reflect
a teenage zeitgeist. It's not the adult advertisers versus the supplicant teens
of yore. It's now like the teenagers are
creating this architecture. They grow up and they become,
you know, super-rich Silicon Valley types,
and then there's this giant underclass of people
forced to go, "Like, like, like, like, like" and who are probably
around their age, you know? RUSHKOFF: So who are
young power players of Generation Like? And what are they choosing
to build? I'm immortalized
as "The 19-Year-Old Founder," but I'm 22 now. RUSHKOFF: When Brian
Wong was
still a teenager, he devoted his considerable talents not to
chasing likes on social media, but to creating an advertising
network called Kiip. Kiip is a rewards
network and it takes moments that
already exist in apps and games–
moments in time that again are meaningful to you and having
brands there, be there, to make that moment even better.

In this case, which is
a fitness application, the user just completed
a workout. RUSHKOFF: App makers
can use
Kiip's network to turn virtually every moment
of your life into a branding opportunity. Level up in a game or accumulate
likes on a social app, and seemingly out of nowhere
comes a coupon for a free product. It says, "You just
a Kiip reward," the brand logo's right here,
user clicks on that, and boom, they just got
their award. They're awesome. RUSHKOFF: It's a
blend of marketing, media and everyday life. But Brian's more
than just an ad-man; he's actually a kind
of psychologist. There are nuances
on how you present things that create different
psychological responses. We don't even call ourselves ads
to consumers. Terminology we use is "rewards"
and "moments," and there's really no mention
of ads or even media.

As we go out and experience
the world, the things that make
the most impact on us are the ones that come up
serendipitously. So that's the psychological
principle we're offering. RUSHKOFF:
Serendipity by design. It's almost Orwellian. But maybe it was inevitable. After all, this generation has
grown up in the arena of likes, so it's no wonder that they're
also becoming master manipulators of social
media themselves. 50, 49… RUSHKOFF: Like the
game masters in The Hunger Games. The Hunger Gameskind of
represents social media today. Like, social media kind
of rips people apart. They are all put into this arena
where you're forced to try to survive on your own. This is important because higher ratings
will mean sponsors.

They have sponsors
when they go into the arena. And to get sponsors,
you have
to make people like you. They have to do things
in order to get people to like them. Push the Like button
now. The game makers,
which are the people that kind of control
this arena, the game makers sit and watch
them, but basically they're in there alone
trying to survive. You really want to know
how to stay alive? You get people to like you. RUSHKOFF: In the end,
how the game of likes is played. It feels empowering and it feels
like a social community, but ultimately kids are out
there alone, trying to live and survive. Kids like Daniela Diaz,
an eighth grader in Southern California who has
only just begun her journey into the arena. Gotta get in the zone! In my imagination,
I see myself standing in front of a crowd in front
of thousands of people. I love to sing, and singing
is my passion, and I breathe music. RUSHKOFF: About a year
she starting making videos at home, encouraged
by her mother Manuela.

I don't want to brag,
but I always thought she's had a pretty special voice. So I kind of nurtured it. It was like, "Oh, my God, I can't believe you're
making me do this." And I said, "Do it." (singing) And she just locked
up in that room– I think it was a couple
of hours– and she did the videos. (singing) Then I put it on my
and people started to view it, and I was so happy I started
getting views, which I didn't think
was going to happen.

So it kind of blew me away. RUSHKOFF: More people
than you knew in real life? Yeah. RUSHKOFF: And how does
feel when you see, "Oh, my gosh, another 100 people
have viewed this thing?" It feels overwhelming. It's unbelievable. RUSHKOFF: And then the
changed from just music to… To not just singing
anymore. Dear diary… Dani's do's and don'ts… Middle school melodrama… I thought it would be a
idea to let people know that I want to interact
with them. I'm gonna help you
guys. I'm here for you. So just make sure you comment,
and I'll get to you. I like interacting
with my "fans." RUSHKOFF: It's funny
to say it, then. It tingles! RUSHKOFF: Because it's
new? Or do you feel it's true,
though? Well, I've had comments
on there saying, "Wow, Daniela, you're my idol. I'm your biggest fan." That was the first time I was
exposed to the word "fan." So I guess I can say
I have one fan? RUSHKOFF: It used to be
ordinary kids didn't have fans.

Now everyone wants more. And the whole world can watch
as the numbers rise or fall. Instagram is what she
and so I've noticed, because I'm also the one that
takes the pictures on that, I said, "Wear this, wear this,
and I will take the picture, "I will tell you how many likes. You're gonna get over 150,"
and she does. I hate to say it, but if I have
a full body picture, she will get tons of likes,
and that's just the reality. RUSHKOFF: Listening to
I realized how pervasive this value system of likes
has become. You have a chance to
your name on this wall– this gorgeous wall! RUSHKOFF: That's it
right there: the wall, the interactivity, the offer
of fame by association. Kids take the very
marketing techniques that have been used on them
and use them on one another, all in pursuit
of the same prize. All you have to do is subscribe and like
all my videos. RUSHKOFF: It's the
of Generation Like. These kids are empowered
to express themselves as never before, but with tools
that are embedded with values of their own.

I'll get a couple of
I'll get a couple of views, I'll be happy with myself. RUSHKOFF: Getting likes
does feel good. Keep tuning in! Bye! RUSHKOFF: At least
in the moment. FRONTLINE is made possible by contributions to your PBS
station from viewers like you. Thank you. And by the Corporation for
Public Broadcasting. Major support for FRONTLINE is
provided by the John D. and Katherine T. MacArthur
Foundation. Committed to building a more
just, verdant, and peaceful
world. More information is available at
MacFound.org. Additional funding is provided
by the Park Foundation, dedicated to heightening public
awareness of critical issues.

The Wyncote Foundation. And by the FRONTLINE Journalism
Fund. With Major Support from John and
Jo Ann Hagler. And a grant from Scott Nathan
and Laura DeBonis. For more on this and other
Frontline programs, visit our website
at pbs.org/frontline. Frontline's "Generation Like"
is available on DVD. To order, visit shopPBS.org
or call 1-800-play-PBS. Frontline is also available
for download on iTunes..

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