In the case of Generation Like, we are the objects. The movie even stated that by liking things online, we become data for companies to use to see who their market is. It is inevitable that we are the objects because Facebook and other social media have become the norm. If someone does not have certain social media platforms, they can be ostracized by friends, companies, or pop-culture – it becomes as if they do not exist. So if it is inevitable that we become objects in the social media landscape, we have two options: either become part of a network and become data or create your own network.
Generation Like showed many kids who found a way to make being an object an opportunity. These kids created their own social networks with them as the center in order to achieve fame and eventually sponsorship that could lead to money. In order to achieve more likes, however, they must latch their network to another popular, master of the likes, “object’s” network. The goal in doing this is to gain fame and then possibly money, both which are dependent on likes.
The idea of mastering the likes is what fascinated me throughout the video. Mastering the likes seems to start out as talent and then leads to strategy, leaving talent in the dust. BabyScumbag, for example, is an incredible skater and already has his young age as the ‘wow factor’, but he feels the need to perform non-age appropriate pranks to get more likes and sponsors rather than perform more complicated skating tricks. BabyScumbag is an example of an object that created his own network, but is he the center, or are the sponsors the ones truly in the center? These influencers may feel like they have the power, but they are still controlled as part of the network.
In my digital advertising class, we were recently trained on a program called Sysomos. Sysomos is an expensive tool used by advertisers to see what is being talked about in the digital world, much like the tool used by the agency in the video. This tool is used to find target markets, see what’s being said about certain products, and most importantly, to find out who the influencers are for the topic. Influencers could be bloggers or a person on Twitter. What they have in common is their number of followers or the number of likes their posts have. BabyScumbag and the others shown in the video, appeared to their sponsors through a tool like Sysomos, which showed they were influencers of the brands’ target market.
Networks have always mattered and those well connected will always be better off, but we are in unchartered territory where our networks are public and can be transformed into data to then be used by large companies. We are not only objects anymore, but becoming employees. BabyScumbag and the others in the video know they are being used to push products to their network, but most do not know they are part of this web of interactive consumption. We usually view ourselves as the center of our own network, but what if we are all just pawns of larger, more strategic networks?