Thanks to social media, today’s teens are able to directly interact with their culture – artists, celebrities, movies, brands, and even one another – in ways never before possible. But is that real empowerment? Or do marketers still hold the upper hand? In Generation Like, author and FRONTLINE correspondent Douglas Rushkoff (The Merchants of Cool, The Persuaders) explores how the perennial teen quest for identity and connection has migrated to social media – and exposes the game of cat-and-mouse that corporations are playing with these young consumers. Do kids think they’re being used? Do they care? Or does the perceived chance to be the next big star make it all worth it? The film is a powerful examination of the evolving and complicated relationship between teens and the companies that are increasingly working to target them.


“Generation Like” is a look at how those darn kids are becoming disconnected on the Facebooks and the Twitters. Kids aren’t empowered and only a handful become so stupid that they actually believe it. If anything, we’re entering an age that’s a tech saavy version of the Groundlings back in Elizabethan England. We’re closer to the performers than ever before and we can keep screaming at them until we can speak. Well, figuratively. Twitter and Facebook don’t have scream at Facebook options. If they did, the AV crew would pick someone deserving of their scorn. It would be a coin flip between Arn Anderson and Harry Hamlin. You know what you did, Hamlin.

Marketing and authenticity can’t really co-exist, but I don’t think that kids care anymore. Hell, did they ever really care? Generations pass and people always pick sides and form communities around those interests. What’s different when you compare Beatles vs. Stones or Team Edward vs. Team Jacob? Kids confuse interest in pop culture with things that matter. I’ve been on the other side of the equation and I’ve taken advantage of the marketing opportunities tied to these interests. So, suck it up. I’d love to see more documentaries tackle this kind of subject matter.

The DVD comes with no special features. The A/V Quality is pretty strong. The transfer is clean, but the Dolby track doesn’t get a ton of back channel support. Ultimately, it’s a pretty standard PBS documentary sent to DVD. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase to the curious.


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