Montclair Teens Featured in Frontline's Generation Like Story on Social Media

BY  |  Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014 11:00am  |  COMMENTS (5)


In a film titled Generation Like, last night’s Frontline took a look at social media and asked the question “Are You What You “Like”?

generation LikeSocial media and what it means for  young people was the focus and shows how self-esteem is now tied into the approval of peers on Instagram, Facebook and other social media sites, where kids compete to see how many “likes” a new photo or post can achieve. Also explored is the relationship of teens to the marketers behind social media.

Eight Montclair teens were featured and filmed at one of the girl’s homes in town.

The results are not exactly “Like” worthy.

Douglas Rushkoff, Generation Like correspondent explains:

What we learned surprised me. We didn’t find a generation of rebellious teens, struggling to evade the ever-present pull of marketing. We found quite the opposite: a generation of teens looking for ways to participate in the process. The efforts of a snack food or soft drink company to win “likes” and “follows” isn’t seen as something to avoid or critique, but rather a self-promotional opportunity gain more likes for themselves.

In fact, the more kids participate, the more they appear to absorb and express the values and agendas of the marketers. After all, the key to success in music or art or even writing these days is to bring a social media fan base along with you. Likes and views can be a ticket to fame, a path to a career or even way out of poverty.

Watch the full episode here, we highly recommend it.


  1. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  February 19, 2014 @ 12:42 pm

    Considering the job market many of these kids will head into– and the crushing loan debt (not to mention STILL living in their childhood bedrooms)– I can’t wait for the inevitable Frontline episode in a few years about the BACKLASH against all this marketing. (“I thought if I had a 5 million views of youtube, and 200 thousand followers of Twitter, I’d be rich and never need to work.”)

    I may be wrong, but many of my students (college-aged) also think that the path to riches is made from LIKES- sure some will profit, but most won’t because if everyone is putting up videos, if everyone is LIKED, what makes one special, or sought after? Or valuable?

    Rather, this seems like another piece by adults turning an “economic” microscope of youth culture- figuring someone is getting paid with this new fangled thing (radio, music, tv, rock, hip-hop, etc.)

    So from the “consultants,” “Professors,” and other “experts” in “social media,” money will be made off of kids– just as it always has been.

    ** Make sure you FOLLOW me on Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, Tumblr and LIKE me on FB***

  2. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  February 19, 2014 @ 12:44 pm

    (I should mention, I didn’t see it. Will today. Right after the American Experience The Rise and Fall of Penn Station.)

  3. POSTED BY silverleaf  |  February 19, 2014 @ 2:46 pm

    I did not watch the film, but plan to do so. It would be very unfortunate if this is true; teens linking their self esteem to social media marketing ploys the likes of McDonald’s, Nike, etc, being brainwashed into believing lack of self worth if not identified with and or consumed by.

    Dangerous “1984” kind of stuff.

  4. POSTED BY walleroo  |  February 19, 2014 @ 3:23 pm

    I don’t know any teens who attach their self esteem to likes and twitter followers. 

  5. POSTED BY walleroo  |  February 21, 2014 @ 10:24 am

    Has there really been no comment on b’kids since Weds afternoon? Good lord. Should I turn the light out before I leave?

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