Tag Archives: YouTube

Generation Like (PBS Frontline 2014)

16 Jun

The PBS Frontline Special Generation Like takes a deep look into how an up-and-coming group of tech-savy kids are becoming both creators and consumers of a new digital culture.  Through popular social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, YouTubeInstagram, and Tumblr, today’s teens are redefining traditional marketing and public relations techniques by identifying and expressing themselves in a digital settings. Likes. Views. Hits. Friends. Subscribers. Tweets. Favorites. The short documentary makes it clear we are living in an era where every move we make is projected into the public sphere and quantified by a certain set of numbers.

Narrated by media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, the hour-long special interviews several well-known personalities who have struck it big through social media. Tyler Oakley is one such case. The 25 year-old blogger has over 4.5 million subscribers on his Youtube channel and 2.5 million twitter followers.  He started vlogging from his parent’s house back in 2007, back when Youtube was still in its infancy. Like a typical teenager, he talked about his favorite clothes, his favorite music (One Direction), favorite movies, food and products. As his online popularity increased, the major brands he was mentioning started paying attention. It wasn’t long before brands like Pepsi, People Magazine, Nike, and Taco Bell started sponsoring certain videos, setting up Tyler with exclusive gifts and parties, and creating an image and brand loyalty among some of Tyler’s fans.

It becomes apparent in the social media realm that one’s online presence means everything giving life to the phrase “you are what you like”. By the simple act of “liking” certain brands on Facebook, you are actually playing a part in a bigger community, as well as submitting your tastes to be analyzed by mega corporations. When brands figure out how to tap into your personal tastes, likes, and interests, the line between consumer, product, marketer and creator become blurred. The documentary gives several examples of how modern companies are utilizing fans as mini-employees – getting teens to promote their products among their peers in exchange for exclusive content.

The documentary keeps things at a pretty brisk pace, highlighting both the pros and cons that come with this unprecedented technology. Though the tone of the film as a whole leans towards the critical/cynical side of online commercialism, Generation Like is mostly an engaging and interesting watch for all ages, and should provide for some deep discussion about the role of digital media within corporate culture.


Rating 8/10

Similar to: ReGeneration, Consuming Kids 

This Is the End (2013)

2 Jun

So this is what you get when you take the comedic gang from Freaks and Geeks and lock them all in a room for 24 hours. Oh, and also throw in Emma Watson and the black guy from The Office. And of course you can’t forget Jonah Hill and Michael Cera. And because it’s a post-Superbad comedy Danny McBride has to make an appearance somewhere. Also there is Paul Rudd, Aziz Ansari, and Rihanna because – hey why not?

If they would have taken half the effort in writing the story as they did in the casting, then this film would be amazing. But the randomness and senseless progression of the scenes make it feel like you are watching a bunch of strewn-together YouTube videos. Which is OK, because This Is the End actually is kinda funny, and the film works in an unpredictably offensive way.

I was hoping for something a bit more self-aware and smart in a film where actors play themselves, but instead what I got was some half-baked morality tale about humanity and religion. It is an interesting mix, and the film definitely strayed into territory I wasn’t expecting, but I was satisfied by the time the credits rolled up. If you are a fan of the genre, then this is a must-see.

6/10 stars.

Similar to: Superbad, Pineapple Express, Tropic Thunder