Generation Like: Social Media and the Search for Validation
Keeping up with social media can be a full-time job. Watching some of the most prominent podcasts, video blogs, and Twitter feeds can make you wonder how they seem to follow everything. It’s simple: either they get paid for it or it is a guilty obsession. Younger generations use "likes," "retweets," and "reflags," (etc.) as forms of social currency, as stated in Rushkoff’s film. Social-media validation becomes part of their identity and perceived value. Maybe this is why so many restaurants and coffee shops are filled with people peering endlessly into their screens. Whether using your laptop or smartphone is for work, play, or a combination of the two, at some point we lose out on the real world in front of us.
Looking for validation is nothing new; however, social media users now have a much larger platform to search for it. Every like or retweet is viewed as a pat on the back and is taken seriously by many of today’s young media socialites. This has led to a major shift in the perception of not just endorsements but the nature of them as well. Over a decade ago, Rushkoff made another documentary called The Merchants of Cool that studied how companies learn about teens. At that point it was a laborious process; however, today, it’s as easy as logging into Facebook. Consumer and marketer are now one in the same.