frontline generation like pbs 'Frontline: Generation Like': 'Selling out' foreign concept to kids today

Technology moves so fast these days that what
seemed normal for one group of teens can become obsolete for their younger
brothers and sisters, let alone their children.

Once upon a time, the young wanted to be seen as rebelling against “The Man,”
separating themselves from the mainstream, even if that separation was largely
A decade ago, correspondent Douglas Rushkoff did “The Merchants of
Cool” and “The Persuaders” for PBS’ “Frontline,” exploring how savvy marketers
lured teens into brand loyalty.
On Tuesday, Feb. 18 (check local listings), Rushkoff’s latest “Frontline”
report, “Generation Like,” shows that no luring is needed anymore.
Producer/writer Frank Koughan tells Zap2it, “The kids all kind of get how this stuff
works and are willing participants in it and have a level of sophistication and
understanding that actually was quite surprising to me. Yet when you brought up
a concept like ‘selling out’ … the blank stares were just stunning to me. But that’s
a generational difference.”

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Through social media, young people know how to build a personal brand, create
an online persona, and publicize it among their friends and to the world at
large. If that means participating with major brands offering platforms for
exposure, they’re fine with that.
“They know what they want and where they want to be, but they may be less aware
of the connection among real talent, effort and reward.”
Says Rushkoff, “They’re more sophisticated in one way but less in another. These
are kids that were born with ‘American Idol’ when they’re 5 years old. They
don’t really draw a distinction between getting famous and being good at
“It’s like, ‘I’m gonna be a pop star.’ A lot of kids say, ‘I want to be
famous.’ ‘Doing what?’ ‘It doesn’t really matter. Oh, I’ll sing. I’ll do this.’
“So, they’re more aware of how ‘likes’ work, how to create networks, how to play
the system, but they’re less aware of what art is, of what genuinely good
content is.”
Posted by:Kate O'Hare