The LIKING Commodity

The Four Corners Documentary: Generation Like offers a deeper look into what it means when we decide to publicly display our support for brands via social media.

“Likes”, “Retweets”, “Shares”, “Favourites” have become in their own way a currency – not only do people’s interaction with brands via social media both helps to validate themselves as a person in a world where online image matters so much, they also advertise for corporations to a relevant market (peers), building brand awareness and advertising on behalf of a company without requesting anything in return. The value of social media companies is based largely on their potential reach. And now it is not so much about the technology itself, but what is being achieved via it. Our time and emotion becomes the value of advertising. Many corporations have begun to exploit this mash up of culture and commerce where the consumer is equally the marketer. Corporate sponsorship and hidden advertising can be found all over our tv screens and throughout the internet.


In seeking out likes companies are playing on a very fundamental human characteristic; the want to feel a part of something. You can feature in Beyonce’s halftime super bowl video if you upload a selfie of yourself drinking Pepsi. It’s something that people want to do, to feel included. However it may not be apparent that they are in fact advertising a product. So how far will we go?  People seek attention, and they seek validation. If they can get this over the internet, where they can be seen by so many people, maybe that makes them feel better about themselves. I think that this new way of marketing – having the consumer promote products – highlights more than just that advertisers have continued to work with an ever more aware audience, it highlights the inherent problem people have with not being comfortable in themselves – that they need to seek validation over the internet rather than just being happy with liking what they like and being who they are.


Attention seekers and even just people who want to communicate with their friends are becoming famous through Youtube. This is the case for Tyler Oakley and many similar vloggers – they are in a way their own version of a celebrity, however, the way they are seen by the public is totally different. Not being selected by a big organisation, instead becoming popular in perhaps a more organic way – through growing a fanbase online – has meant that the way Tyler relates to his audience (and vice-versa) is different to that of a Hollywood movie-star, selected for a role by a big shot director, who grew up in Orange County with fast cars and learnt how to act famous from an early age. Tyler’s videos are created in an informal way, he directly addresses his audience  from his living room to yours; it creates such a different dynamic. In the documentary Tyler comments that he does run into fans who hug him and treat him like they would a friend – this is driven by the viewing settings. Watching him at home, on your own, every week makes it so similar to catching up with a friend. And viewers are offered many more ways to interact (more directly) with the one they watch.

This new type of celebrity/audience relationship is something that is fostered by the “LIKE generation”, and both parties contribute to the success.


The Web 2.0 Mentality: I Share… therefore I Am

It is often said that new technology aligns with shifts in behaviour, or, that we create new technologies to suit shifting behaviours – the two are aligned, but one does not necessarily cause the other. We adapt to new technologies, then we adapt them to our own lifestyles.

However with The Innovation of Loneliness, Shimi Cohen suggests that digital media is replacing positive face-to-face conversation with a more isolated way of communicating.
But where does this leave the traveller, or the exchange student, myself, who has to rely solely on exchange with others back home over social media? For me, it is useful, simply because it is not in real time. Replies don’t need to be instant and conversations can continue over a number of days.

It’s true; things can be misread, subtleties lost, and meaning construed, but the new medium paves the way for a new kind of conversation, and a new kind of interaction.


With the phrase “I Share, therefore I Am”,  Cohen makes an interesting point about the way in which we justify our existence, and our online presence. It is through what we choose to share that we establish our identity. Everyone knows it, it is unescapable; your online presence matters. It’s the easiest way for someone to get an idea of who you are – employers, friends, potential partners. So it does matter, that’s for sure. My American friends, wanting to be teachers, cannot even have photos of themselves with alcohol on Facebook. So they share very little. But then others choose to share more then is necessary, more then anyone really ever wants to know. Check out this article on the fem-douches of Instagram.

So where does the happy medium lie? Well that’s up to the individual I guess… How much do they feel the need to show other people that they are alive, and that the life they live is filled with social activities, overseas travels, and cute babies?

Why do we take photos?

Being on exchange has brought about the companionship of my camera, but also an absence of a smartphone, resulting in a new collection of pictures, with a new goal in mind during their creation. You no longer take social photos on a digital compact – it’s not an SLR, so it doesn’t elicit a pose, nor is it an iphone. What I’ve found is that we pose differently depending on what kind of camera we are facing. The quick, quiet, unobtrusive snap of the iphone leaves no-one the wiser and lets us get away quickly with posing – if it didn’t work…too bad so sad, if it did…we can lol about it after.

I don’t have a smartphone here. I miss snapchat, I miss instagram. Or even simply, mobile uploads, where the selfie is validated because of the device it was taken on. We can pull faces, be idiots, because the mobile-phone camera does not hold an underlying history of preparation for a photo, of the one-off, the value of the exposure (and cost!). Mobile photography is designed to be quick, to be multiple, to be unobtrusive.

We don’t mind the SLR at the odd party or event. It gives the occasion some formality, and of course gives the one standing behind it a certain level of credibility.

I don’t quite know where my camera fits, the Powershot G1X. It’s really great, with full manual functions and a DSLR sized sensor, but it still gets in the way of the social photo; it takes it’s time to focus, it is kind of bulky and bigger then your average digital camera.
People have started saying, wow what a great camera, that takes really good photos. Soon I will reply, it’s not all down to the camera…

My photos are only on flickr or on this blog, I don’t want no Facebook owning my work! ha.

Mum asked for photos of my surroundings which has inspired a collection of grunge-type street photography, aimed at capturing spirit and life in Montpellier (yet still not really featuring any true Montpellier-ins ….) we’ll work on that.

The new way to quit…and what happens after

The web2.0 world – where responses sometimes gets just as much attention, or sometimes more then the original  video/article/post themselves!

So, the long and short of it, a woman working for a media company makes a rather entertaining video about her long working hours and her dislike towards her job in order to quit.
It’s gone viral, everyone loves it….power-to-the-people kind of stuff…
…and very good PR…

A facebook friend of mine posted the link,

Show Gen Y viral videos, they’ll spend company time watching them. Teach Gen Y to make viral videos, they’ll publicly shame you on YouTube.#modernwisdom

Parodies have popped up everywhere –


But then, what I find even more amusing is the response from her colleagues and boss:

Citizen Journalism… what the?

The Guardian’s new app looks to create a community of contributors – embracing citizen journalism, but not really offering anything in return.

While the app does have a bit to offer more then anything it’s frought with potential disaster; legally in regards to ownership and opinion, but hey, they’re taking steps to fill a hole created by the rise of mobile phones and the citizen journalist with mobile phones and the citizen journalist… go figure

Where the Ad’s are at…

It’s a little left of field, but I think it’s pretty interesting all the same.
Dove’s new “Real Beauty Sketch” has sparked quite a lot of conversation around the way in which we perceive ourselves. Despite it’s positive message the AD still plays on traditional ideas of beauty and how we, and others think we should look.
I’ll admit it, I was moved by the video. I cried (but that’s not really anything new). I thought that while it was predictable, it was still an eye-opener and a timely reminder for my twenty-year-old self to be a bit kinder to the way I see myself.
But then I read this. And now, I don’t really know what to think about the ad.
It’s very cunning.

That it has generated widespread conversation is enough of a point to demonstrate that this campaign is effective, but it also demonstrates the movement from quick, 30-second ads on your soap-box to the online forum. These advertisement’s ask users to move online to further engage with concepts and experiences. They seek to generate investigation by the consumer and often result in online discussion.