703-581-8157 aswinjohn@vt.edu

Today is Social Media Theory the class watched and live tweeted the documentary “Generation Like”. The documentary discusses how many activities in today’s world are based upon whether or not they will garner engagement on social media.

Here are some of my takeaways from the documentary. (Which you can watch here)

1. Experience vs. Credentials

Being a senior and looking for jobs, it seems that every job requires 3-5 years of experience.

The documentary covered a Youtuber named Tyler who, due to the success of his channel, is now being brought into corporate environments to offer recommendations on how the businesses can bolster their online presence.

A popular sentiment was that Tyler was not an “expert”. However it is a misconception to think that just because someone doesn’t have a doctorate or formal education on a subject, they can’t be an expert in that field. Even after taking a course about social media at a four-year university, I will likely never know as much as he does about gaining a following on Youtube and creating appealing content for that platform. Tyler’s years of experience have given him insights that can not be taught.

2. Working Hard or Hardly Working

Social media has provided a new medium for entertainers. The documentary stated that “back in the day” you had to work hard to be famous. That implies that the people who are now Instagram, Twitter, or Youtube famous are not working hard. There are people who use Youtube channels as their primary means of income. These people are working hard. They have to stay informed on their respective industries, and continue to create content that the audience will want to watch. Which leads me to my next point…

3. Speaking to Your Audience

For someone to be “famous” on these platforms, they have to amass followers. If any of the individuals were to stop making content that appealed to their followers, the followers would leave and they would no longer be popular. The thing that made the young teens in the videos so successful was that they could speak to their target audiences. We probably didn’t find the videos of groping random people funny, but they probably appeal to the teenage audience that Baby Scumbag makes videos for.

That audience is what the companies are really paying for. As I mentioned in my blog about Dr. Amy Jordan‘s lecture, brands must speak to audiences in the places they are listening. Young teens are a hard market to reach. That is why brands are willing to spend so much money on these channels; they want to reach the elusive market.

4. The Price of Success

Many people asked what Baby Scumbag’s parents think of him. I’m sure they are on board with what he is doing. Listen to what Big Sean says about his mother and his cussing in songs:

 

Baby Scumbag’s family was living in a single bedroom house where the living room and the bedroom were two feet away from each other… It’s great to see that a teen can make the kind of money that allows him to support his family.

It’s important to remember that people on Youtube are, at the end of the day, entertainers. If you have an audience and are creating content that appeals to them, why wouldn’t you try and monetize off of it? That’s just good business.

Go forth and conquer Baby Scumbag.