So, imagine how stunned I was last night when I finally got around to watching my TiVo'd copy of last Wednesday's edition of 60 Minutes. The key segment was a story about Bzzing kids between 8 and 13, a groups called, "tweens." If you haven't seen it, here's a synopsis of the segment. I suggest you don't eat anything while reading it...'cause it may cause you to lose it. It focuses on young girls because, apparently, this stuff works best with them. Trust me, they'll find a way soon to make it work with boys, too.
Listen to Laura Groppe of the, ugh, Girl's Intelligence Agency, or GIA talking about her company's work:
Groppe says she's empowering tweens by giving them a voice.
"Our responsibility is to translate that girl-speak into biz-speak for our clients," says Groppe. "And then come back full circle, and tell the young girls, 'This is what you did. Because of what you said, Capitol Records is making changes. You are affecting change in your world.'"
You are affecting change in your world?!?!! Holy shit. Long way from this kind of world changing, that's for sure.
So, let's recap. We're training our kids to view their relationships as opportunities to increase their status with adults ("empowering them," pretty much shoots that phrase in the ass, eh?) by "influencing" (nothing better than teaching young girls to be manipulative!) their friends to buy things they're being encouraged to recommend, and gathering their friends' opinions to channel back to corporations in exchange for being used again as a status-enhanced "influencer"; using those relationships to practice becoming more savvy in the beguiling, 21st century version of the 20th century marketer. Wow.
If you can, try to watch this segment (couldn't find a BitTorrent as of last night), if only to hear the frightening way this one little girl says, "I'm special!!"
Something's really fucked up here.
Excuse me, I've gotta go take a shower.
As Doc would say: Bonus link. Here's a group swimming against this tide. Wish them luck.