Nov 3, 2015

Instagram it. Hashtag it. Save the world.

What happens when highly shareable youth content creators take money from highly profitable companies and turn it into a choose-your-own-agenda getaway for Twitter’s most fabulous?

Helen Razer — Writer and broadcaster

Helen Razer

Writer and broadcaster

Young people. Can’t live with ‘em, can’t kill ‘em, can’t get a handle on their conferences. Or can’t get a handle, to use the language the market now prefers, on their “unconference”.

This past weekend, 200 of what were determined to be the nation’s finest young minds un-convened in Canberra for Junkee‘s Youth Junket, what a youth intruder described to me as “naive”, “generously catered” and “not entirely shit”.

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4 thoughts on “Instagram it. Hashtag it. Save the world.

  1. Dogs breakfast


    Your cynicism, and grumpy old person curmudgeonliness, is matched or exceeded only by mine.

    Rage, rage, HR, against the dying of the light.

    I hope we’re both wrong, and these naifs are the hope of the world. God knows, I’ve been wrong about enough things in the past, perhaps there is hope.

    Certainly without these young, and middle aged things calling themselves youth, there wouldn’t be much hope.

  2. Eric Vigo

    Maybe today’s youth have realised something non-consciously that most of us realised 20 years ago.

    That the ability to ignore people’s wishes, or a certain segment of them, is quite easy now. Example, Howard, Iraq War, large protests, middle-finger. It’s quoted a lot I know, but really, it was as if it was a middle finger to our ability to feel we can instigate anything that involves the real core of government now: make sure certain people/grouping keep earning the money they do, and in return, they keep the political parties in power.

    Now, of course, along came Gillard and was able to put some community-wished policy into action. But those days seem gone now.

    Could also be the ease of getting what you want through the internet instantly, and the mind turns towards pleasures, then conflates them with needs.

    Also, those who go to these conferences would be – well, a guess – deep down right-of-centre economics/left-of-centre social. I saw Turnbull described as this, in a way that, he will change what doesnt effect major corporates wish-lists, but make everyone feel that society is a bit nicer. This is similar to that.

    Because the internet is there for us, we want ‘change’ to do the same. Since real change is hard work, not cool (I mean, anyone angry at a party of hip 20 year old (who maybe offspring of old labour activists in the 1960s!) is met with a lot of ‘meh’, irony and ‘like whoah dude, chill’, therefore not making loads of acquaintences and maybe not another invitation to a rooftop party in Surry Hills – out of the clique for you!). Maybe its an Australian thing, but this whole dreamy ‘innovation’ ‘disrupt’ is very comfortable.

    So, yeah, this unconference is very much lockstep in time with how most slightly-moneyed entrepreneur/start-up, craft-beer, sharing economy. In the end, its about networking and making sure you can upsell your app or software to a higher bidder, rake in a few million and make friends in Shanghai, London, Palo Alto and Berlin, you know, like Anthony Robbins’s of the world say – want to be successful, rub up to successful people, and you can be that too. And not your next door neighbour, or a refugee, or a bogan, or someone who thinks their life is fd.
    You’d be connecting with sadness and wretchedness and that is NOT cool and useful for your brand.

    Also a contradiction: to get an app ready for market, you need to have a low-wage workforce, so real change will not come if you instead want to support the unions.

    In a way, they are the nice Liberals that aren’t yet, stroking you softly and doing some things of what the IPA want anyway. And they’ll be running the world in the next 15 years. Get used to it.

  3. Helen Razer

    Yes @Eric Vigo. Optimism is mandatory. And not because it will change the world (it doesn’t and it can’t) but because it reflects a brand to the market.
    And @Dogs breakfast, I have always been grumpy. But my unpleasant disposition aside, surely all this good feeling, shared by young and old in the present, is destructive? A smile doesn’t cure illness. It feels good, certainly. It gives us a moment of respite and I think this is what is meant by “self-care” that today’s activists speak about. But at some point, the ugly fact of urgent care needs to be confronted. We don’t need a smile. We need surgery.

  4. Norman Hanscombe

    What a shame, Helen, that at Crikey what should be mandatory, i.e. classes in basic logic and scientific methods, apparently aren’t even an optional extra?

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