Engaging Young People Online: Hype, Empowerment and Control

Claudio Pires Franco
Dubit Limited, MA Media Culture and Communication (ongoing), Institute of Education, University of London

INTRODUCTION

Utopia?

Imagine a time or a place where businesses engage in open dialogue with consumers. Imagine businesses that are so transparent about their practices that they openly reveal them and invite consumers to debate them. Imagine businesses that take the opinions – and mostly, the concerns – of consumers into account and share decision-making powers with them, leading to real changes in the ways they operate rather than superficial changes in the ways brands are marketed. We would then be surrounded by businesses that were essentially 'ethical' – in the relations with their employees, in their environmental footprints, in the way they marketed their products. There would still be profit – and loss. But this would not be the primary or sole concern of any firm. This is the utopia that inspires this paper.