I think the problem is that we’ve democratized access to the kinds of things that young people are interested in, but political or scientific/technological change, while somewhat easier, appears so much harder in comparison. Young people are interested in sex and art and fashion and creativity and self-expression, which are all amazing and satisfying things. The other things that build and sustain modernity - science and political institutions - are not as immediately accessible or interesting and thus have become neglected. Why do people fight for political change? Because they or others are being denied the opportunities they feel they need to live a satisfying and fulfilling life. Why do people work for technological and scientific advancement? Because they are curious and want to better understand the world.
Unfortunately, consumer society emphasizes three traits that impede these positive impulses: the gratification of selfish desires, the delegitimization of expert opinion, and the delegitimization of popular protest. Corporations encourage selfish desires because they are trying to sell you the things they want you to think will satisfy them. Corporate news delegitimizes expert opinion and popular protest because it wants to sow confusion and blunt the effects of collective action. Experts are threatening to viewers because if experts are right about things then that means that viewers may be wrong. No one will watch shows where they are told they are wrong. Popular protest is similarly problematic.
The internet has given us an incredible richness of opportunity for social and cultural self-fulfillment. It also has the potential to lead to richer political and scientific development. However, I wonder if we will ever move beyond the novelty of always knowing what our friends are doing/watching/thinking to realize that potential.
 The area of technological advancement that is currently receiving the most attention lies at the intersection of these impulses. Smartphones and social media are the areas of technology that most cater to selfish and social desires.
 This is probably why the internet feels so transformative but has not resulted in a subsequent economic explosion - most of the gains have taken place in the realm of self-fulfillment - there is very little monetary value to being able to have access to the support of an online cancer survivor community or having access obscure historical discussions or getting tips on different woodworking techniques. These benefits can mean the world to the individuals receiving them, but no money has changed hands.
 Protestors for liberal causes are painted as idealistic losers or unemployed hippies, whereas conservative protesters are real, hard-working Americans who can no longer stomach the erosion of their freedoms.