We are now comfortable with the concept of Millennials, naturally computer-savvy early adopters, who drove the social revolution before confidently taking their places in the adult world, driving conversation with bright new ideas.
However, the new kids on the block; Generation Z, often referred to as “Millennials on Steroids”, are ready to take this a step further.
Millennials are the last generation to know the sound of a cassette tape clattering into a Sony Walkman, and that makes them positively old. Particularly when compared to the ultra-techie Gen Z.
Not to be across today’s current events, latest politics or tomorrows protests, is now a crime. Gen Z is the first generation to know the power in their voice and not only want to talk the talk but walk the walk too.
Millennials were the first to truly challenge stereotypes by speaking out, resulting in the “snowflake” label. But with those times behind us, Gen Z view the world as a blank canvas, emboldened by this, they are ready to make their mark.
Some of these are still making a comeback with Gen Z. The newest of which is the return of podcasts featured on iTunes or Spotify, and published by their favourite online influencers.
However, we can never forget the influence the millennial hipster-age gave us. Although the time of wearing glasses just for fashion and owning record players has faded, hipsters opened the door to the use of older, less popular mediums.
Although not a visual method of gaining knowledge, podcasts allow Gen Z’s to be up-to-date on the world’s events, while simultaneously scrolling through the rest of their social media.
One of the more surprising additions to the social network scene is the rebirth of apps that were once popular with Millennials, rebranded for Gen Zs, like Musicaly.ly reviving as TikTok earlier this year.
Sadly Millennials waved goodbye to the video making app Vine in January 2017, but founder Dom Hofmann is currently working on a new Vine; V2. The 6-second videos fit perfectly with Gen Z’s need for speed and V2 is set to be a sure-fire hit.
Although the world of social media is a fast-paced, ever-changing scene, there is some wriggle room for the dinosaurs to simply adapt to Gen Z’s needs. Essentially there’s still a time and a place for the “older” apps, if given a new lease of life – it’s not social media if no one is using it.
Like Millennials, Gen Z is completely immersed in social media. But what differentiates Gen Z’s is their utilisation of social media to build themselves a brand.
Having grown up in a world filled with advertising, Gen Z understands the inner workings of how to create an online persona and sell it, because they’re surrounded by them.
Banner ads are outdated and “Online influencers”, like Bethany Mota or David Dobrik, are the latest and greatest way to get your product across. With Gen Z, now representing 28% of the world population, it is important to know how to reach them.
They trust and invest in the brands that work with their favourite YouTuber or Instagram model, the connection must be personal and authentic.
It is indeed true that the internet killed television, YouTube is the most visited site by Gen Z, they are not only turning to YouTube for entertainment but their entire “How-To” guide when doing anything.
Because Gen Z now has an attention span all of 8 seconds, they are the most visual learners we’ve ever had and will turn to a 30 second YouTube clip to teach them everything.
From tutorials on downloading ad blockers, to how to change a lightbulb; because who has time to read anymore?
Hand in hand with Gen Z’s need for visuals, surprisingly, face to face contact is a lot more popular. Of course, I don’t mean going and meeting real people in the outside world, but interacting via video calls to talk to their friends.
Replacing Skype and Apple’s FaceTime is the latest app, House Party; the “kid-friendly” social network app that allows large groups of friends to video chat, saving all that time texting someone.
All in all, Gen Z are driving change in today’s social media, but not every change is something new? Wanting trusted brands selling through influencers you “know” and trust. More face to face contact. Who knows? Maybe one day we’ll go back to engaging with people in person… shudder!
Written by Prism Team guest contributor – Katie Thomas