Gen Zs are the latest generation coming of age. They were born between 1997 and 2012. Besides birth years, generations are defined by the most impactful moments of their early lives. What has impacted Gen Zs? Gen Zs have already experienced a recession, wars, terrorism, school shootings, mass shootings, natural disasters, and environmental disasters. All of these experiences have left a significant mark on them. What really makes them stand out? They are the first generation to do active shooter drills at school.
They are more realistic than previous generations. Historically, parents and society used to shield their children from the harsher realities of life, but Zs are the exception. They grew up with computers and the internet and so they’ve had access to more information at a younger age than previous generations. As a result, they see the world as it really is and are prepared to act accordingly.
They’re hardworking, gritty, financially responsible, and believe everything is earned, nothing is given. Zs watched Millennials fail while pursuing their passions – so many are more grounded and realistic with what they go after.
Growing up in a connected world with unlimited access to information they became as concerned about jobs and terrorism as much as the typical young adult problems like attractiveness and friends. They feel like they have a responsibility to fix what older generations have broken, after all, it’s the adults who are responsible for the state of the world today. They aspire to jobs and lives where they can make a difference in the world.
Their heroes are activists, from the teen survivors of the Parkland shooting, to the organizers of movements such as the Women’s March and Black Lives Matter, to trans activists, and others.
Gen Z’s easy access to technology has also shaped their relationship with content. They are becoming the ultimate creators of content. They value creating content over simply curating it. Many Zs were already shooting and sharing their own videos, photos, music and art to their networks and the world in elementary school. And today, they’re in a constant state of creating, making, engaging and sharing.
They don’t differentiate between mediums as much as past generations. That’s because they’re used to their own content sitting next to the many YouTube videos, Instagram posts, memes, and Twitch streams Zs watch on a daily basis.
Because they are experts in content creation themselves, they’re a sophisticated audience for content. They are more clever, playful, and mindful about authenticity. They’re camera-aware and know what goes into getting a shot. Zs are equally aware of storytelling techniques, gravitating towards stories that play on existing tropes in new ways. Gen Zs are fluid in their identities, choosing to move between traditional labels and categories as they see fit. Whether it’s in gender, sexuality, politics, or their values, they don’t believe they need to be restricted to any one thing. This makes them more comfortable with complexity and gray areas than generations past. Gender isn’t as important to identity as it used to be and identity to them is up for interpretation and experimentation. They’re highly inclusive and expect radical inclusion – that embraces different skin colors, gender, socio-economic classes, body sizes, and everything in between.