Gen Z 101: the Who, What, How, and Why

Welcome to Gen Z 101! I am your not-a-total-expert-but-knows-a-few-things professor, Varshini. I am here to explain the world of Gen Z in a simple understandable way. Now, some of you are completely clueless and are curious about the weird texts that your really “hip” friend sends such as “irl” or “istg”. Others of you are already part of the gang and want to be more aware of your people. Regardless, I got you covered. Esketit, shall we? 

The Who 

Who exactly are we talking about? Well, according to Pew Research Center, Gen Z or Generation Z, are the people who are born around 1995 to 2012. They come after Millennials and come before Generation Alpha. CareerPlanners.com calls Gen Z “iGen’ers” because Gen Z is the first generation to be raised in the age of technology. They are by far the most diverse generation yet. Additionally, EAB states that 59% of Gen Zers were in college in 2017, compared to 52% of Millennials in 2002(“9 fast facts about your Generation Z students”, 2019).This means that more of these young adults are likely to pursue a higher education and are going to be the best-educated generation yet. 

The What

What do Gen Z’ers care about? According to a Pew Research Center study, over 62% of people from Gen Z say that racial and ethnic diversity is good for society (Parker, Graf, Igielnik, 2019). They are more likely to have a more positive view on things such as interracial relationships than their older counterparts. In the case of gender, over 59% of the youngest generation prefer to have an “other” option in addition to “male” or “female” on gender marking forms. Along with these issues, the study found that Gen Z’ers showed a higher percentage of interest in issues ranging from the government’s performance to climate change compared to millennials.  

Overall, Gen Z’ers are more likely to be open-minded people than previous generations. They are more globally oriented, which means that they not only care about issues around them, but also the issues that affect the world. 

The How 

It’s probably clear to you by now that social media and Gen Z go hand-in-hand. It is one of the primary ways to talk to people and stay informed about the world. An article from Vogue Business states that for this generation, “social media is an escape from boredom” (Maguire, 2020). Since these people spend so much of their time on social media, other aspects of their life are also affected, such as how they interact with others. 

This generation’s way of communicating depends on two main things: speed and efficiency. An article from the Drum states that “the quicker they can consume content, the better” (Kolatsis, 2019). Gen Z doesn’t want to waste time and effort in learning about the world, so they prefer bite-sized, easy-to-read media. Some sites where they get their information from include short Tiktoks, Twitter threads, Snapchat stories, and Instagram posts. Gen Z’s attention spans are short as well, which is why they prefer to use visual media such as emoticons, GIFs, and memes to effectively make their point (Hughes, 2018). This also explains their heavy use of short form phrases such as “ty” for thank you or “imo” for in my opinion. 

The Why 

Some of you might be thinking, why should we even care about Gen Z anyway? Turns out, they are more important than you think. Because of Gen Z’s speedy lifestyle, businesses and other organizations need to update their marketing and advertising strategies to cater to Gen Z’s needs. They must increasingly work towards appealing to their clients and have to be up-to-date with the latest trends. Due to their technical knowledge, the best way to target the Gen Z population is through digital media. 

Capturing Gen Z’s attention is hard. One of the industries affected by this trait is the entertainment industry. While Gen Z welcomes new ideas, relatability is an unspoken but important trait to survive in such a difficult career field. Gen Z is “hungry for relatable influencers”; it wants to see the real and raw lives of people, because it knows that people are not perfect(Kolatsis,2019). Most of these youngsters have grown up listening to stories of hardship from previous generations, and desire the same amount of transparency in their role models and influencers. 

The ongoing pandemic has had a tremendous impact on Gen Z. In fact, an article from Pew Research Center states that “this new generation was in line to inherit a strong economy with record-low unemployment” (Parker & Igielnik, 2020). However, all that has changed since unemployment skyrocketed again. Young workers in high-risk industries which involve direct contact are more likely to lose their jobs because of their own safety. The outbreak has left young professionals to weigh their health and financial stability and has therefore blurred the future for most of them.

In conclusion, the Gen Z world is pretty complex. It is made up of individuals who increasingly develop a global perspective and care about the issues, big or small, that affect our society as a whole. They are free thinkers; they value their interests and truly go after what they want. While they may be influenced by technology, much of their beliefs concern life in its truest form. Some people might take a long time to understand this tech-savvy bunch, but trust me, once you get to know them, they are an amazing group of young ladies and lads. Why am I praising them so much, you might ask? I should, because guess what, I am one of them. And I am proud to be one of them. 

 

Works Cited:  

Eab. (2020, March 31). 9 fast facts about your Generation Z students. Retrieved October 05, 2020, from https://eab.com/insights/daily-briefing/strategy/9-fast-facts-about-your...

 

Hughes, J. (n.d.). Communicating with Generation Z: Everything You Need to Know. Retrieved October 05, 2020, from https://www.keystoneacademic.com/news/communicating-with-generation-z-ev...

 

Kim Parker, N. (2020, May 30). Generation Z Looks a Lot Like Millennials on Key Social and Political Issues. Retrieved October 05, 2020, from https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2019/01/17/generation-z-looks-a-lot-like...

 

Kolatsis, A. (2019, December 12). The future of social media is changing and it's all thanks to Generation Z. Retrieved October 05, 2020, from https://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2019/12/12/the-future-social-media-changing-and-it-s-all-thanks-generation-z

 

Maguire, L., & Guilbault, L. (2020, January 08). Gen Z is reinventing social media marketing. Retrieved October 05, 2020, from https://www.voguebusiness.com/consumers/gen-z-reinventing-social-media-m...

 

May 14, 2., & Igielnik, K. (2020, May 15). What We Know About Gen Z So Far. Retrieved October 05, 2020, from https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/essay/on-the-cusp-of-adulthood-and-facin...