Allow me to introduce to you the new generation: Gen Z.
This is generation that was born with an ipad in its hands. They have never known a world without the internet, cellphones or selfies, and are the most diverse and multi-cultural generation thus far. They are our children, our younger siblings, aged between 3 and 19 years old. If we (Gen Y and X) were born before the web, Gen Z was born on the web. Yes, we are all online today, this very second we are staring at our screens. But we are digital immigrants. We have immigrated to the digital world, while Gen Z is a true native.
The gap between our generations is becoming increasingly wider as Gen Z continues to grow up in this technological world.
But what impact will this have on the digital world?
Firstly, how marketers and brands will reach this new demographic will change. While the main challenge with millenials was how to connect with consumers who do not respond to aggressive advertising and flash banner bombarding, Gen Z presents a whole new playing field. With all the information in the world just a few Google clicks away, they have been exposed to everything from terrorism wars, the Ebola outbreak in Africa, and natural disasters. They are more likely to respond to branding and messaging that reflects reality rather than be lured into believing in the perfect, carefree dream life.
Secondly, the online world will change and communities will grow organically into a variety of online tribes. I recently watched a very interesting video about the Gen Z effect, during which Christian Ward speaks about how Gen Z kids connect with other Gen Z kids online. He mentions Niche.com, a website that features all of the most popular viners, instagrammers, youtubers, you name it. While we may not necessarily recognize all the names on the list, Gen Z kids will see them as idols.
One of the most influential users online today is a kid called Evan. Evan is an 8 year old kid who has his own youtube channel doing toy reviews. He currently makes 1.3 million dollars a year, and Gen Z community sees him as one of these superstars.
Another highly popular online user is Nash, an american teenager with 26 million followers. What does he do? He also has a video channel where he uploads snippets of his life online. Snippets such as going to the grocery store, or sitting on a couch chatting to friends.
Ward states that there is a new paradigm emerging, in which is Gen Z kids watch other Gen Z kids, who are both celebrities and peers at the same time. They are connecting with reality above perfection, and in curating this type of content they are effectively reshaping the online world in their own image. Literally.
Gen Z is the most digital generation so far. As they live their lives online, Gen Z communities are creating a dynamic ecosystem that is growing faster and faster. This world that previous generations have created for them, that we have created for them with Google, social media, iPads, is now theirs to explore.
I’m incredibly excited to see what these digital natives will do with the digital world.