Gen Z and Social Media Influence:
Forbes’ article on Gen Z (born between 1997-2012) reminds us that they have been “living in a world of smartphones and free Wi-Fi for as long as they can remember.” Most Millenniums were born with the internet, but the majority of their younger cohort inherited a mobile social media environment.
Michael Dimok, of the Pew Institute for Research, reminds us: “The iPhone launched in 2007 when the oldest Gen Zers were 10. By the time they were in their teens, the primary means by which young Americans connected with the web was through mobile devices, WiFi, and high-bandwidth cellular service.” This constant connectivity and technological fluidity are important factors for the behavior of this generation.
Born into a social media ecosystem, the attention that these young people receive through their apps is approaching the importance of oxygen to them. Because of their entrepreneurial desires, they are social media savvy and can make great influencers.
The influence of social media goes in many different directions and has effectively changed the playing field of contemporary culture. With direct channels to distribute content, there are some incredibly wealthy and influential teenagers and young adults. How will this new world of media change the expectations and desires of this interconnected and global group?
One surprising recent development is the elevation of Esports at the collegiate level. This summer, Kaylee Hultgren wrote for Event Marketer that “140 universities offering formalized esports programs today. The collegiate esports industry is gaining some serious traction.” This game-changing moment in university culture is an important opportunity for marketers.
Generations are not set in stone. There are certainly people who do not fit the descriptions we are starting to sketch out about Generation Z. Still, to maximize our communication efforts, it will help to study the differences in each generation.