Gen Z are creating the most global youth culture in history. “They download the same apps, use the same technological devices, listen to the same music, share the same memes, watch the same Netflix and YouTube videos and buy the same brands regardless of their geographic location.” HELLO GEN Z: ENGAGING THE GENERATION OF POST-MILLENNIALS #clairemaddenofficial
Remember the photo based trend that went viral in 2011 – planking? It was a trend where the ‘planker’ would run up to an inanimate object like a park bench, a shopping trolley, or practically anything in an urban setting; and lie down horizontally, with arms and legs straight to achieve the pose. Photos of planking in adventurous and risky places such across cop cars and parking meters went viral on Facebook and Twitter. How about the dance video by PSY that swept the globe – Gangnam style? If you went to a wedding in 2012, you could be sure that this song by Korean pop star PSY would come on and everyone would run to the dance floor to join in the dance move.
A year or so ago the dance move “Dabbing” went global, but as soon as we got a hold of it, it was no longer cool. Now it’s all about ‘The Floss’ or ‘Flossing’ where a person swings their arms quickly in front and behind their body each side with clenched fists. Kids around the world pick up these dance moves – spread by online videos, and picked up and integrated into online games like Fortnite.
Every year, the youth culture is becoming more connected than ever. Gen Z’s are creating the most global youth culture in history. Globally, our Gen Z youth share a common understanding of ‘What’s hot, what’s not. What is funny and what is so yesterday.’
So, what does the global youth culture look like for todays Gen Z’s?
It is all centred around connection. Gen Z’s with Wi-Fi, multiple social media platforms, free communicating apps like Messenger, Facetime and YouTube, are connecting globally in ways that have never before been more accessible.
SOCIALLY Gen Z’s friendships are not limited to the friends at your school or peers in your day-to-day lives anymore. The youth of this generation have friendships overseas and nationally, as with social media keeping in touch with distant friends is as simple as keeping in touch with friends down the road. The key point of difference in Gen Z is that friendships have a new starting platform. Social media communities on Instagram have allowed for new online friendships to develop within these common interests, or people who ‘follow’ your account. These friendships are real and legitimate, although they may or may never be able to go to coffee in real life. Gone are the days of the pen-pal where you would wait weeks, even months, to get a reply in the post from a peer in another country. Gen Z get to know friends of friends via Snapchat and communicate with one another instantly and constantly. To get to know them more, they can video call them on Skype or Facetime.
TRENDS Fashion is becoming global, blurring the lines of culture and accessibility. Brands that were once available only in a specific country are now shipping internationally. It is not just for the mega stores either. You don’t have to have a physical shop in every country, you don’t even have to have a retail store at all! Online shopping has created a global marketplace, where the barriers to enter the marketplace are so low that even the youth of today are starting their own businesses and revenue streams with ease.
When the world is your oyster… it can also become an added pressure to be relevant and feel like you’re keeping up with it all. This is what has created ‘FOMO’ – the Fear of Missing Out.
When the speed of life has sped up to new levels, what is popular one week will no longer be relevant the next week. From popular slang words, to funny memes on the internet, to videos and YouTubes. The basic need to fit in amongst your peers has become so multifaceted, and can feel to many young people overwhelming and all consuming.
How do businesses keep their finger on the pulse of how to engage with this global generation of consumers and staff? Often the best way is to have Gen Zs on your team. They understand the ins and outs, the unwritten rules of communicating and engaging in the online spaces and can help businesses communicate in relevant ways.
Global Youth Culture, Based on extracts from the book Hello Gen Z: Engaging the Generation of Post-Millennials.
Hello Gen Z
Hello Gen Z is the new book from Claire Madden, Australia’s foremost social researcher on generational engagement.
With a foreword by Bernard Salt, this book will help organisations, educators, leaders and parents understand what has shaped this extraordinary group of young people. Order a copy of the book here. Bulk order discounts are also available.
About Claire Madden
Claire Madden (www.clairemadden.com) is a social researcher, keynote speaker and media commentator interpreting social trends and implications of generational change. As a keynote speaker, Claire is highly regarded for her dynamic and engaging presentations where she translates robust, research-based content into strategic applications for educators, managers and business leaders.
To invite Claire to speak at your next event, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +61 2 8091 4321