There has been much discussion about Gen Z as a demographic, and its widespread familiarity and use of technology—specifically the internet.
Like others, we’ve written at length about the distinguishing characteristics that Gen Z exhibits. We’ve pointed out that Gen Z has essentially been raised on the tech that older generations, Millennials included, have had to adopt, watching it as fringe innovation rather than “normal” behavior.
For Gen Z, technology is inherent. And, it is because of them that we are still learning to take advantage of new innovation and improvements in tech. Which leads us to the question of where content is going.
Consider that Generation Z has watched time and time again as truths that have been taken for granted across the modern spectrum—including automotive, food, computing, entertainment, and social identity—proved to be false. They are uniquely equipped to handle misinformation and distinguish fact from fiction.
So, when a group of survivors from Parkland rose up to speak about their experiences, there were many who were shocked to find out that these kids—Gen Zers—were not only organized, but able and willing to fight back against misinformation. Some of the pundits, such as former U.S. Representative Jack Kingston, questioned their ability to organize, recently saying in a CNN interview “Do we really think—and I say this sincerely—do we really think that 17-year-olds on their own are going to plan a nationwide rally?” Former Rep. Kingston may have been insinuating that these young people were being manipulated by some kind of shadow organization.
From our view, where we see Gen Z as well able to find the microphone that has been next to them since birth, there appears to be a level of disconnect between the generations. Memes have sprung up making fun of the generation that eats Tide Pods and tries to impact political policy. However, when you consider what Generation Z has already shown themselves capable of, it might be time to take a closer look at their political power. If they can influence national riots over a discontinued McDonald’s condiment because of a cartoon, imagine what they can do when their lives are at stake.
It’s dismissive, at best, to think that younger generations, when raised with the tools of the internet, would not know how to use them. Brands, companies, and organizations will have to take this into account as Generation Z continues to grow and mature. Yes, they may have some wisdom lessons yet to learn, but they are not waiting for that to use the tools they have at hand to express opinion and attempt to influence change. They’ve grown up seeing how quickly change occurs, and how unreliable consistency is. It would be wise, on the part of the rest of the generations, to not underestimate the power of global communication, particularly in the hands of a passionate generation who is ready to find its voice.