Join 3,564 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


They use social media as a research tool
June 20, 2014 11:36 AM   Subscribe

A primer for marketing to understanding Generation Z
posted by psoas (50 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is exactly the presentation given to us before our interns started, except it was called "How to Connect with Millennials." And I'm sure it was presented (without mobile devices and with Nintendo) as "How to Connect with Gen X."

The future is scary to those of us who are older. We keep trying to understand just how very different they all are, but everybody keeps winding up pretty much the same, somehow.
posted by xingcat at 11:47 AM on June 20 [14 favorites]


Yes, I remember when I was the scary/ubermensch-ish generation - described in whatever terms best served capitalism at the moment.

I did have an old-person moment last night when explaining to someone in their early twenties why it had mattered that Chumbawamba was briefly on a major label.

Generation Z, though, is clearly for zombies, right?
posted by Frowner at 11:49 AM on June 20 [3 favorites]


"76% of Gen Z wish their hobby would turn into a full-time job (compared to 50% of Millenials)."

So they cite the study for the former statistic and not the latter. So are they asking teenagers and adults whether they wish their hobby would turn into a full-time job? Or do they have results from a study done when the surveyed Millenials were the same age as the Gen Z kids they surveyed in 2014?

Because I guess if you asked me ten years ago when I was a teenager if I wanted my hobby to turn into a full-time job I'd probably say yes because I was nineteen years old and had all the wisdom of an unripened avocado. If you ask me now, I'd say "fuck no" because I'd like my hobbies to stay unsullied by having to hustle to get paid for them.
posted by griphus at 11:51 AM on June 20 [32 favorites]


I've always felt that discrete "generations" are one of the most utterly nonsensical concepts that still get taken seriously. Like, sorry, are we 7-year cicadas or something?
posted by threeants at 11:52 AM on June 20 [34 favorites]


[link updated to a non-target version]
posted by mathowie at 11:52 AM on June 20


TL;DR: Welcome to Generation Y, those-born-between-1977-and-1982-who-used-to-be-considered-gen-x! Now you finally understand why you are addicted to multicultural slactivist twitter campaigns!
posted by muddgirl at 11:53 AM on June 20 [2 favorites]


Also that "use of illicit substances" graph sure does seem like a "lying to people surveying you about illicit substances during a prolonged period of progressively harsher punishment for drug offenses" graph.
posted by griphus at 11:54 AM on June 20 [5 favorites]


76% of Gen Z wish their hobby would turn into a full-time job

meanwhile, 97% of all people surveyed wish their anything would turn into a full-time anything
posted by threeants at 11:55 AM on June 20 [12 favorites]


Where's the guide that will break down the psyches of and teach me how to communicate with marketing analysts?
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:55 AM on June 20 [7 favorites]


Mostly, it's not that the future is scary to us; it's that marketeers and various forces of evil benefit when we think that the youth are both better than us and somehow deficient - they all know how to swipe and are ready to marketize themselves at the drop of a hat, but they are also less literate or more selfish or whatever this year's message is...they're alien and they'll outcompete or eat "us". (Anyone would think that no one lives in families or goes to a church/synagogue/YWCA/etc, so that somehow the way the world works is flat competition between all 19-year-olds and all 45-year-olds.) It's all about convincing different generations that they have some kind of different ontological status and this means war, etc.

It's frustrating, because this sort of faux study makes it rather difficult to consider what actual changes in mass culture are occurring along generational lines.
posted by Frowner at 11:56 AM on June 20 [6 favorites]


I look forward to the report on Generation Yuzz.
posted by bonehead at 11:56 AM on June 20


Also at the rate we're going at, Generation Θ-Prime will think in twelve dimensions and exist in all places at once.
posted by griphus at 11:59 AM on June 20 [19 favorites]


I worked in a dental school and at least once a year someone there gave a presentation on "how this name-of-some-generation learns" which always revolved around

- they learn differently
- they eat breath think technology
- we're old and need to change
- they all multi-task
- etc

I've really never seen any real empirical evidence for any of these claims. Especially that multi-tasking cliche. We've just raised kids by giving them bad learning and study habits as our educational system degrades into mediocrity. It's not a generation thing as it's a historical conjunction of cohorts of students getting a crappier education.
posted by njohnson23 at 12:06 PM on June 20 [7 favorites]


My ~~research~~ indicates Generation Z has acquired a taste of the occult. Please pay me money to tell you more.
posted by codacorolla at 12:11 PM on June 20 [51 favorites]


Also, GenZ enjoys muffins.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:13 PM on June 20


Time again to shit all over "Millenials" and indulge this giant cultural hate-boner. Hey, guess how much Millenials suck? They will still be the garbage generation even compared to people younger than them! Traditionally that group should take up the mantle of cultural scapegoat, but that's just how much Millenials are terrible and to blame for everything. We already like the next generation out just for the fact of not being Millenials.
posted by bleep at 12:15 PM on June 20 [8 favorites]


Studies indicate they breathe air and feel human emotions, but as younger beings, they have smooth supple skin instead of the mole-spotted wrinkled epidermis sported by the rest of us. Many of them still have a full head of hair and have yet to reproduce.

Clearly, they are utterly alien and to be feared. What do they want? How do they think? We can never know.
posted by emjaybee at 12:18 PM on June 20 [21 favorites]


Everybody's Doing It
With a whole catalog of alt archetypes, it’s easier than ever to be insufficient. The top-down pressure system is gone, replaced by a turbulent field of peer friction in which every identity is always vulnerable. The 15-year-old girl who told me “peer pressure no longer exists” also made it very clear in no way did that result in the perfect adolescent paradigm defined by love and respect. “They’re all annoying,” she said. “I hate them for trying so hard to be part of the group. And I hate them for trying so hard to be different and special.”
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:20 PM on June 20 [5 favorites]


Generation Nil
It seems that the media hates kids these days. Except when it is defending them. Time magazine made the biggest anti-millennial splash by calling millennials “lazy, entitled narcissists” on their front cover. Time magazine, whose writers have no a sense of shame, irony, or access to the magazine’s archive, also called Generation X shiftless know-nothings entranced with the shallow-modern and eschewing the deep values of the generation before. Isn’t this old-media millennial-think-piece link-baiting just a way of trolling the olds in order to get them to spend their retirement money on dead-tree based ancient tech? Or do they have a point? Is every generation since Tom Brokaw crawled fully-formed from the womb a bunch of mewling, self-involved twerps?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:22 PM on June 20 [4 favorites]


I just love hearing about how technologically savvy the kids are. As if my contemporaries are still looking things up in the 1965 Funk & Wagnall's Encyclopedia our parents passed down to us. As if we weren't the inventors and early adopters of the internet, smartphones, video games and so on. But no, kids can text and set up their own Minecraft servers and so they're obviously far smarter than us.

Also, those of us older than 20 grew up in such a safe and sheltered world. All we had to worry about was Mutually Assured Destruction and AIDS. It's not like this post-9/11, post-Columbine world of chaos and despair.
posted by Foosnark at 12:28 PM on June 20 [13 favorites]


meanwhile, 97% of all people surveyed wish their anything would turn into a full-time anything

No. I wish my full time job would turn into a part time, or better yet, no time job with the same pay and benefits.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:30 PM on June 20 [5 favorites]


I'm just excited that they actually included Generation X on a slide! I'm so used to these being compare/contrast of Boomers vs. Millenials only.
posted by sfkiddo at 12:33 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


As if my contemporaries are still looking things up in the 1965 Funk & Wagnall's Encyclopedia our parents passed down to us.

Heh. I used to work with a museum curator who, when I started editing her exhibition catalogue, took great pains to inform me that she was using the thesaurus, style guide, and dictionary that she had been using for nearly 50 years, and under no circumstances would I be allowed to edit her text using anything published after the Kennedy administration.

She also told me later that the ghost of William Randolph Hearst spoke to her to give his permission to ignore any of my other edits that she disagreed with, so that should tell you how fun that particular project was.
posted by scody at 12:45 PM on June 20 [20 favorites]


I tried to show this to my young cousin but unfortunately I couldn't live-stream it as a puzzle game across 5 screens so she was baffled. I'd love to be able to communicate with her someday.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:52 PM on June 20 [15 favorites]


She also told me later that the ghost of William Randolph Hearst spoke to her to give his permission to ignore any of my other edits that she disagreed with...

I'll take that sort of behavior in the workplace over Generation Z's unseemly obsession with the so-called "present" and "future" any day. I have it on good authority they don't even believe in ghosts, much less abide by their wisdom and experience.
posted by griphus at 12:54 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


This has less to do with how different GenZ is, and more to do with just how multi-leveled, granular, deep, ridiculous, self aggrandizing, etc. marketing has become.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:55 PM on June 20 [7 favorites]


I gotta say, as a 24-year-old, dyed-in-the-wool Millenial, terrifying old people is basically my favorite thing in the world.
posted by Itaxpica at 12:58 PM on June 20 [12 favorites]


As if my contemporaries are still looking things up in the 1965 Funk & Wagnall's Encyclopedia our parents passed down to us.

I'm as skeptical as the next person about Branding the Generations and all that, but the takeaway I have from all this is that while we've transitioned from the Funk & Wagnallses of the world to the Curated Online Sources of our choice, it's useful to keep in mind that today's youth has much less exposure to some print references and other (sometimes-)passé items that we can flip back to with little adjustment.

Also, hey guys, remember that brief moment when "digital encyclopedia" meant MS Encarta? Remember how Encarta was once actually a thing?
posted by psoas at 12:59 PM on June 20 [3 favorites]


"Thinking in 4D" versus "thinking in 3D" is such classic marketing bullshit. Like, what does that even mean?
posted by escape from the potato planet at 1:00 PM on June 20 [11 favorites]


it's useful to keep in mind that today's youth has much less exposure to some print references and other (sometimes-)passé items that we can flip back to with little adjustment.

I don't buy it. Aren't there tutorials on YouTube about how to operate an old-school encyclopedia, should it ever be useful for some reason to learn about the six planets of the solar system and the 47 chemical elements?
posted by Foosnark at 1:02 PM on June 20 [4 favorites]


Which generation has a predilection for simplifying the traits and experiences of heterogeneous groups into generalizations and factoidal statistics?
posted by Bromius at 1:08 PM on June 20 [3 favorites]


"Thinking in 4D" versus "thinking in 3D" is such classic marketing bullshit. Like, what does that even mean?

It means that 360 degree photography and film is their normal and ultra slow motion and hi-speed video is their standard, duh.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 1:11 PM on June 20


As if we weren't the inventors and early adopters of the internet, smartphones, video games and so on.

Then why are so many people from that generation so bad at technology?

My parents had a decade of computer experience on me when I first got into it, and they are still clueless now. One of my mom's first jobs was collating punch cards, and she doesn't know how to adjust her screen resolution and still pays for AOL.

I feel like the boomers collectively decided that computers are too hard and gave up.
posted by chillyvanilly at 1:15 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


"Thinking in 4D" versus "thinking in 3D" is such classic marketing bullshit. Like, what does that even mean?

If you kill one of them they wake up at the beginning of that day to live it again, like in Edge of Tomorrow.
posted by Sangermaine at 1:15 PM on June 20


I don't buy it. Aren't there tutorials on YouTube about how to operate an old-school encyclopedia, should it ever be useful for some reason to learn about the six planets of the solar system and the 47 chemical elements?
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:20 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


I feel like the boomers collectively decided that computers are too hard and gave up.

My boomer parents are very tech-savvy, but then they've always been that way. They're not using Snapchat or whatsapp but then again neither am I.
posted by muddgirl at 1:20 PM on June 20


the only rule for dealing with Gen Z is don;t blink.

Blink and you're dead.

(we're going to have such fond memories of this aboard the quarantine ships)
posted by The Whelk at 1:35 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


Then why are so many people from that generation so bad at technology?

Maybe it's the technology that's crap at being discoverable to anyone not immersed in it? Or maybe it's the insufferable geeks who expect everyone to love the tech the same way they do? I tend to be lumped into the Boomers, and I know my way around tech fairly well, but I'm certainly not enchanted by it the way younger people are. There are no rose-colored glasses for me, when it comes to tech. I've directly experienced how it changed my life and work, and not always for the better. I come from a time when "Our computers are slow today" or "Our system won't let us do that" weren't ubiquitous excuses for shit service.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:48 PM on June 20 [3 favorites]


74 in 89 of GenZ respondents would incorporate a living parasitic machine into their flesh which grants them ultimate power if it were offered to them (by a friend).
The howling void is their primary concern. Previous generations have reported the economy (GenY) and career satisfaction (GenX), however GenZers are across the board more concerned with the great nothingness which has set its sights on eradicating sentient thought and returning our dimension to a super-dense black paste.


First reaction: huh, guess I'm genZ, despite my birth date.

Second reaction: wait, aren't this statements true for like everyone? I'm not sure I'd even want to know anyone who isn't a) terrified of the howling void and b) willing to seize ultimate parasitic-machine power.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:56 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


"Thinking in 4D" versus "thinking in 3D" is such classic marketing bullshit. Like, what does that even mean?

They think about the future and the past; unlike the Millennials, who can only think about the present.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 2:46 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


She also told me later that the ghost of William Randolph Hearst spoke to her ... so that should tell you how fun that particular project was.

That actually sounds more interesting than about 99% of the jobs I've ever had.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:13 PM on June 20


I've always found the hilowbrow generations breakdown to be much more interesting (and convincing)
posted by emmet at 4:26 PM on June 20 [5 favorites]


I'm Gen-X. I get the kids, but worry they just don't understand me...

Maybe I should stop speaking entirely in Bill Murray movie quotes? Nah, that requires, like, effort and stuff.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:00 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Then why are so many people from that generation so bad at technology?

I find the majority of my students (18-24 for the most part) are not good with technology outside of maybe a smartphone, and are very, very internet-unsavvy. Like I mean to a frightening degree. They can all text and use Facebook, but nothing else is guaranteed. I've learned never to make any assumptions about my students' facility with technology or the internet.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:01 PM on June 20 [9 favorites]


I once, in a very heavily medicated argument late at night, successfully argues that for people born from around 1982-1993 there was basically a Kwisatz Haderach program set up to create ideal citizens and it worked way too well right just as all the opportunity started to collapse for them in thier mid 20s leading to a very pissed off, begrudgingly optomistic, and politically progressive color.
posted by The Whelk at 6:07 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


My dad used to onionbelt about Funk and Wagnalls. I was of the Grolier Multimedia generation.

CD-Rom multimedia, man! Does anybody else remember the Octopus of Love?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:20 PM on June 20


I'm still hoping it's just a deadpan parody. I expect to be disappointed, though.
posted by immlass at 10:18 PM on June 20


So Gen z is anyone born between 1995 and now?
Well I have direct experience and I have assembled a guide from my experiences.

they like drinking milk or sleeping.

they don't understand the internet or computers or even hands and feet.

They prefer to lie down or be carried everywhere and unlike millenials they won't walk anywhere.

They are on average much shorter than Millenials.

They are a demanding impatient generation communicating mostly by yelling or crying.

The important fact for marketers is that their clothes don't have any pockets for carrying money, unlike Millenials (who spend or save money) they are more likely to try and eat money.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 1:47 AM on June 21 [6 favorites]


> I find the majority of my students (18-24 for the most part) are not good with technology outside of maybe a smartphone, and are very, very internet-unsavvy.

No, see, remember how everyone born after the invention of the automobile is a Vehicular Native, and we all grow up to be universally excellent drivers who disrupt the marketplace with our innate mechanical abilities and habit of visualizing the world in terms of gear differentials?

It's the same with computers. Duh.
posted by postcommunism at 9:06 AM on June 21 [7 favorites]


Time again to shit all over "Millenials" and indulge this giant cultural hate-boner. Hey, guess how much Millenials suck? They will still be the garbage generation even compared to people younger than them! Traditionally that group should take up the mantle of cultural scapegoat, but that's just how much Millenials are terrible and to blame for everything. We already like the next generation out just for the fact of not being Millenials.

Reading this kinda reminded me of the original media depictions of millenials. We were gonna change the world with our idealistic, go-getting volunteering; but unlike those crazy hippies we were actually gonna do stuff. Or something. Then a recession, and adulthood, happened, and now we're lazy, entitled narcissists. Kinda like how Gen-X were a bunch of slackers in their 20s.

Which makes me wonder: these kinds of (usually BS) generational think pieces usually start to appear when a given age cohort reaches its mid-late teens. So, they're all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and about to go off to college and fulfill their dreams! They're optimistic and trying really, really hard! Then they graduate and they are in their 20s and it turns out being an adult is hard, and establishing a career is hard, and compared to the everything-is-set-out-for-you world of school in which theses media narratives are formed, we all look shiftless and lazy. So, the narrative changes, and the twentysomethings are all a bunch of brats who can't get it together.

Anyway, that's the long way of saying: this is what they're saying now. Give it ten years.
posted by breakin' the law at 12:02 PM on June 21 [2 favorites]


« Older Big Data Pictures is a tumblr for visualizations o...  |  In a suprise move, a "bombshel... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments