Generation Z And Digital
The analysis of habits and attitudes of Generation Z is a subject we strongly believe will become increasingly ever-present in the media space reserved for social tendencies, business, and marketing – soon completely inseparable from these segments. Honoring the needs of a project we hope will soon earn the ‘big’ label, we put together a wide-ranging focus group and created a blend of the survey and focus group methods in order to gain from our interviewees precise, relevant input on the online habits of the Generation Z folk. The target group was those born in this millennium, ages 14 to 19.
A portion of the findings from the focus group organized by Retro Digital Agency – one that we believe would be interesting to a wider population – is published below.
Facebook is obsolete for Generation Z
Reviewing the answers to the question which social media platforms they have profiles on, a single common denominator emerged: Instagram. Facebook was ticked by nearly half the participants, but interviews painted a more complete picture: they do have a profile on FB, but don’t have a mobile app installed on their devices and anyway go to Facebook’s web page only once in two weeks. They see it as their parents’ social platform.
Twitter not only obsolete but non-existent for the Latest Generation
None of the participants have a Twitter profile. Bearing in mind among the interviewees there were 17-, 18-, and 19-year-olds – those who become eligible to vote in the next year – the fact Twitter is non-existent for them is in stark contrast to some beliefs in a significance of political debate on this social platform. We are talking about three age groups who will be hitting the election polls next year. Generation Z is just not there. None of them. It would be safe to assume the Twitter-shunning trend would continue if we had pooled in feedback from a little older age group.
They don’t follow brands or celebrities
Over 80% of participants do not follow brands. During the interviews, they mentioned one car manufacturer and one sports shoe manufacturer. Those few celebrities that earn the right to be in Generation Z’s social media feeds are Novak Djokovic, Leonardo DiCaprio, and an odd fitness coach. The surveys and interviews took place during the basketball World Cup – with Serbia still at the time one of the favorites in the competition. Asking the participants if they were following Bogdan Bogdanovic or Miroslav Raduljica, they replied that they visited the players’ Instagram profiles now and then. A further inquiry into why they were not following the players if they were interested in them was met with “I don’t want him to bother me with his posts, I only care what my friends are doing”. Cue debate on influencers’ influence.
Instagram story & Snapchat
The generation who all have a photo or video of their first hours since being born and the first steps they took – owing to the smartphone tech advancements their parents were enjoying – opt for social media that keep the content for only 24 hours: Instagram Story and Snapchat. A stat inspiring enough in itself for further medical research studies and cross-functional analyses.
Content Generation Z post
In all our ignorance we offered the participants 4 multiple-choice options asking them what kind of content they post publicly on social media: textual post, share a link, photograph, and video. The replies were: no text, no share link. Out of ten posts, we had 8 photographs and 2 videos. They were also kind enough to show us their Viber “chats”: six voice messages, a couple of LOLs and heart emojis and no text.
Notion of possession
A very interesting segment of the questionnaire was the one related to watching TV and listening to music. More than half of the interviewees watch only sports and reality programs on TV, with a few of those who never watch any television. All their interests are saturated with their computers and phones. Music is mostly played on YouTube and Deezer, for a minority, it’s saved on their phones. Asking if they use any apps to order food – targeting the older age group in the segment who do have their own pocket money from summer jobs – the answer was no. Using the right additional questions, they explained to us the sequence of actions they take: search for a restaurant name in the phone browser, pick up the phone number and call to order. A further inquiry revealed they never store those phone numbers in their phone’s contact list. Internet availability is a given for them and there is no need to permanently jot down and possess information. Telephone numbers for ordering food are in the same place where their music is – online.
The members of Generation Z we talked to do not have many games or apps installed on their phones. We get the impression that they all fall into the extremes when it comes to gaming: they are either close to a full-blown addiction or could not care less about playing games on their phones. The number of apps is negligible, too. In a very honest and open conversation, we posed this question: “Ok, if you don’t have any games, any apps, you don’t spend too much time on social media – what do you use your phone for then?”, to which a witty participant said: “To make phone calls!”.
It is and will yet be quite interesting for us and related industries to see how brands, major corporations, and marketing strategies respond to the habits of this generation. Also, it would be interesting to hear the response of public education systems on how they plan to approach teaching a generation that is inherently disassociated from the notion of storing data or any content that is a click away, anyway. Going forward, they won’t even need to click, just say it loud enough into their phones. Are their grades going to be dependent on their ability to memorize the atomic number of Silicon or the exact date a mid-20th Century battle took place, or will the system stimulate and reward them based on their adaptation, problem-solving and critical thinking skills?