No longer the young kids on the block, Millennials have pushed squarely into their 20s and 30s and the emphasis is on a young generation. With a liberal set of attitudes and an openness to emerging social trends, the Zoomer is diverse and on track to be the most well-educated generation yet. They are also moving towards adult life.
A Zoomer is a member of generation Gen Z. This is the “youth of today” at the moment and most of Gen Z is in their teens or early 20s. Nowadays every generation seems to have their own stereotypes, characteristics and stigma. What do you need to know about Gen Z?
Until recently, there wasn’t an official nickname for Generation Z. Gen Z was the common term used by both researchers and society alike. However, like most generations, it earned a nickname over time.
The word itself reflects a way of comparing the phrase Baby Boomers or those born shortly after World War II. In the past, this word was used jokingly toward particularly active Baby Boomers. With their disposable income and financially stable lifestyles, they “zoomed” towards the stores. Baby Boomers were much more vibrant and busier than the century before them, hence the term “Zoomer.”
However, as a need for Gen Z to have a name of its own grew, this word was repurposed. Today, it’s seen as a contrast to Baby Boomers.
While today’s senior citizens are notoriously critical of young people and societal change, Zoomers are the opposite. The new, contrasting term is an appropriate fit for this engaged group of young people.
According to Pew Research, anybody born after 1996 is a Zoomer. This means that the oldest Gen Z would have been around 23 years old. A particular end-date set for Gen Z has yet to be set, but the children born today are likely to belong to a new generation not yet identified.
Since the Millennial generation ends in the year 1996, it’s easy to see why a lot of younger Millennials and older Zoomers find themselves confused. These individuals have their own unique take on their generation, and they might not fit the stereotypes based on their age.
Those two generations are very similar when it comes to comparing the differences between Gen Z and Millennials. These generations grew up in a technologically similar age. They had similar struggles with financial crises, debt for student loans and political disputes. These are probably the most close generations in modern history, because of this.
However, there are some key differences between the two. Do note that there are generalizations that take place. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Gen Z is more tech-savvy: While most Millennials did grow up using modern technology, they likely remember the age before smartphones and high-speed internet. Today’s Zoomers always had these modern devices and connectivity tools.
- Gen Z is active in politics: while Millennials are also outspoken about political reform, Gen Z proves to be even more involved. Gen Z is a generation of activists, owing to the increase of school mass shootings, social justice problems, and other political obstacles.
- Gen Z is more realistic: Because Zoomers grew up during an economic recession, most are less optimistic about the future and their economic outlook.
- Gen Z is internationally engaged: Gen Z grew up in a linked world in comparison to previous generations. They feel connected with the worldwide happenings and cultures.
Because of all of the above, Gen Z stands out from previous generations but they are more than that. While almost all young people get a bad name because they are proponents of progress, Gen Z is pushing society in a positive direction.
Over the past few years, Gen Z has made a name for itself. As they continue to age and become more active politically and socially, we’re only bound to see more from these Zoomers. Here’s what Gen Z is already known for:
- Entrepreneurship: From YouTube stars to tech geniuses, Gen Z is extremely entrepreneurial. Many are uninterested in the traditional career ladder, and that means they’re ready to strike out on their own in new ways.
- Diverse friendships: While the family tree is still important, Gen Z emphasizes friendship, even if it crosses borders. This is the most internationally-aware generation.
- Digital nomads: If Millennials are tech pioneers, Gen Z is a generation of digital nomads. These are young people who grew up with technology as the norm. Therefore, they’re accustomed to things like social media, online publishing, and new forms of communication.
- New ideas: This group is very open to new ideas. While older generations are slow to change, Gen Z welcomes new information and any perspective. Perhaps this is why they’re so politically active?
- Skeptical: Finally, Gen Z is skeptical. Like their parents (Gen X), they’re not willing to accept the status quo and modern leadership at face value. They question what the future has in store, and they’re afraid to be too comfortable.
All of these characteristics and shared experiences carve Gen Z isn’t the generation it is. It’s hard to deny that this group of young people is reshaping the way we think about diversity, society, and change.
While the Millennials were the first generation to grow with technology, these tools are being adopted by Zoomers in new ways and towards new objectives. The younger generations are quick to poke fun, but there is no denying Gen Z is a strong community of thinkers and innovators.
If you want to see Gen Z in practice, simply take a look at social media. This is their home turf, and in just about every way they can make a splash. It’s interesting to look at this young generation comparatively to see how it compares with those who came before. Although the parallels between Zoomers and Millennials are clear to see, these two groups split rapidly over key concerns and improvements.
Is there a generation that comes after Gen Z? The short answer is yes. However, since it takes time to actually get to know a generation before conclusions are drawn, there’s not much we know about the next generation yet.
Some researchers believe Gen Z ends in 2010, though this still isn’t confirmed. Sociologists propose the term “Generation Alpha” or “Gen Alpha” for anyone born after 2010. These kids are still very young, so only time will reveal where they’ll take us next.
If there is one thing we know for sure, however, it is that Gen Alpha will be fully immersed in technology and information. Things such as artificial intelligence, voice assistants, and day-to-day software integrations are the standard to them, and that will certainly lead to big changes.
As a business, more than ever, it is important to take on digital tools and keep engaging Gen Z and prepare for Gen Alpha. But do note that the standards are high. Gen Z is tech-savvy and mobile-first. As such, you can expect them to set a high bar for how they spend their time online. Meet their digital expectations and you’ve got a shot.
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