Gen Z is the only generation thus far to be raised in a social media driven culture. Because members of Gen Z are between the ages of 5 and 23 most of Gen Z does not remember a time when social media was not popular, and they have become well acquainted with it as they have grown up. While social media has had a different effect on each generation Gen Z’s reaction is especially different because they have been and will be exposed to it for the longest amount of time during their formative years. Advertising on social media has become the great frontier for interacting with the Gen Z market. However, dealing with a generation that consumes so much content can pose challenges for marketers in their attempt to differentiate their brand from others.
Many Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers still stick to the notion that social media was created to connect people through conversations and shared interests. Gen Z seems to have taken the opposite approach and views it as a platform to consume content created by individuals. This leads a major disconnect between the content creators and their fanbase. Gen Z may be led to view these creators as actors who put on a character for the camera rather than seeing them as real people. This disconnect between producers and consumers can contribute to the hate culture that many influencers experience today.
Instead of building connections Gen Z has chosen to distance themselves by placing more emphasis on digital privacy. They are increasingly interested in digital privacy, and social media apps work to meet that desire by continuing to add features that allow them to secure their protection against others who want to know what they view. They are able to view this content from an autonomous standpoint to protect their privacy. An article from eClincher describes how Millennials had to experience the learning curve of over-sharing on social media and being too public with information, so Gen Z is much more aware of the negative consequences. Even though hate culture does not build empathy towards creators, Gen Z is able to understand the effects of this movement and feels very encouraged to remain silent participants on these platforms
The lack of empathy poses a problem because empathy cannot be categorized or switched on and off. The empathy that is displayed during social media interactions verses physical interactions is the same. Empathy is how we as humans are able to connect with others. If they cannot maintain that empathy Gen Z as a whole faces the problem of no longer being able to or be invested in making connections with others.
Gen Z is more inclined to reject the sense of community that social media was created for in the first place. They have a tendency to strip down its value to be just a source of entertainment based on an ironic form of human non-connection. They experience an empathy deficit because so many of their social interactions take place online. Marketers should strive to create authentic content that will move Gen Z to recall these empathetic feelings that have been rejected thus far. Those who are able to create a feeling that is lacking in social media will distinguish them from competitors. They also may want to explore opportunities for creating more interactive platforms that draw them from their private standpoint into communities. Prompting Gen Z to discover their need for authenticity and community through the brand will allow them to build and relationship with the brand and could even rekindle their desire to connect with others.
MoveThisWorld – How Social Media Impedes Empathy
Eclincher – Gen Z And Social Media: 3 Ways Their Use Is Differenthttps://eclincher.com/gen-z-and-social-media-use/#:~:text=Gen%20Z%20Appreciates%20Their%20Digital,to%20make%20or%20break%20people.&text=These%20platforms%20address%20Gen%20Z’s,prospects%2C%20or%20even%20credit%20scores