GenZ vs. Millennials on literally anything is the hot topic of the 2020s. As Gen-Z grows up and begins to become a bigger part of the workforce and daily matters, they become more and more influential in every single field.
But what is the situation like in the digital world? Although Gen-Z seems to be the shining star for everything digital, the answer is not that straightforward.
Gen-Z are Digital Natives
Born between 1996 and 2012, Gen-Z were born into technology. They grew up in unison with technological advancements, making them native speakers of the digital world. Some even grew up with tablets and smartphones, in a world of touch-input. This gives them a huge advantage over the millennials who learned about digital as a second language. Gen-Z can be much more agile and intuitive, both in their interaction with the digital world and how they can change trends or cancel people in a matter of days. (Yeah, Gen-Z can just collectively cancel you. That’s their super power. Visit this article to learn more about cancel culture.)
Millennials Have the Advantage of Having a Holistic Approach to the Digital World
Whereas Gen-Z can be a little near sighted because the current state of the digital world is the only thing they know, Millennials saw the digital world getting built in their teenage years. This makes them a lot more aware of the digital world as a whole, and as a construct. They still have their roots in conventional media, which allows them to have a broader view of everything that’s going on in the digital world.
Gen-Z and Millennials Use Social Media for Different Purposes
Millennials have been the first users of social media, and the biggest opportunity then was for self expression. Being able to tweet out everything that ran through your mind and having 500 friends on Facebook was the real deal. The concept of “creating” content had not fully formed yet, and everything was a lot more natural.
Gen-Z on the other hand, grew up swiping through all that content. The self expression aspect of social media is something that’s pretty much granted, they grew up tweeting to thousands of people. They embraced living in a constant reality show, and are now entertainment junkies. It’s less about self expression and more about the digital content for them. And if you can’t hook them up on the first 5 seconds, they move on to the next.
Millennials and Gen-Z are Co-Dependent
The literal answer to the question is quite simple. Gen-Z makes up a small percentage of digital decision-makers. In the meanwhile, the Millennials are the founders and executives of the digital world. They create the platforms and call the shots. They also create the thousands of marketing campaigns served to the Gen-Z.
The actual answer, though, is a lot more intricate. Millennials and Gen-Z have an intrinsic supply and demand relationship. If you run a grocery store and have to order lots of, let’s say, eggplants everyday because they’re crazy high in demand; is it you who is making the decision to offer eggplants or is it the consumer base? The relationship between Millennials and Gen-Z is quite complicated, because every digital platform who wants to stay relevant in the future has to cater towards members of the Gen-Z. So even if the Millennial executives call the final shots, they’re not entirely independent.
On the other hand, are Gen-Z independent in what they think and demand? Beyond their digital power (in terms of their number that is, their buying power is still not quite there), they live in the world of older generations. They are molded by the thousands of marketing campaigns offered to them from the moment they were born. Who is to say the digital natives whose native languages were founded by the other generations are independent leaders?
Every generation is a reaction to the previous one. We’re like new homeowners who just hate what the previous ones did with the place, and need to over-correct. So, it’s not really possible to isolate a single generation as the rulers of the digital world. The Millennials and Gen-Z co-exist, sometimes in peace and sometimes in conflict. However, they are both equally effective on what goes on in the digital world.
Who do you think really runs the digital world? Is there a definitive answer? Leave a comment down below or hit us up on our socials!