GEN Z AND THE TREND OF SHIFTING TO INWARD-FOCUSED COMMUNITY PLATFORMS SHIFTING TO INWARD-FOCUSED COMMUNITY PLATFORMS
As previous generations mature and establish their places in society, we welcome the development of the next generation: Gen Z. Due to their open-minded nature, an increasing number of Gen Z individuals prefer to connect and build relationships through social media platforms.
What is Gen Z?
Gen Z (Generation Z), also known as the Z Generation, refers to the group of individuals born between 1997 and 2012. Growing up during the technological era with the explosive growth of the internet, Gen Z is also known by various other names such as iGeneration, Homeland Generation, Net Gen, Digital Natives, Neo-Digital Natives, Pluralist Generation, Internet Generation, Centennials, Post-Millennials, Zoomer, Gen Wii, and Gen-Tech (Source: Wikipedia).
According to the global news organization Quartz, direct face-to-face encounters are no longer a top priority for Gen Z when it comes to connecting with others in their personal and professional lives. Nowadays, young individuals of Gen Z feel more confident using social media as a tool for making friends, interacting with superiors, colleagues, and even seeking romantic or other relationships. In general, Gen Z is gradually shifting from using traditional social media channels to using inward-focused community platforms.
What are inward-focused community platforms?
In a recent study by Agency Impero, it was found that over two-thirds (65%) of Gen Z young individuals feel confident in expressing themselves on inward-focused community platforms. Currently, Discord and Twitch are among the most popular applications in this category, preferred over data-driven apps like Instagram and Twitter.
Discord and Twitch are considered inward-focused community platforms because they do not have data feeds, likes, and ensure that user information is not shared externally.
Furthermore, the research data also shows that Gen Z users are highly concerned about privacy and perceive inward-focused community platforms as a private and secure space for them.
The Correlation between Mindset and Behaviors of Gen Z on Community Platforms.
In a survey involving 350 young consumers for a business project called "The Move" by Agency Impero—a platform decoding Gen Z culture—the results showed that uniqueness and differentiation are the topmost important factors for the Gen Z generation. They focus on progress during the process rather than just the end results, and they also have a strong desire to be a part of a community. Moreover, when asked about the purpose of participating in a community, 70% of Gen Z respondents answered that it is to feel a sense of belonging, seeking a "personal voice" (66%), and privacy (61%).
The Contribution of Gen Z to Brands.
The research results demonstrate that well-known brands have a substantial presence of Gen Z in their influence. The results are even more optimistic when brands allow them to contribute ideas as members rather than just treating them as potential customers.
83% of Gen Z customers completely agree that brands should create opportunities for their customers to use the brand's intellectual property to generate content on online platforms.
A classic example comes from Starbucks, which successfully involved users in the brand's content creation process. At that time, Starbucks introduced new terms such as "reblog" and "regram" to indicate that customers could repost their content on their personal pages.
In general, these studies show that Gen Z is a powerful force of creativity, and brands should tap into their potential instead of viewing them as marketing targets.