The one word that repeatedly comes to mind is “Unapologetic”. This word became popular across social media as many young people began to share more of themselves with the public via online outlets. We grew up in a time where social media was on the rise. With social media came the undying need to keep up with what was considered popular. While my parents’ generation often referred to this as keeping up with the Jones, my generation experiences the extreme of this. We are constantly exposed to what society deems as favorable and I think we have finally had enough of this. Out of this feeling birthed the word “Unapologetic”. And with this word comes a generation that has decided that their quirks and differences actually enhance who they are. They say Generation Z is the most diverse generation and I think that stretches to us be diverse in our thinking, diverse in our perspectives.
From my perspective, Gen Z is a very driven group. Being constantly exposed to others' success through social media, I think Gen Z can get preoccupied with financial success from comparing themselves to others on a regular basis. Somewhat contrastingly, I believe Gen Zers value individuality and authenticity. The generation coined the term "basic", as a demeaning adjective referring to actions, aesthetics, or personality traits that are notably mainstream. An important characteristic to note is that Gen Z, from being part of a more diversified population and their exposure to diversity via the internet, embrace new and different things.
For Gen Z's defining characteristic, it's impossible to not mention connectedness. Using phones/computers and connecting to the greater world constantly is so huge in our lives. Another one is that Gen Z feels more knowledgable about the greater world. Even though I've never been to a place like Tokyo, I'm able to know quite a bit about its culture and people just from the accounts I follow on Instagram. The same knowledge of other cultures thousands of miles away probably wasn't as apparent 50 years ago.
I think the defining characteristic of Gen Z is our entrepreneurial spirit. We spearhead our own solutions when we see an issue. We’re a generation of activists and are extremely vocal about our values (which typically lean towards radical inclusivity and eco-consciousness). Something that struck me and continues to strike me are the Parkland students and how they took a tragedy and turned it into action. We’ve grown up in such a vastly different time period than Millennials. The 2008 economic crisis is still fresh in our minds. We’re watching national movements like #metoo evolve, where leaders and authoritarian figures are being challenged and exposed for corrupt behavior. Gen Z is picking up the baton and following suit; we’re demanding authenticity and truth and if we can’t get it from “leaders” then we’ll pave the way ourselves.
In my opinion, members of Gen-Z primarily care more about what others think about them compared to other generations. This could be due to an increase in social media usage amongst the generation and the constant desire to receive gratification in the currency of “likes.” Also, members of Gen-Z are considered to be technologically-native and very media savvy, as they only know a digital world.