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Gen Z: how they are transforming digital media tools into their creative playground

While some Baby Boomers still have trouble learning how to use the newest apps, and Millennials are struggling to find privacy amongst social media, Gen Z was born prepared to navigate through this new information era. Raised with online creative tools at their fingertips, they are using their favorite apps to unleash originality and propel their influence.

The report Into Z Future, from The Innovation Group, declares that “more than half of Gen Z (51%) say their generation is more creative than previous generations, according to a 2019 study conducted in the United States and United Kingdom by JWT Intelligence”. One of the reasons for this statement can be spotted within apps such as Snapchat and Tik Tok, for instance. Those apps provide filters, AR lenses, video editors, gifs, emojis and a whole arsenal of tools for them to express their creativity.

All for a cause

But what are tools without ideas? Whilst still very young (Gen Z group includes people born from 1995 to 2010), this generation is already using multiple digital platforms to live their truth, deliver original content and build communities. The content they create is raw and full of power, showcasing a strong sense of social responsibility.

Vision Critical report "The Everything Guide to Generation Z" expresses that “for Gen Z, racial, sexual and gender equality isn’t an idea but a reality”. It is inspiring to see how this generation makes use of all kinds of expressions mediums, mixing offline media, such as hand-drawn illustrations and journaling, with emojis and memes, while still being able to provide a strong message.

“For them, the self is a place to experiment, test, and change”, says Tracy Francis and Fernanda Hoefel, “seven out of ten Gen Zers say it is important to defend causes related to identity”. They use digital platforms to convey ideas and start discussions about human rights, race, ethnicity, matters of genders, feminism and other sensitive topics with a very open approach.

Making their own brand

If anyone and everyone can create and build a following, artistry is no longer about exclusivity. Several gen Zers, some of whom are already starting to enter the workforce, are using their online communities and creative endeavors to monetize. This includes platforms like mobile marketplace Depop to sell clothing, Instagram collaborations, and Snapchat’s Lens Studio to build AR experiences for brands.

In Brazil, the Gen Z sisters Gabriela and Thalita Zukeram create original content for their Instagram account “Two Lost Kids”. In 2019 and 2020, they were invited to collaborate with well-known brands, such as Melissa and Sallve. The two sisters produce all content by themselves, from storytelling to styling, photographing and even editing. This is only one of the various examples that show how this generation has been handling digital media with an outstanding creative approach.

Laura Shear shares that “Gen Z kids are the keepers of their own brand”. They know that whatever content they produce will be directly linked to who they are as a person. That is also one of the reasons they usually will not do collaborations with companies they do not see fit into their values. They make smart, pragmatic choices, knowing how it would affect them both personally and as a part of society.

The next steps

Adobe Educate report on Gen Z declares that tech and creativity play a big and intersecting role in their identities, since “technology provides more digital tools and outlets for creativity”. Furthermore, they believe that creativity will play a critical role in their futures, reflecting in their career and life choices.

Gen Z combines influences from all over the world, without restrictions. If we want to continue in this trend, we need to provide the space and tools for them to continue exploring their inventiveness. “If appropriate tools for creative expression are not available within any given app, they’ll add them”, complements JWT Intelligence’s survey.

Supplying them with those tools means they can continue to share and express themselves, producing original works without the limitations of the physical experience. We can also learn from their digital intuition, understanding how to apply that limitless inspiration from inside (and outside) the internet. That can itself change the world, as we are already observing it happen.


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