Here's what you need to know to save Generation Z from the same fate as the millennials.
The social-media beast has pretty-much finished digesting the millennials, belched, had a nap, and sits sharpening its teeth preparing to feast on fresh meat: Generation Z.
I hope we are not too late.
We've spent a decade (it seems like more) ripping the poor millennials apart and stereotyping the crap out of them. They ruined a million industries, they ate all the avocados, they hate this, they love that, they need this but they don't want that. I think it's finally starting to sink in that it's all garbage. At least it feels that way to me.
A little more than a year ago I was in Vegas as a keynote speaker at an enormous international conference, with a dozen other speakers. All of them were talking about how unique and special millennials are. I don't think I'd see that same speaker lineup today.
The newest social media millennial-related trend I've taken note of is decrying how it was all so ridiculous. It's a millennialist-backlash, perpetuated by the same sort of authors, speakers and experts that profligated and profited from creating the hullabaloo in the first place.
Millennials don't all agree or think or do anything as a group. They are just as different from each other as we all are. I've been annoying, I know, yelling about data that proves millennials are so unalike that they are a big hairy myth and not even really a thing. One more time; based on 100,000 surveys about 420 values, wants, needs and expectations, millennials only agree 15% of the time. All humans tend to agree about 8% of the time. So millennials only agree with each other 7% more often than they do with anyone else. That's statistically insignificant. And certainly not enough to base an ad campaign or product launch on.
In fact, we recently finished building the global dataset for what everyone on earth really cares about. 500,000 surveys. 152 languages. 180 countries. Millennials around the world agree with each other 14% of the time. Even less than they do in North America by a whopping 1%.
Generation Z is no different. They are not a hive mind. They are not a pack of wolves raised by the same mother. They do not all think, do, believe or view anything the same way, any more than anyone else does.
In North America, Generation Z only agrees with each other about anything 16% of the time. Globally? Also 16%. Take away the 8% agreement that all humans have with each other, and Generation Z agrees with each other a whopping 8% of the time about anything that it means to be alive and walking the face of this earth in the year 2019.
Right now, while the professional millennialists seem to be picking over the bones, largely content with their kill, right now is the time to act. This is our window of opportunity to stop the books and speeches and Op-Ed pieces about how different Generation Z will be. We can shut down the opinionated chatter about how this new generation requires special care and feeding to make them happy, and how we have to change everything for them. Let's stop it all before the generation-blaming-industry smells fresh blood and the feeding frenzy begins anew.
Maybe this time, we don't have to waste so much effort and so much money trying to create products, services, brands, institutions and ideas for an age cohort who resemble each other as much as they resemble everyone else. Maybe we can keep generation Z free.
What comes after Generation Z? Maybe nothing? No more names! No more stereotypes! Let's call it quits.
The Valuegraphics Database is a random stratified statistically representative sample of the population of the world, created from a half-million surveys collected in 180 countries using 152 languages, and measuring 420 values, wants, needs and expectations with a +/- 3.5% margin of error and a 95% level of confidence.