New Trends in How Gen Z Connects Online
Gen Zers are choosing avenues of social connection that differ sharply from Millennials.
Marcus Noel reports the Gen Zers are less likely to use Facebook and “are hungry for face-to-face communication.” Noel states, “The youth of today are using the technology they know and love to connect to others live in real-time through social apps on their phones and popularity of these types of apps is skyrocketing.”
Noel also reports that Gen Zers have a higher level of digital integration than Millennials, sometimes engaging with up to five screens at one time. They communicate with images, whereas Millennials still prefer to communicate with text, and they are more collaborative and creative, looking to work hard and make a difference in the future.
So what platforms are Gen Zers using?
Noel lists a few, and describes each service. They are House Party, Bumble, Monkey, Discord, HOLLA, Marco Polo, Airtime, GroupMe, and Skout.
Familiarizing yourself with these services will be worth your time, not only so that you can understand Gen Zers when they talk about what applications are hot, but so that you can adjust your communication strategy accordingly.
A group video chat service.
From their website: “Healthy relationships are central to living a positive, productive life. Bumble is a social network that allows you to feel empowered while you make those connections, whether you’re dating, looking for friends, or growing your professional network.”
A social networking application that helps teenagers connect with new people. Here is how they describe it: “Accept a call, Talk for 15 seconds, If you’re both feeling a vibe, add time. If the vibe feeling isn’t mutual, don’t. Repeat with someone new.”
Here’s their pitch: “All-in-one voice and text chat for gamers that's free, secure, and works on both your desktop and phone. Stop paying for TeamSpeak servers and hassling with Skype. Simplify your life.”
Another random video chat app that helps people connect all over the world. I guess this would be like going to a club, bar, or other public venue and trying to start up conversations with people, except here it is mediated by your phone. They write, “Be careful, HOLLA is VERY addicting. We apologize ahead of time if you end up HOLLA-ing for too long and meeting too many cool fun people.”
From the App Store, “Marco Polo is a face-to-face messaging app for one-to-one and group conversations—bringing family and friends closer than ever with genuine conversations and moments shared. “
Live group video chat application where you can watch things together, like video content on YouTube or Soundcloud. In the old days, we did this by going to one person’s house to watch Seinfeld or a college football game, and shared a couch. Now, you just tune in on your phone.
I use this app, and it is great because it works across devices and even with SMS. Most college students I know use this for one reason or another, whether for group projects through their classes, to stay in touch with their peer network, or to stay informed about news in an organization they are a part of.
With Skout, you can: “Meet people by preference and proximity, chat, broadcast yourself and watch others’ streams, see who checked you out, get updates from nearby users, save your favorite users, browse profiles and pictures, promote your profile with in-app features.”
Lastly, here is a pro tip: If you want to connect with Gen Zers in your congregation, ask them what services they use. Be familiar with the different services, but you don’t have to become fluent. And help parents understand these services. They will appreciate the help.