Confessions of a Gen Z in Media

Sarah had no idea what she was getting herself into when she entered the industry. She was always fascinated by trends and how they were shaped by their cultural and political environment. But most importantly, she loves questioning these trends and analysing how they came to be and why.

When choosing my majors at uni, my natural response was to study media communications and marketing. But I didn’t know – and still don’t know – how my career would unfold and what jobs I could actually do, especially living in a pretty uncertain and dynamic world.

I was lucky enough to earn a job at Initiative just before my last semester at university, which I began while finishing my degree. I have now been with Initiative for over a year, and I am fortunate enough have the resources and connections on hand to not only have insights on new media, but to question these promising trends and their inevitable effect on the future of the industry and culture. What I’m particularly interested in is what a future in media will look like for me as a 22-year-old, especially living through ‘these unprecedented times’ in 2020.

Nothing excites me more in this job than hearing about rising media platforms, paving their way in the media space. TikTok, Twitch, Quibi, Steemit and Byte are emerging at a rapid pace, taking full advantage of modern technologies and trends like cryptocurrency transactions and the rise of e-sports. There is just so much potential for the advertising space in collaboration with new media to really engage an upcoming younger generation who spends most of their available time online.

Speaking from experience, Gen Zs have a small attention span and a desire to use their voice, especially when confronted with serious issues such as Climate Change, Systemic Racism and Gender Inequality. There is so much uncertainty in what the future holds and pressure on what we need to do to make it just a slightly better place.

All these new platforms are fast-paced and packed full of endless information and knowledge, with enough content to fill the largest library in the world but sit comfortably in your back pocket. Young people can efficiently band together, despite geographical constraints, to impact millions. One example includes TikTok users organising and successfully registering thousands of seats for the Trump rally in Tulsa, for the seats to remain empty. A lucrative political protest, all from their childhood bedroom. The same power is reflected on TikTok’s highest followed user, Charli D’Amelio, who to date sits at over 72 million followers at just 16 years old. That’s nearly triple the population of Australia.

With an industry that relies so heavily on traditional formats, there’s no wonder some brands are struggling to connect with consumers under 25. When you have a generation filled with pessimism and lack of faith in society, advertisers and marketers need to stop promoting a hope that frankly does not exist. The best kind of messaging seen today is true to honesty and action. With tidal waves of fake information taking the form of news, and news that is so unreal it appears to be fake drowning our newsfeeds, it’s hard to decipher what is real anymore. Plain, effective, and straight to the point will cut through the clutter. There are enough complications in the world, so there is no need to complicate things any further. If you’re preaching a value, make sure it’s followed through and the proof is clear and simple. With cancel culture always lurking in the shadows, it’s increasingly harder to cover up the mistakes of the past.

Not much can be said for where the world of media will end up and there are so many questions to be asked. With relatively fresh eyes on the industry, it’s interesting to see the discrepancy between the media I consume and the media I buy and report on. Is there something to say for the power in the hands of the younger generations or is their passion just a ticking time bomb that will eventually implode, seeing them just conform to a monotonous and traditional society. All I can say is there is a lot of change brewing in the distance, and I am so excited to see it all unfold and evolve.

Written by
Sarah Moody, Perth WA