This year, we experienced a huge transformation in how teenagers use social media. As we moved closer to peak visual culture, our macrotrend Paradox Personas explored how Generation Z drove a new approach to Instagram that rejected self-promotion in favour of self-awareness.
Making it clear that their multifaceted identity is not a product or a brand, Generation Z turned to their peers for entertainment in a celebration of Everyteen Media, focused their real-life friendships with the help of Snapchat, migrated to TikTok to parody their online selves and harnessed Tinder to form alternative curriculums.
Brands cannot rely on a URL to find these teens. To these consumers, the offline and online worlds exist in harmony, and digital platforms are enabling them to form a more multifaceted analogue self. As Julie Weitz, a visual artist who explores the psychological impact of digital media on selfhood, argues: ‘The critical distinction is to recognise the difference between the persona they project in bits of information versus their complex, constantly growing selves.’