HER HER HER HER
Curated by Rebecca Edwards
When did teenagers become able to communicate better than us, to seek and define trends better than us, and to have access to as much knowledge as they can eat faster than us?
This is the generation who have not known of life without the internet. “They grew up with a smartphone in hand, social networks are a way of life, they communicate in real time with messages and emoticons and they have no memory of a once disconnected world.” The U.S. bank Merrill Lynch defines the centennials as digital natives, who utilise new areas of finance, technology and consumption to their advantage.
This position comes with a certain power through understanding the invisible mechanisms of voice, the dissemination of knowledge and opinion, and the making of lucrative careers that generations preceding them are incapable of grasping fully; this is the generation at the helm of a new kind of activism which plays out through various platforms and seeks to change world-wide opinion on a world-wide scale. MeToo, Time’s Up, Black Lives Matter, Extinction Rebellion and Gay Rights are just a few of the movements which have taken hold of the online world in recent years, led by young voices amongst others, and to much avail. The fast-paced nature of spreading myriad perspectives comes with its downsides, but as a society we’re seeing an increase in acceptance of variations on norms; from gender, sexuality, body types and lifestyles, this generation is more aware of themselves and how to understand minutiae of everything around them.
With this new understanding, companies are forced to remodel how they reach customers and audiences. New forms of targeted advertising, branding and ways of purchasing to engage with what will soon be the world’s largest demographic are already here and in need of constant upgrading to keep up. The New York Times reported that Centennials attention spans are very short, often flicking between devices, softwares and communications and as such they need much less time to filter through information.
Being a teenager is one of the most powerful positions in modern society. Through the fog of celebrity culture, fad trends and product placement is a coherent superpower getting ready to aim and fire its collective contemporary knowledge. We need to respect the power they bring or we’ll get left behind.