Generation Glass: bloggers not astronauts
What will the world be like fifteen or twenty years from now? What will be trending – Twitter or Clubhouse? What will be in demand and what will be seen as vintage millennial? Will there still be physical schools? Will vaccinations against mutating viruses of the 21st century be the norm? What will be the attitude towards elections? Will anyone at all remember key dates in history, or will remembering be pointless, as everything is so easy to find out?
In many ways it won’t be us who shapes the future. It will be the two generations, dubbed Z and Alpha.
Generation of Online Graduates
Two researchers from the USA – William Strauss and Neil Howe – came up with the term Generation Z, putting those born after 2005 into this generation. According to Merriam-Webster and the Pew Research Center, people born from the late 1990s onwards belong to this generation. Generation Z later acquired other names such as digital natives and iGeneration.
I’ve already taken a close look at this generation, their behaviour and habits, so I’ll just give an outline here.
Gen. Z have already fully formed their habits and preferences, and marketing departments around the world design their advertising for them. They live differently, they think, look and dress differently.
They grew up on the Internet and social media. The centuries-old tradition of face-to-face contact between children and teenagers is now consigned to the past, having been replaced by onscreen communication. This generation is perfectly comfortable at home and is not itching to move out of their parents’ house as soon as possible. They measure popularity largely by the number of likes and subscribers, the quality of photos and ability to create a social media brand.
At the same time, the i-generation is health conscious and very particular about food. They smoke and drink less than previous generations. Healthy living and eating apps are trending.
Zoomers are multitaskers: they scroll through Instagram, do their homework, and listen to a podcast all at the same time. They are used to concentrating their attention between activities. This isn’t because they have a lot to do – it’s because low concentration makes it harder for them to absorb information, and why absorb it anyway when everything can be found online? The ability to find anything at all in seconds – from names and dates to an Instagram profile – makes zoomers distinctive. They appreciate it when information is distilled. Anything superfluous is cut back. The infographic is the best format for them.
Remote working is no longer a trend, but a part of life. Working in the office has stopped being synonymous with a successful career. This generation is looking for opportunities to realize their potential while everything is constantly changing around them. They have finished academic years online, gone to online lessons and even online school proms. These changes are part of their world and shape their character.
They know it will be harder for them than for millennials (that’s what 77% of zoomers think). But they will not work just anywhere. They have their requirements, and hardly any figures of authority. They have known since primary school that anyone can become a celebrity on YouTube, themselves included.
This generation is more tolerant than millennials. They are in no hurry to tie the marriage knot. They know all about fashion and might well prefer a smart watch to a car, but not for reasons of price.
This generation has inherited a planet in ecological crisis. They are much more afraid of ecological disasters than economic problems. They worry about their safety and material stability. They basically worry a lot: the level of depression and anxiety among zoomers is very high. They know, though, that one reason for this is their unhealthy dependence on gadgets.
What is the generation coming after zoomers like?
These children are now ten years old (they were born after 2010), and are the generation that McCrindle called Alpha. Why Alpha? Because they’d come to the end of the Latin alphabet and traditionally scientists move on to Greek after Latin.
Today’s Alpha children are a new experiment in human history. They are children who are growing up online, Generation Glass. By 2025, when the birth of this generation comes to an end, there will be approximately two billion members of Generation Alpha in the world. Two billion people who grew up communicating with robots and artificial intelligence.
The Alpha child may already have an Instagram account run by their parents. Social media are no longer a tool for self-expression, as they were for Generation Z, they are a way of life, an integral part of the world, which documents everything. An Alpha could already be a blogger, influencing their peers. Children are ambivalent about this – many are concerned that their parents are excessively documenting their lives on social media. At the age of ten they are already thinking about cyber security and their online reputation, and easily spot fake news. Interestingly, The Guardian thinks that Alpha children tend to make informed use of their time online.
This generation has always been surrounded by information carefully selected to meet their requirements and interests. They will probably be only children, so are very likely to be selfish. They already exert a major influence on their parents’ spending. It’s also interesting that Generation Alpha have sufficient pocket money, which is giving the world’s marketing executives food for thought.
Of all the generations it is Generation Alpha that has the best material wellbeing and technological prowess. Researchers predict that a large number of children in this generation will transfer to online education, with science and technology the most popular subjects. They may well have professions that do not exist yet.
Generation Alpha will live longer. They will take from the zoomers their love of healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle, and will pay much more attention to ecology.
If they have the choice between a career as a blogger or a cosmonaut, three times as many Alpha children will choose to be bloggers. Though they take an active interest in space flight too. They just don’t want to be cosmonauts, as they don’t see any prestige in it.
What will our world be like in the future? What will the world be like with Gen Z and Alpha at the wheel? What will be the trends of the future?
Thousands of researchers around the world are asking these questions, but we can only predict changes, and far from everyone accepts generational theory anyway. Some researchers think the generations are the same. They see no difference between a child that grew up playing outdoors and reading the adventures of Tom Sawyer and a child that grew up with YouTube blogs.