How are next gen global millennial stars using Instagram to find their voice, break down barriers and directly connect with fans around the world? How are they reshaping modern day entertainment?
The reality of our hyperconnected world is not anything new, and the world of influencers is certainly no longer an alien concept. We have lived in this age of social media for what feels like a lifetime, but now a new generation has joined - and these new global stars are doing things differently.
These ‘new millenials’ (or as they’re more commonly known, Generation Z), have not known a world before Instagram, iPhones and YouTubers. Like many of us, their teenage lives have been led by validation online, however, for them this has been since they were children, during their most developmental years, with everything they choose to do being carefully considered for a response from the screens they carry so closely.
To those of us in our late twenties and thirties, the introduction of data was valuable, interesting and new. We could use it to make informed decisions about our online lives, like what types of Instagram photo are going to get the most likes. But for the next generation this culture of data is not new, but instead, an overwhelming wave of numbers for every step, sleep, heartbeat, post and broadcast. Perhaps it is this that is causing them to step away from the usual behaviours of painting ‘picture perfect’ lives on Instagram and instead being motivated to have a real, authentic and uncurated online presence on the platform.
It’s worth following any of these new global stars, if only to see a refreshing snapshot of real-ness in amongst your faultless filters and perfectly positioned Instagram Stories. You’ll notice that the central focus of their content is them, their faces, silly selfies and new outfits - unlike us, they are unapologetically confident of sharing photos of themselves lounging at home; a barrier most of us cannotovercome. They’re playful with gifs, colours and the amount of Boomerangs may sometimes make you seasick. Whereas we tend to hide behind a mask on Instagram, passively scrolling and rarely commenting, these young people have created communities on the platform, connecting with fans, commenting freely on posts from friends and strangers alike with words of encouragement and support, making friends and fighting trolls along the way. This unmasked behaviour has led to Instagram movements in body positivity, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ communities and so many more. You only have to consider the students of Parkland High School in Florida to see a profound example of these attitudes coming into play from a common cause on a global scale.
It’s important to consider these changing behaviours when it comes to the entertainment industry, where we must lead with authenticity, speed and experience. This new generation cares, so we should give them something to care about. Take them behind-the-scenes to share on Instagram Stories, allow them to give and receive real-time feedback in live broadcasts and strip back the curated newsfeeds in place of real moments. There is a popular belief that this age-group are disconnected from the ‘real world’, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. They are more interested in experience and connection than ever before, and strive to spend their money on memorable experiences, spend their clicks supporting genuine creators and spend their time watching meaningful content.
Amy Reed, senior social executive, Think Jam
This article originally appeared in The Drum Network entertainment special quarterly supplement