Three ways Generation Z is shaping today’s pop culture

Relying on digital platforms and video content, members of Generation Z are changing pop culture by emphasizing what is personally important to them, rather than what is important to others.

4 min to read
Written by: Nataša Blagojević

New technologies and generations are creating new pop culture. While ten or more years ago we all watched the same viral videos, today there are more content creators and different trends than ever before. Nevertheless, there is a trend of individualization in the pop culture. According to YouTube’s Culture and Trends survey, 65% of Gen Zers agree how the content that is personally relevant to them is more important than the content that many others are talking about. Additionally, 55% of them watch content that others don’t even know they’re interested in.


As platforms constantly improve algorithms and show users more personalized content and offer new formats and ways for creative expression, users are not only watching video content, but increasingly creating it. In a sea of trends, they choose to show what best reflects them, their current mood or life. Deep involvement in content, personal approach and experience of users thus shape today’s pop culture, and in the previously mentioned research, YouTube identifies three key creative trends that drive its evolution.




Users who together with others actively share an interest or create a common identity have a very strong role in creating cultural conversations, and on the Internet, there is a community for probably everything we can imagine. Perhaps the best example are fans of popular music artists or groups who create special “fan” profiles and pages where they publish content about the object of their interest with different details. From recording music covers to following the news from the lives of their idols, there are many examples of what these fans do. The phenomenon of “fandom” as such is not surprising considering that 61% of Centennials included in the research can describe themselves as really big fans or even super fans of someone or something. “Professional fans”, on the other hand, devote themselves in detail to specific areas of interest, such as music or fashion, and just as passionately follow everything that happens in this area and share it in the form of videos with their followers.




Perhaps the biggest focus here right now is short vs. long video formats. Content creators successfully use both and thus reach a wider community. As many as 59% of members of Generation Z who participated in this research discover news through applications with short video formats, after which they further study topics they are interested in in longer formats.

And just like their predecessors Millennials, Centennials express themselves through memes. 63% of them have started following one or more channels with meme content in the last 12 months, and 57% of them say that they like it when brands use such content in their communication.

Understanding this trend has special implications when we talk about the interweaving of the real and virtual world. Content creators are already present with their digital avatars in the Metaverse, and “in the future, creativity will be even less dependent on any digital format or medium“.




This trend refers to the creation and consumption of content according to one’s own psychological and emotional needs, which is not unusual considering all the negative events in the last two years and the growing anxiety among young people. 90% of Gen Zers watched video content that made them feel like they were somewhere else, with an emphasis on high aesthetics (so-called “vibe content”), and 83% content that has a soothing effect (so-called “soothing content”) in order to get relaxed.

Specific trend that appears here are also “comfort creators“. Young Gen Zers follow content creators who somehow seem familiar to them and provide comfort. 69% of them regularly return to the content of these creators. With growing anxiety, it’s no surprise that members of Generation Z are also feeling nostalgic. A high 82% of them consumed this kind of content on YouTube.

What is surprising, and refers to 53% of Centennials, is their affinity for horror content. It can be a way of dealing with certain fears or traumas, and what is specific in relation to the previous generation is that they prefer atmospheric content in relation to the rush of adrenaline preferred by Millennials.

Although such scattered interests pose a difficult task for all creatives and communicators, as it becomes more and more difficult to find a common ground for the target groups they want to address, the situation is unlikely to become simpler. What we can expect in the future is more new formats and media, but also the needs to which such content will respond. The key is to follow trends, but also to know your audience and niches well to be able to connect with digital communities, on the channels they use, responding to the needs and desires they talk about there.


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