Gen Z is developing maturing perspectives on lives in which the highlights of birthdays, holidays and random events aplenty have been relentlessly captured, captioned and shared on social media. Images of the innocent things kids do which seem innocent enough at the time, to the doer can become sources of embarrassment best destroyed once adolescence kicks in. Yesteryear’s photo album, pulled out and shared sparingly with visiting friends and extended families has been replaced by fully labeled and ‘liked’ mini-encyclopedias of youth, day in and day out, available for the world to see 24/7, compiled by those who didn’t grow up that way but often featuring subjects that have little say in their having ‘gone public’.
Epic fails, memorialized
From literal run-ins with walls or dogs as toddlers to off-key versions of evergreen songs bravely performed in school concerts to sport days that may not have gone well or, worse, ended in goofy victory dances, the normal growing pains of the earliest years are there for the gawking. Generational Kinetics, a Gen Z-focused company, has through polls deduced that the world’s latest generation shows a heightened awareness of privacy rights, because fighting for them – often with their parents and friends – is the new normal.
Millions of people barely on the threshold of adulthood are being forced to enter negotiations to control elements of their public persona. Actors once came to such agreements with their agents, and companies still do with their PR representatives. But today it is the norm for everyone to be, at least potentially, known far and wide. Lives are lived in the public domain, or something close to it, monitored by CCTV. Young people today have grown up instant experts in cultivating their image – and coping with posts that spun out of their control long ago, and if even if taken down, leave behind archival memories and the stuff of myths.
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