How Gen Z builds communities

For Gen Z there is no separation between their physical and digital tribes.

Throughout history, ‘tribes’ have been the cornerstone of our identity, offering a sense of belonging and unity. Today, Gen Z, the true digital pioneers, are reshaping this tribal landscape. They’re transitioning from traditional, location-centric definitions to dynamic, digital, and passion-driven communities. For perspective, Boomers found solace in local gatherings and social clubs. Gen X, introduced to the internet, ventured into interest-based forums. Millennials expanded their horizons with global connections via social media. But Gen Z? They’re leveraging the digital realm to craft a new era of tribal connections.

The digital world of Gen Z is both expansive and intricate. They dedicate roughly 15 hours a week online, with platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Discord being their primary hubs. These aren’t mere entertainment outlets; they serve as modern tribal gathering spaces. Over 70% of Gen Z individuals rally around shared interests, from the fervor of K-pop to the urgency of climate activism. Platforms like Brane are emerging as essential tools, emphasizing deep, authentic connections.

In this digital age, Gen Z’s perspective is both global and nuanced. They’re forming international connections at twice the rate of Millennials, broadening their horizons and embracing diverse cultures and viewpoints. Amidst this vast digital landscape, there’s a pronounced quest for authenticity. A significant 86% of Gen Z gravitates towards influencers and brands that resonate with authenticity, influencing their tribal affiliations.

Gen Z’s digital tribes aren’t just about shared memes and viral challenges; they’re the bedrock of their decision-making. These tribes, often formed around shared experiences, passions, or even life’s curveballs, wield a significant influence over Gen Z’s choices. When Gen Zers are looking for a nod of approval, it’s these tribes they turn to.

Diving into the research, a study titled “Investigating Gen Z attitudes to charitable giving and donation behaviour: Social media, peers and authenticity” sheds some light. It paints a picture of a generation that craves a personal connection to the brands and causes they rally behind. It’s not just about what’s trending; it’s about what feels real. Friends’ recommendations aren’t just casual suggestions; they’re gold-standard endorsements. This study drives home the point that for Gen Z, the digital realm isn’t just a playground; it’s where they feel empowered, validated, and truly at home. It’s where they discuss, learn, and form their passions.

But here’s the kicker: for Gen Z, it’s not just about chatting and sharing. It’s about seeking that all-important “stamp of approval.” When they get a thumbs-up from trusted influencers or their close-knit tribes, it’s like getting a seal of quality. It reassures them that their choices are in sync with their values and the vibe of their tribe. Brands that get this, that truly understand this deep-seated need for authenticity and connection through community, are the ones that will ride the Gen Z wave successfully.

Mental health remains a critical concern. With 1 in 3 Gen Z individuals highlighting mental health challenges, online communities have become essential support systems. Interest-based platforms like Brane offer spaces of understanding and empathy. However, while Gen Z’s digital tribes celebrate diversity, there’s an underlying risk of echo chambers. About 60% acknowledge being in spaces dominated by singular perspectives, emphasizing the need for platforms that foster diverse dialogues and one on one discussion, which often lead to more “real” and personal dialogs.

The challenge of loneliness is profound, with a staggering 75% of Gen Z expressing feelings of isolation. This underscores the imperative for platforms that nurture genuine, meaningful connections.

With advancements like the metaverse (yes, it’s still coming) and AR (now thanks to Apple) on the horizon, the future of tribe-building promises to be even more immersive and profound. As Gen Z evolves, platforms that prioritize genuine connections, like Brane, will be instrumental in shaping the next chapter of digital tribes.

In essence, Gen Z’s approach to tribe-building offers insights into the evolving dynamics of human connections in our digital age. Their journey sets the stage, prompting us to ponder the future trajectory of digital tribalism. Once, humanity thrived by uniting around the warmth of communal campfires; today, we propel into the digital future, illuminated by the collective glow of countless smartphone screens.

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