It all depends where you’re looking. Back around 2011, Google+ started up, after being beta as Google circles. I joined like any other social network, looking to see what’s different, what I can learn.
They had “Public Hangouts” which was fun – 9 random people video chatting about whatever from around the world. But I noticed something new. Kids showing up. They pop in, get harassed by the others. Pissed me off. So I’d friend, give basic advice on navigating potentially dangerous stuff and +1 their stuff on occasion. It ended becoming a project as more and more showed up and had to deal with toxic millennials being toxic.
From 2011 onwards, I observed behavior patterns as a group as more and more poured in. They started showing up in droves on Youtube alongside the growth of Minecraft at the time. I also ran a MC server for my nephew from 2012-2014 which got 27000 visitors and many thousands of regulars.
My sampling size is small. But I saw two groups emerge: Those that imitated late Millennials in their interests in Hitler, white power, 4chan, (but mostly for the memes) and the other group which seemed more interested in wholesome stuff, fandoms, and also those with large interest in far left politics.
The original group is probably late high school by now and I still see their posts but I haven’t seen an uptick in far right political interest and even those that were “in it for the memes” seem to have grown out of that stuff.
I did similar things on Vine and other places. I’d say the peak right wing period was probably 2014-2015 among the dank meme kids and dwindled as the 2nd wave millennials took rare pepes and transformed it into their own symbol for a while, which kind of spoiled what was just supposed to be edgy humor.
So, that’s my take. No firm conclusions, I just had a different sampling base
I’d consider the “growing right wing” as part of 2nd wave millennial – at a guess, born around 1990-2000. It’s a force to be reckoned with but I wouldn’t put them as Z’s.
That’s who I’m talking about – the teenagers about to hit voting age.. The conservative age group is slightly older – early 20s-late-20s. They’re already voting.
The slightly younger group often had a conservative phase but didn’t latch onto it as late milllennials did.
I’ll give an example: Ask any random group of people raised online in a Western-ish country between the ages of 19-29 if they flirted using Hitler references (male and female alike), hate “SJWs” etc – and you’ll find a lot.
This edgy younger millennial group is already of voting age.
That said, theres what I call “XBox” culture which runs in parallel and has its own older players (toxic 20s) grooming 12-15 yr old kids in a kind of hazing tradition, which then carries on.
That’s a different group than what I’m talking about and yes, they’ll be more conservative voters as a whole.
Of course. Presuming I’m not bright enough to know the distinction is your loss, not mine.
My question though is: where are you talking to them? If the overall environment is conservative (4chan, Xbox) you’re more likely to find conservative youngsters.
Of course this also holds true for my research.
Interesting. Most of my observations of GenZ have been on very large, commonly available social media. Only reason I even started (besides being white knight to some kids in a dangerous area long ago) is my nephew, 6 at the time (2011) and I wanted to learn “what internet” he’s going to be facing and joining.
So I tried to get a “feel for the culture” as a whole and tried to learn everything I could before he stumbled in those places himself and faced those groups himself.
I’m still learning although now at 12.5, after 6 yrs growing up online, there’s not much he can’t handle on his own now and I don’t have to be as involved.
Of course now I’ve got the anthropology bug and I keep observing.
The sciences tend to be more conservative generally, whereas the humanities/arts communities more liberal.
I’m starting to think that perhaps our different views may be to that: I studied meme culture (arts, humanities, social psychology, politics) and trends, whereas your observations were in an area that’s already conservative in nature
BUT Forbes is right: I think they mislabeled GenZ but the 20-something age voters ARE something Democrats should fear I don’t care tbh what they fear as I’m not of that group.