The way my daughter uses the internet is inspirational. Watching my Z-Gen daughter, I see a high level of digital literacy. Digital literacy is the ability to communicate clearly online. Kids building creative online communities of supportive peers gain confidence and skills. Marketers who understand their mindset will gain new perspectives into known truths like “you must find your audience.”
“Digital literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.” American Library Association’s digital-literacy task force.Blog Post edweek.com “Digital Literacy: An Evolving Definition” by Liana Heitin
A bit about Z-Gen and digital literacy
Z-Generation is beginning to enter the workforce. Being born between 1995 to 2010 puts people in the Z-Generation. Digital literacy is about consuming, creating, and sharing content. Covid-19 work-from-home policy will increase digital literacy in all age groups. My co-workers and I mastered collaborative suites of programs we had seldom used.
My daughter, a sophomore in high school, is a part of an International Baccalaureate program. One way she has grown digital literacy skills is by taking her tough assignments a little further. She is fast and adept at online learning and collaboration tools, much faster than my co-workers.
How my daughter taught me about marketing by overachieving on an English assignment
Impressed by my daughter’s story, art, and 444 hits, I interviewed her and learned some things. The Z-Gen doesn’t waste time or effort on the wrong audience or with the wrong content. They are having fun, and it’s more fun interacting with people.
“I had to write my own creation myth and make a comic of the myth. Our teacher wanted us to scribble some stuff on paper and do short foursquare thinking on paper, but I did not want to do that. So, I decided to use the website, Webtoons. I could learn the software and use it in the future. This would be fun, and it made the project more exciting.”
“Did you consider any other apps?” I asked. “I was going to do this assignment digitally, but I only knew of Webtoons, and it was free and a good resource .”
Webtoons is a comic creator site for artists. “Some kids are 12 years old, and some are professional. If you like Asian culture and art, then you would like Webtoons. This app gives you a chance for people to see your work. I know hundreds of people will see my comic; the company will see it. Webtoons wants more people to post,” she told me.
So, from her, I realized that the z-gen naturally uses social media tactics that are a marketer’s best practices.
A global community of content
My daughter seeks out international content. Anime and Manga have created many young fans of Asian culture. Webtoons, a Korean app, has become more popular with English content.
For Z-Gen girls, it is all about consuming, creating, sharing, and feedback. Fanfiction and art are my daughter’s current interests. “I like lots of topics; they are all around the same theme, but clothes, art, Asian history, manga, reading, writing, and creating.”
How Z-Gen discovers and uses apps – it’s all about community
Where do you learn about Webtoons? I asked. “A friend told me, I think. You slowly build up resources.” She shared Ibis paint drawings on Facebook when she started. Now she posts on a couple of Instagram accounts. And, she is a writer of fanfiction, with fans of her own enjoying her stories.
“I talk to people the same age as me, and they see how much effort I put into my work. On Instagram, they either liked it or not, but it is much less of a supportive community. When you post with a community, you get more feedback.”
Marketers already know this, but my daughter’s experience reminds us that an audience will appreciate well-thought-out, helpful content.
Why girls get so much satisfaction from an online community?
In her fanfiction community, my daughter explains how she uses her ability to gain an audience by listening to people.
She says the best part is how her audience talks about the characters she creates, “I love how he responded.” She enjoys that people read her work. “I get a lot of comments, they get angry at my characters, as I did, and that motivates you as a writer. But when no one sees it, it is not a good feeling because you try so hard. “I love it; And, I cannot wait for more,” one reader said. “I love how people respond,” my daughter said.
“It is great that I can do things that are fun for me and know that other people like the weird, silly thing that I enjoy. What I do is storytelling, making my own fictional tale.”
“I am not good at writing, and I am not trying to do a good job. My focus is cranking out a tale, and fanfiction is about my favorite people in the universe. I check the grammar, but I think good writing means when your reader gets attached to what they are reading.”
As a marketer and creator, it’s the feedback, listening, and responding to the right audience that is the lesson I got from my daughter. She did not have to read marketing books to learn best practices.
She tells me that this is a girl’s hobby and admits this sounds sexist. Girls “love to ship together boy characters.” She wants you to google or search fandom.com for the verb “shipping.”
Do other girls write well, I ask. “Yes, they can write really well, some are in college, some stories are so good and deep. The writer put their dreams or life experiences in their fictional tales.
What Marketers can learn from Z-Gen peer-based creative communities
Z-Gen girls creating their own storyline or art find the right audience for what brings them joy. They practice their communication skills, learn what works and what does not. Test different apps, different approaches on the same app, and work on their tales. This is why my Z-Gen daughter inspires me. She is doing what all the marketing books and posts tell me to do. But with pure joy and constant feedback.
My daughter will receive some new round fashion glasses for this interview and got an A on her assignment.