Loading...

Gen Z News Habits and Tech Tools Take Center Stage at Italian Embassy Event

November 30, 2022 by Kate Michael
Gen Z News Habits and Tech Tools Take Center Stage at Italian Embassy Event

WASHINGTON — A multigenerational audience joined Mariangela Zappia, ambassador of Italy to the United States, at the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C., Tuesday night for a discussion of Gen Z news and social media trends.

“They only know a world that is hyperconnected,” Zappia said of the generation spanning birth years in the mid- to late-1990s to the early 2010s.

While introducing the event, part of the Italian Embassy’s Digital Diplomacy Series, she suggested the night’s discussion would consider whether “digital natives … know how to think of themselves separate from their networks.”

“Gen Z is among our stakeholders in the foreign policy process,” Zappia said. “On the one hand, they want their voices heard, and we need to increase our ability to listen. And on the other hand, technology has become a great tool for younger generations to reach out to many audiences and to impact conversations on key issues.”

As diplomacy and tech, in their respective realms, continue to evolve, understanding audiences, as well as the nuances of generational audiences and stakeholders, is crucial.

The voices of Gen Z are coming to shape diplomacy from the inside — Florida’s 10th Congressional District elected 25-year-old Maxwell Alejandro Frost as America’s first Gen Z member of Congress in the latest midterm election — and a host of news and social platforms have been developed to capture and amplify younger voices.

Among those platforms are social media sites that get a lot of media attention like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok, but also new ones like The Conversationalist, which calls itself a “nonpartisan educational platform empowering Gen Z to break out of their echo chambers [and] have difficult conversations,” and Italy’s Will Media, which creates content in different formats as preferred by younger audiences. 

The founders of these newer sites, Sophie Beren and Alessandro Tommasi, respectively, as well as Monica Anderson, associate director of Research, Internet and Technology, at the Pew Research Center, and Carmella Boykin, associate TikTok producer at The Washington Post, joined moderator Rachel Janfaza, an author and journalist covering Gen Z, to offer insights during the embassy’s Digital Diplomacy event.

While the generation was described as skeptical, wary and anxious by some panelists, they also included characterizations including pragmatic, open-minded and engaged. 

Anderson stressed that the emerging generation was “not monolithic, perhaps more diverse than any generation before … and can be drivers around new platforms and new consumption.”

“We’re not apathetic,” Beren said, combating any misconception that Gen Z doesn’t consume news, doesn’t much care for politics, and isn’t attuned to what’s happening in the world. 

Boykin, who fielded the majority of the evening’s audience questions — those mainly about how she’s able to reach and educate TikTok audiences — said, “having a diverse range of places that Gen Z can find the news will help them continue to consume it.” 

Questions about the Post’s decision to engage audiences on TikTok, which the FBI director has said poses U.S. national security concerns, as well as other specific tech privacy and security inquiries, went unanswered, but Boykin did share that she remains “optimistic about Gen Z’s ability to look at where information is coming from,” and choose credible sources. 

“Trust plays a key role,” Zappia said. “Trust in our institutions and representatives, but also trust in the tools we have at our disposal, including social media platforms.”

Kate can be reached at Kate@thewellnews.com

In The News

Health

Voting

In The News

January 26, 2023
by Dan McCue
Spanberger Leads Push to Prevent Offshore Drilling in Virginia

WASHINGTON — As House Republicans move closer to a vote on a bill intended to curb the president’s ability to... Read More

WASHINGTON — As House Republicans move closer to a vote on a bill intended to curb the president’s ability to sell oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., is pushing for an amendment to prevent her state’s coast from being opened for oil... Read More

January 26, 2023
by Dan McCue
Schiff Enters Field Competing for Feinstein Senate Seat

WASHINGTON — Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., confirmed one of California politics’ most poorly kept secrets, announcing Thursday that he is... Read More

WASHINGTON — Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., confirmed one of California politics’ most poorly kept secrets, announcing Thursday that he is running in 2024 for Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat. Schiff is the second candidate to formally enter what is expected to be a crowded field... Read More

Slotkin Preps Senate Run After Winning Tough Reelection Bid

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Just three months ago, Rep. Elissa Slotkin was one of the most vulnerable Democrats in Washington,... Read More

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Just three months ago, Rep. Elissa Slotkin was one of the most vulnerable Democrats in Washington, fighting an expensive campaign for reelection in a Michigan district that Republicans were sure they could retake. That was all a distant memory recently as Slotkin... Read More

January 25, 2023
by Dan McCue
House Republicans Vow to Advance Strategic Petroleum Reserve Bill

WASHINGTON — House Republicans vowed Wednesday to move ahead with a vote on a bill restricting the president’s ability to... Read More

WASHINGTON — House Republicans vowed Wednesday to move ahead with a vote on a bill restricting the president’s ability to tap the strategic petroleum reserve, despite a promised veto from the White House. Speaking to reporters at a news conference held at RNC headquarters, GOP Conference... Read More

January 25, 2023
by Dan McCue
War of Words Heats Up Over GOP Plan to Abolish Income Tax

WASHINGTON — Democratic leaders from the House and Senate on Wednesday blasted away at a GOP proposal to do away... Read More

WASHINGTON — Democratic leaders from the House and Senate on Wednesday blasted away at a GOP proposal to do away with all income and payroll taxes and replace the lost federal revenue with a massive hike in the sales tax. “This plan is dangerous and it... Read More

January 25, 2023
by Tom Ramstack
Justice Dept. Sues Google Again Alleging Monopolistic Ad Tactics

A Justice Department lawsuit filed Tuesday against Google accuses the Internet giant of illegally acting like a monopoly with its... Read More

A Justice Department lawsuit filed Tuesday against Google accuses the Internet giant of illegally acting like a monopoly with its digital advertising technology. The lawsuit filed in federal court in Virginia seeks a court order to break up Google’s grip on online advertising sales and to... Read More

News From The Well