Language is one of the most obvious ways in which one generation separates itself from another. Fashion, music, and politics take a while to change with the times, but new ways of communicating can be thought up in a matter of moments. These days, all it takes is being in the right place and at the right time on the internet to launch a phrase that could come to define an entire generation (or at least, way too many thinkpieces).
This has never been truer than for Generation Z. As the first age group to grow up almost entirely online, it’s no surprise that their slang has multiplied at lightning speed — and it’s got everybody else puzzled over that time they kept seeing chairs in the TikTok comment section.
Of course, young people today aren’t the first to do this. Millennials got there first when it comes to spreading words in this way. For some, their cringey social media presence won’t let us forget it. As internet elders, it’s not uncommon for them to think they have a monopoly on contemporary lingo.
However, this is far from the case nowadays. Just like most 80s kids don’t go around emulating their Boomer parents by calling things groovy, Zoomers do their best to avoid copying their Harry Potter loving predecessors.
This is especially true when it comes to emojis. If the ’95 and earlier crowd just about got to grips with using these little pictograms in a pretty conventional way, the next generation have created a whole other dialect with them. We’re not just talking about the crass usage of the eggplant and peach here; there’s an emoji for every relatable feeling, and it’s not always obvious what that is.
Luckily, @genwhyscarlett is here to update everybody who feels out of the loop. A millennial who’s currently at college and shares a dorm with a number of Zoomers, she’s produced some videos to explain how her younger peers are using their alternative keyboard these days.