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What Would Gen Z Do? Through the Lens of Kenyan Tiktoker Charlette Wangui Gakuo

Charlette Gakuo, a 21-year-old Kenyan Tiktok content creator, explores the distinctive behaviour of the Gen Z populace in her viral debut, the “Gen Z As” series, and she cracks ribs while doing so.

With Gen Z being the largest generation as of 2019 and with the oldest ones still only 26 years old, their presence and influence can only swell further over the next few years. Though they did not invent modern technology, they perfected its use, turning what was primarily for communication into a creative hub and squeezing coins out of it. Not only are Gen Z the biggest consumers of online content, but they are the force pronouncing today’s culture. All this sums up the point that Gen Z is a good venture investment and, most of all, my excuse to spend hours online each day.

Charlette Wangui Gakuo, better known by her fans as @quigakuo is a content creator from Kenya. Gakuo, like most Tiktokers from Kenya, is fast rising due to her content going viral. You know, she got big enough, quickly enough, to make Gen Zers and non-Gen Zers alike feel they were missing out on an experience. She has therefore amassed over 35k followers on Tiktok and over 700k likes, not to mention that her videos get almost half a million views on the platform!

Gakuo found herself on reposts and WhatsApp statuses through the viral Tiktok video “Gen Z as Chebukati“, which entertained netizens amidst the tension as Kenyans awaited the declaration of the president-elect after the August 9th general elections. For context, Chebukati is the commission chair mandated to conduct elections and release election results in Kenya.

The concept of the video is how Gen Zer would behave if they were in the position of the said commission chair. It involves sentiments such as “Chebs the guy”, Chebs being the short form for Chebukati; which is a casual way to put emphasis on his crucial role in the process, given he is the chair, hence mandated to declare the results. Another thing is “Hii yote ni Mimi nasoma? ama nitawapostia wajisomee” which is Swahili for “Am I supposed to read all this? (holding the document); or maybe I can just post it so everyone can read it on their own.

The level of playfulness and fine jokes in what would otherwise be a tense, adrenaline-pumped situation could only be deciphered by the mind of a Gen Z.

From her content delivery, Charlette somehow scans the depth of the feelings. Her content style depicts a future in the hands of the Gen Z demographic, which would settle on little beyond the “It’s never that serious” assertion. Not to discredit this generation anyway.

What mirrors this, too, is her depiction of a situation where a Gen Zer is kidnapped. Her concerns are why they picked her, which she expresses on a light note and even proceeds to ask them what they would charge for her ransom, advising them to at least not disappoint her regarding the price for her worth. It is funny, right? Relatable, maybe, or sometimes even cringe-worthy, but most of all entertaining, which serves the platform’s purpose.

@quigakuo

Gen Z being kidnapped….i loved making this one😂#tiktokkenya #fyp #genz

♬ original sound – Charlette Gakuo

The TikToker goes further to emulate a Gen Zer as a psychologist, telling an insomnia patient that she is also suffering from the condition; a self-mocking joke suggests its rampancy among the particular generation.

Fair enough; all this can be defended on the basis of Gen Z’s unique and authentic selves; a creative and self-expressive nature, or a flexible, self-directed, and autonomous nature. You name it! Backing this up strongly is Dixie D’Amelio; a major TikTok celebrity who sits firmly in the Gen Z demographic; when asked what she likes most about the demographic, she spoke of their fun-loving nature. “How we can kind of turn everything into a joke sometimes,” she replied.

Unlike the millennials, who often try to fit in, Gen-Zers are fighting to stand out. Therefore, an airbrushed representation is not really a priority for them; rather, they embrace uniqueness and authenticity, which is clear from Gakuo’s style of content in the videos she does. After all, status comes from being singular. 

What, then, are some of the key takeaways when creating engaging content for Gen Z?

First, it is compulsory that the content be updated with the newest trends. One will need to leverage entertaining yet trustworthy and authentic content to engage Gen Z. Gakuo’s content keeps up with real-life trending topics, to which she adds a sense of humour.

One of the platforms most recognised by Gen Z is TikTok. The reason is because of its short-form content. Furthermore, the platform values originality, personality, fun, and innovation, which Gen Z values over the polished aesthetics that some platforms provide. Gen Z values instant gratification and hence values video content that catches their attention.

While Gen Zs value organic content, content creators should also be succinct and have the ability to hook the audience. Given that social apps are fast-paced due to the wide availability of content, one should be able to attract and hold the audience’s attention.

Content creators should endeavour to build relationships with their audience. One thing about Gen Z, they are more into people than brands and autonomy. Once Gen Z enjoys your content, they are bound to camp at your timeline, building that loyalty.

The content should reflect your audience’s needs. There is a need for them to feel incorporated for them to appreciate that content. You can engage them by getting to know each other or introducing a challenge.

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