Great things happen when we connect IRL. Compared to digital interaction, we can forge more fulfilling relationships with a more diverse group of people – and have deeper, more meaningful conversations that can spark real change.
After months of isolation, lockdown and restriction during the pandemic, that kind of close face-to-face contact with loved ones is sorely missed by many around the world.
Absolut has captured the spirit of young people in particular, during one of the most turbulent and disruptive years in living memory – surveying 4,000 Gen Z* from the UK, USA, Germany and China.
A quarter of those 4,000 people shared that they have experienced feelings of social media loneliness, sadness and stress during 2020.
Our lives are enriched when we engage with people who think differently and have different lived experiences to us. Not only are parties and social engagements more enjoyable, but we also have our perspective on the world challenged outside of the online echo chamber.
COVID-19 may have put the brakes on many of our travel plans this year, but 80% of those surveyed would trade the chance to escape to sunnier climes for restoring those crucial face-to-face connections with friends and family.
More than half revealed that they value IRL conversation more than WhatsApp group chats and Instagram tags. Now, young people are getting ready to ditch memes and blue ticks in favour of creating change through human connection.
And the trials and tribulations of 2020 have made Gen Z more woke than ever about the kind of social change that’s needed.
80% believe the world must change for the better. And despite the restrictions and hardships they’ve faced this year, 1 in 5 would rather vote for a political candidate that matched their values than take a much-needed holiday, or get a promotion at work.
In fact, nearly 90% of Gen Z would be willing to make a personal sacrifice to improve the state of the world, from active participation in protests to purging toxic friendships.
In an encouraging glimpse of a brighter future for us all, Gen Z would rather make the world equal and inclusive (26%) than make a million dollars (23%).
Absolut’s research showed that although more than half of Gen Z are having their most meaningful connections online right now, over 70% still crave those diverse real-world connections that can enhance their lives.
Of course, in practice in-person conversations have never been harder in the age of lockdowns, masks and social distancing. But authentic moments of connection have never been more essential for all our health and wellbeing.
Until face-to-face conversations can become commonplace once again, we can all strive for more meaningful and intimate virtual interactions, swapping superficial engagement and quick-win serotonin boosts on social for deeper discussion of issues that affect us all.
In short, we need to talk more – about the things that matter.
“The pandemic has made us all realise how much we value IRL moments,” reflects Tad Greenough, Chief Creative Officer at The Absolut Company. “That basic human need to be together has never been more obvious.”
“Our brand’s mission has always been to bring people together,” he adds. “When people get together in person and engage in meaningful conversations, they become more empathetic and open to different points-of-view. That has never been more relevant.”
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While social contact is restricted, platforms such as IGLive play a key role in keeping Gen Z connected on global issues, while feeling engaged on a personal level with influencers and activists they follow daily.
Leading by example, Absolut has partnered with social activist and award-winning British musician MNEK and youth activist Char Ellesse to continue the conversation.
Ellesse is best known for her ‘Girls Will Be Boys’ social movement, which champions freedom of expression and breaks down gender norms. She and MNEK will discuss the striking findings of Absolut’s global research, share their personal passions, and encourage real change where it matters most.
Tune into their conversation on IGLive: simply visit @absolutvodka on 14 January 2020.
You must be over legal drinking age to participate; absolut.com/itsinourspirit