The speed of the process of change taking place in the world today is rattling alone. Futurologists and sociologists predict that in the next 10 years people will experience as many changes as humanity has experienced in millennia.
These changes will directly affect future generations, particularly those born during the pandemic. I call this new cohort ‘Generation W’. Why ‘Generation W’?
As a homonym of ‘double you’, these are the people who ‘live’ in two worlds from their first years. Our physical selves exist in the real world, our digital selves in the virtual - in the world of games. The first metaverses are accessible to children from an early age - Instagram, Facebook, Minecraft, Fortnite, and in the near future, the evolution of Facebook and Instagram into Meta.
Traditionally, historians and sociologists engaged in generational analysis. Today, marketing and communications specialists should be at the forefront, observing generations not through the prism of historical cycles, but through their consumer preferences, views, habits, and the cultural and technological environments that drive them.
Future is already happening
This is not a distant future - for Generation W, the transition has already begun. Generation W has new incentives and motivations — they are more interested in digital goods and benefits than the physical incentives and material goods preferred by previous generations.
The new experience Generation W of switching between their ‘physical’ and ‘digital’ selves comes naturally to them. Generation W will prize their privacy and the ability to choose anonymity or publicity- both online and in the real world. At the same time, the new generation will not see anything strange in the primacy of the values of the digital world.
It is normal for them that dopamine and endorphins are produced not from owning or experiencing something in the physical world, but from acquiring digital assets, or experiences in their digital reality. Their upgraded avatar becomes more valuable than their physical appearance. It comes into contact with a much larger group of their peers, is more often visible and noticeable, and its appearance (unlike the physical self) is fully within their control.
There is every reason to believe that Generation W will value alternative currencies more and more. These may also be cryptocurrencies, which for Generation W are an asset that conforms to their outlook, without control and borders, but at the same time with greater trust.
Digital assets — the rights to a particular property of a digital avatar, are also increasingly becoming an attribute that brings joy, pleasure and endows status to Generation W. Working in digital worlds, solving virtual tasks, will be the most prestigious sector of the economy for Generation W.
Employment in Esports, in the creation of virtual content, in the issuance and provision of virtual currencies, will become an increasingly frequent and elite type of employment. As a result, working in virtual worlds will become a privileged job, while working in offline reality will become the lot of blue-collar workers.
Generation W is already growing up among us, and the sooner we start thinking and creating conditions for its development and implementation, the higher the probability of securing an eco-friendly transition to the W-world.