Trend Alert introduces you to the latest trends that are impacting the daily lives of 16-24s.
In 2020, following the news was often overwhelming and anxiety-inducing for young people. As a result, we saw increased interest in lighthearted, relaxing forms of entertainment, from mobile gaming to binging sitcoms and reality TV. For some, escapism took the form of focusing on a different kind of news; celebrity gossip offered all the drama without the terrifying personal or political consequences.
In the 2000s, celebrity gossip migrated from the tabloids to sites like TMZ and Perez Hilton. Over the past five years, we’ve seen a further migration of this content to social media, led by accounts such as The Shade Room, which features a mix of celebrity news, memes and commentary. Another influential account is Comments By Celebs, which keeps followers updated on celebrities’ interactions on social media, taking over the curation role traditionally filled by a media outlet or publisher.
Back in March 2020, as the pandemic dominated the news, an Instagram account called Deuxmoi began posting blind items. As its following grew, the account became known for sharing tips submitted by industry insiders, and the buzz around Deuxmoi only increased as it correctly predicted many of the year’s big celebrity news stories. This lent credit to its content, even though the account’s anonymous owner makes clear that they are simply sharing rumours, not verified information. Rumours from Deuxmoi are often spread across social media and even reported by established celebrity news outlets.
Deuxmoi isn’t the only celebrity gossip account that has blown up during the pandemic. The TikTok Room, which reports on drama between TikTok stars, has grown from 300,000 to over 2 million followers since March. The account shares news about TikTok stars which is not typically covered by the media, but has huge appeal to the Gen Z audience.
These new social media-based publishers challenge the traditional media brands to up their game if they want to keep younger audiences engaged. While the accounts are run by one person or a small team, they are constantly fed with fresh content by their followers, who see the account owners as part of the community – more like a forum moderator than a journalist or editor. This enables the accounts to be first with the news and to generate more engagement, such as comments and shares, which in turn drive further growth. To compete with these new challengers and adapt to the Gen Z media landscape, established publishers need to be more reactive and community-driven, while also remembering the distinct strengths they have, such as access to talent and the authority of a trusted brand name.
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