Sydney youth tribes- meet the SLASHIE


Just read an interesting article on Sydney youth tribes by Sascha Molitorisz where she profiled a handful of Sydney youth tribes. The most interesting part of the article was more the behavioural traits that are now crossing all elements of youth culture.

Last year I wrote abit about youth displaying CHAMELEON like behaviour whereby they dip in and out of different subcultures at any one given time and that they hate to be seen as one dimensional. They have splintered personas and their online identities are carefully constructed to reflect this. It was great to see my thoughts confirmed by Sasha who spoke about ‘shallow membership of many tribes replacing embedded membership of one tribe’. The emergence of social media platforms has meant that the opportunities for self expression have been magnified and kids these days are judged by how ‘interesting and diverse’ their Facebook pages are in terms of the experiences/photos/ events they are attending.

So as Sasha says, ‘tribalism is labyrinthine’, meaning it’s super complex and kids these days belong to many different groups, all at once. Kids today don’t just define themselves as an Emo or Gamer or Skater. This chameleon type behaviour is personified by the HIPSTERS who’s whole subculture is about picking different elements of other subcultures and mashing it together to form their own take on it. It’s all about the resistance to definition.

This has given rise to the SLASHIE – a term created by the boys at Pedestrian TV…a ‘slashie’ is a kid who sees himself as a complete hybrid..they’d call themselves a ‘DJ slash photographer slash skater slash entrepreneur’. Slashies are fluid beings, their self identity is being built around the fact that they lead multi-dimensional and quite spontaneous lives and over a weekend are more than capable of dipping in and out of different subcultural interest groups.

Sasha’s article is posted here and it goes into detail on the following tribes: The Emo’s , Supergeeks, Jock Dollys, Gangstas, Punk Lite, Glamazons, Techno Bohos and the mercurial Hipsters.  She’s hit the surface on urban tribes but if you dig deeper you’ll find alot more sub tribes for example there are many different types of ‘Gamer’ tribes who would form part of the Supergeeks as well as the fact that youth tribalism in Sydney and Melbourne is very much class and ethnic based, like in most big cities. But that’s a post for another day.

Youth Tribe #1: Extreme Livers (Skaters,Boarders,Riders,Freestylers..)

Always looking for spontaneous experiences

Always looking for spontaneous experiences

I’m going to explore many different youth tribes in the coming weeks. Some are mainstream, some are sub cultures. The first tribe are EXTREME LIVERS. These are typically guys aged 16-28 who desire non stop action. They crave the chance to try new sports and extreme activities. Whether you’re a skater, snowboarder, BMX’er, downhill biker, blader..these guys all share a passion for pushing their bodies mentally and physically until they break. From Friday night to Sunday night it is ON. There is no off swtich, these guys require constant stimulation. They live very spontaneous lives, if they hear that the surf is up or it’s dumping with snow, they are there that day for a crack. They love Jackass of course, anything that shows guys getting hurt, they’re into. This tribe has been around since the 90’s, but it transcends most subcultures. Marketers wanting to appeal to Extreme Livers need to push them, create competition within their tribes and create new experiences for them to try. Red Bull and the rest of the energy drink brands play here as well as some of the surf brands. Experiential marketing typically goes along way, as these guys are super tactile.