Youth today in Western and Eastern cultures are tribal blenders. They no longer belong to one specific youth tribe or culture, but too many, chopping and changing. Social media has seen the rise of the BLENDER, or as the guys from Pedestrian TV call it, ‘ SLASHIES.
Blenders are all about creating their identities (both on and offline) via mashing together elements of different subcultures to create ‘blends’. Just as they’re into remixed music, art, cinema, they’re also into remixing their own self image. Think of them as Emo SLASH Supergeek, Surfie SLASH Supergeek Entrepreneur Slash Eco Warrior. Sasha Molitorisz in his Youth Tribes piece states, ‘shallow membership of many tribes is replacing embedded membership of one tribe’.
Being a hybrid blend is in in 2010. Social media has turbo charged the opportunities for Blenders self expression. You just have to look at any 21yr olds Facebook photo page to see that impressing your mates is about showing off how many different events/experiences you’ve been able to cram in to one summer. It’s also the fact that through technology, anyone can become an expert in a subculture – just spend 45mins scanning a fashionista blog and you be considered at least knowledgeable about a certain fashion genre.
Tribal blending is as much about young people’s internal resistance to definition by culture around them, they’re constantly looking to be chameleon like and change their stripes based on what or who grabs their fancy. As a 21yr old Sydney Uni student told me last year “If there’s one thing I don’t want to be viewed as, it’s being one dimensional’. The tribal blending and the hybrid nature of youth means that marketers have to be sure they don’t pigeon hole youth by assuming that all Indie Hipsters are into Punk Grunge for example. I believe what engages young people is the cultural mashing of fresh and interesting social objects which create a new perspective for young people to see the world through.