According to Pew Research Center, zoomers, also known as the Gen Z population, will make up 20 percent of the US by the end of 2022; they also coincidentally are the most diverse generational group thus far. However, and maybe related to this, they also present quite the conundrum to understand and pin down, including their take on humor.
Zoomer humor is a struggle for just about anyone outside their generation. And it’s not the generational divide per se that’s perplexing; that’s always existed. It’s more about grasping the meaning of zoomer humor, which is nonsensical, ironic, often un-funny, and changes at rapid pace.
As a mom of both millennial and zoomer kids (I’m a Gen X-er), I often find myself wondering if my children are just being ‘individual’ or if their differences are due to being products of their respective generations. It’s with this in mind that I approached the concept of zoomer humor, actually.
So in the quest to learn more about my own kids, I looked into zoomers as a group; comparing zoomers to other generational groups; and zoomer humor examples as I tried to define zoomer humor overall.
And then I shared how you can use all of this to inform your own interactions with the little zoomers in your life! I hope you find the topic of zoomer humor as interesting as I did in researching it!
Zoomers- A Brief Overview
So before moving on to zoomer humor, we need to define what’s meant by zoomer, so here’s a brief overview. Then we’ll move to specifics.
Zoomers make up nearly 20 percent of the US population as of 2022 according to Pew Research Center. They were born between years 1997 and 2012, though there’s some wiggle room with those dates plus/minus a couple of years either way. Essentially they’re today’s ‘young people.’
Some Famous Zoomers:
- Indie Pop Singer Billie Eilish, known as much for her ever changing hair color as she is for her brooding song lyrics
- Political/Environmental Activist from Sweden, Greta Thunberg, (in)famous for her rebuke to world leaders while giving a speech in 2019 at the United Nations (Read more about Greta in ‘Who Is Greta Thunberg?‘, now part of the popular ‘Who Is’ children’s book collection series)
- Singer/Actress Zendaya, who started out as just another Disney darling but easily moved into adultish roles in hits Dune and the (Tom Holland) Spiderman franchise
- Jeon Jung-kook, a K-Pop singer from the uber-popular BTS group
- Barron Trump, youngest son of 45th president, President Donald Trump, and his wife, Melania
- Jake Paul, notorious YouTuber and MMA fighter/Pro boxer
- Broadway star, Jahi Di’Allo Winston, who began in a break-out role playing young Simba of The Lion King (Links above indicate an Amazon affiliate)
With each generation known for specific attributes or character traits, stereotypically of course, zoomers have come to be known as socially active; open-minded; concerned; intelligent; well-educated; progressive; and pro-government.
Prior to the pandemic of 2020, zoomers’ future looked economically brighter than their millennial older brothers and sisters. But that’s changed now, just another casualty of Covid-19!
Their socially active/open-mindedness traits are perhaps what put them at odds with older generations, as zoomers lay blame for the world’s problems like pollution, climate change, and overwhelming debt at the feet of boomer grandparents and great-grandparents; Gen X-er parents; and yes, even Millennials who are in some cases just a year or two older.
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Zoomer Defined (AKA Generation Z)
A zoomer, according to Merriam-Webster, became short-hand for the Generation Z population (born around 1997-2012), as recent as 2016. It kind of rolls off the tongue much easier than Gen Z-er. Prior to this connection, it was actually linked to baby boomers, that is, ‘active baby boomers’…zoomers.
zoomer: a person born in the late 1990s or the early 2000s; Generation ZMerriam-Webster
Doesn’t it seem ironic that the word zoomer was linked to the polar opposite generation, baby boomers? But in a way, it only makes sense that boomer grandparents/great-grandparents would give something of themselves (e.g. their name) to their grandchildren ‘zoomers’, right?
Other Names For Zoomers:
- Ipad Babies
- Generation Z
- Tik Tok Generation
Looking at zoomer memes is a logical way to access zoomer humor. To refresh your memory, or to educate you initially, a meme is an image or captioned video that circulates the internet social media platforms. Typically it includes a picture or interactive graphic with text.
Memes are made in various ways, from selecting your own picture/image and adding text to using one of the myriad of apps specifically for making memes (some popular meme-creating apps are PhotoDirector; Mematic; GATM Meme Generator; and Memedroid). Most meme apps are free but have paid memberships that include upgrades and enhancements for your memes. After creating your meme, you save it to your particular device and share with friends/family on Twitter, Face Book, Instagram, or other.
Each generation trends to certain kinds of memes.
- For instance, our older generation, known as boomers, gravitate to cartoon memes of wrinkly old ladies; cats; and references to the good ol’ days. Common topics include degrading technology, the younger generations, and their spouses!
- Generation X-ers, who are the immediate younger generational step from boomers, tend toward memes of Star Wars characters, The Office, and Minions. Their texts often lampoon the war between boomers and millennials as they take a slacker approach to life’s daily grind, and of course, the merits of growing up in the 80s!
- And then there are the millennials. Besides trending #OkBoomer! memes, millennials like to use memes to express their depression, anxiety, and poverty; and enjoy incorporating images of super heroes like Batman and cartoon characters they grew up with such as SpongeBob SquarePants.
So now this takes us to ‘zoomer memes’ which can be used to inform us on zoomer humor.
Some recent popular memes from zoomers incorporate their concern for activism and international thinking. But also zoomer memes trend to partying, slang, and video games. In reality, it seems it’s hard to decipher zoomer memes because the most popular, trending ones often mean nothing.
Let’s look more in depth at this in the next section.
What is zoomer humor?
Zoomer humor is nonsensical, unpopular, ironic, atypical, ever-changing, and rebellious. For example, if it is so badly unfunny, zoomers will find it funny. If it was funny a long time ago, they’ll likely find it funny now. But once any zoomer humor becomes mainstream, it loses it’s appeal.
In other words, zoomer humor has a lot in common with every generation before it too. All tweens and teens want to stand out from anything dad or grandma liked! Nothing is more ‘unfunny’ than something that makes grandma laugh, to a zoomer, then!
Some Commonalities to Zoomer Humor:
- It’s not popular or mainstream. Once it hits the TV news or dad posts about it on Facebook, it’s no longer funny to zoomers.
- It uses nonsense- so the analogies don’t make sense. Zoomers like to put weird or odd things together for no other reason that because they don’t belong.
- It incorporates their slang terms. And again, if mom or dad understand the slang, they’re not used by zoomers anymore.
- Uniqueness is highly valued. And it’s more and more challenging to be unique given social media and how quickly things circulate around the globe!
- It’s low quality. This just means zoomers find it cool to alter or adjust tech and don’t care that they use low-budget ways to do so. It doesn’t have to look expensive or top-notch for them to enjoy it.
How can parents relate to zoomer humor?
To be honest, parents won’t get zoomer humor and if they did, zoomers wouldn’t find it humorous anymore. So what are parents (or grandparents) to do?
Parents can relate to zoomers through humor by discussion. Don’t try to see the humor but let your zoomers tell you why it’s funny, if they will. The main thing is to not ridicule them about it, or say it’s not funny. Just enjoy the moment you’ve lured your zoomer into talking with you!
For instance, if your zoomer is laughing about something he or she is watching or a meme they found funny, ask them about it. And then just smile. Resist the urge to make any more comments, especially negative or sarcastic ones.
Is zoomer humor okay for kids?
Parents shouldn’t be worried about zoomer humor being appropriate or not, anymore than any other kind of humor. In general, zoomer humor is just fine. Most cases it’s just random silliness that won’t make sense to you.
Like with all social media and entertainment, though, you should be privy to what your kids are exposed to. So don’t be afraid to monitor devices and such, keeping in mind your individual child’s level of maturity, your family expectations, and so on.
Special Note: Mainly you can gauge appropriateness of media and influences of humor by your child’s actions and behavior. If you notice your child behaving inappropriately, disrespectfully, or using a lot of put-downs and sarcasm after engaging in zoomer humor memes and such, then that’s cause for limiting it.
Zoomers Vs. Boomers and Millennials
It’s natural to compare generations. I know I’ve done this with my own kids, being that they’re all 5 years or so apart. As such, there are certain traits that are more associated with one group than another.
Boomers consider themselves hardworking. They’ve worked all their lives, from jobs as teenagers to entering the workforce right after high school, or college graduation for some. They’re solid citizens, being homeowners and voters, and loyal to their jobs until retirement. They’ve also come to known as grumpy, curmudgeons, who spend most of their retirement either golfing or complaining, or both.
Compared to boomers, zoomers have a few things in common. Unlike some other generations, zoomers are also thought as hardworking and committed, just to different things than boomers before them, such as environmental awareness and social change.
|Boomer||Born from 1946-1964|
|Gen X-er||Born between 1965 – 1980|
|Millennial||Born from 1981 – 1996|
|Gen Z/Zoomer||From 1997 – 2012|
|Gen Alpha||Between 2010 and 2025|
When zoomers are compared to millennials there’s as much in common as not. Being that the generations are closer in age, they have a lot of similar interests. Yet, they also look at things differently. Where millennials take a more introspective focus like on their depression and anxiety and a dim look on their future, zoomers also see this dim view but take a proactive approach to change, or so it seems.
Zoomer Humor Punchline
So the zoomer humor punchline is that unless you’re a zoomer, you won’t get their humor. It’s not meant for you to.
Gen Z has a unique approach to what they find funny (just like generations before them) and don’t care for others to understand it. In fact, if others do ‘get’ zoomer humor, then zoomers characteristically won’t find it funny anymore.
For parents, and grandparents, then, it’s best not to try to understand zoomer humor, and certainly don’t try to mimic it! Rather focus on the conversation of your zoomer sharing their humor with you, and enjoy that!
And unless you want to halt this sharing altogether, don’t criticize or complain about what they tell you!
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