Instagram is no longer reserved for selfies.
For a long time, activists created shareable infographics to educate followers on current social issues. After the George Floyd murder in summer 2020, the popularity of infographic Carousel posts grew exponentially. Graphics shared information about everything from institutional racism, to climate change, to the stock market, and more. Many young people who could not go out to Black Lives Matter protests took to online activism as a way to stay informed and educate their friends and family about the issues.
@soyouwanttotalkabout is probably the best-known purveyor of these endlessly shareable graphic slideshows, an account that just celebrated its first birthday in mid-February. With over two million followers and thousands of interactions with each post, people might be wondering: how did this account find so much success with Gen Z?
A quick breakdown of complicated issues
Gen Z has a notoriously short attention span. These graphics don’t take too much time for us to consume. We can read through several while waiting at the drive-thru, taking the subway to work, or sitting at our computers between Zoom classes. As much as we like to be informed on the issues, we also don’t like to be idle; the infographic boom caters to both Gen Z needs.
Large letters, clean lines, and aesthetically pleasing black & white imagery makes these posts stand out in a sea of selfies and game ads. The titles are short (at most, four or five words) so that scrollers can know immediately if it is, indeed, a topic they want to talk about. Simplicity is most effective, but if you need a refresher on Gen Z aesthetics, we’ve got you.
Easily shareable knowledge
Nobody does social media like Gen Z, and no social media does visuals like Instagram. We share the posts to our personal Stories, connecting our own followers to the content we find compelling, and potentially starting important conversations. Sharing these posts shows others where our values lie— during the summertime infographic boom, accounts that did not get involved in the conversation were unfollowed en masse by socially conscious Gen Z.
Unafraid to talk about the issues that really matter
@soyouwanttotalkabout doesn’t shy away from complicated and emotionally heavy topics. The writing doesn’t pander to Gen Z with sad attempts at “youth-speak” or improperly used emojis. The account also uses inclusive language that doesn’t assume anything about potential readers. Gen Z is a cohort of thoughtful, curious, and educated people, and we can understand complicated material. So please, stop talking down to us.
Respect the gravity of the issues issues
Bad infographics are unmistakable. There’s something incredibly cringy about pastel pink flowers surrounding a cutesy script font that says “🌼All About Police Brutality🌼 ”. (Expect these poor attempts to be ridiculed on Twitter.) Well-made informational slideshows, on the other hand, have imagery that treats serious information with the respect it deserves.
These bite-sized galleries of information are an effective way to teach young people about the topics that matter to them (see also: short-form podcasts). Gen Z always wants to stay informed on current events (and we’re always going to be on social media), so the appetite for content like this is not leaving any time soon.
JUV Consulting is a Gen Z collective that works with companies to create purpose-driven and authentic marketing campaigns that engage young audiences. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to learn how to reach Gen Z, or sign up for our weekly newsletter, The Screenshot, to get Gen Z insights straight to your inbox.
Leah Butz is a Copywriter & Content Contributor living in Queens, New York. If you don’t catch her biking around on her 1977 Motobecane, then she’s probably at home baking a new bread recipe. Sometimes she posts on Instagram at @containsham.