Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has created a series of AI chatbots named “Gen AI Personas” in an effort to appeal to a younger audience. However, the company’s attempt to connect with Gen Z users through these chatbots has left many scratching their heads. In this article, we’ll delve into Meta’s endeavor, explore the mismatched humor, and discuss how it might be missing the mark when it comes to Gen Z.
Understanding the Gen AI Personas
Meta’s Gen AI Personas are currently in the testing phase, with an official announcement expected at the Meta Connect conference. One of these personas, “Bob the Robot,” has been designed to cater to Gen Z. Bob’s character is reminiscent of Bender from the animated series “Futurama,” featuring sarcasm, sassiness, and sardonic humor. However, there’s a significant disconnect here. Gen Z, with members aged between 11 and 26, may find Bender’s humor outdated, considering that “Futurama” originally aired between 1999 and 2003.
Gen Z Humor: A Shifting Landscape
Meta’s attempt to tap into Gen Z humor appears to fall short. Gen Z humor is often characterized by its absurdity, rapid pace, and “anti-humor” elements. It’s meant to be somewhat nonsensical and far from the “superior intellect, sharp wit, and biting sarcasm” that Bob the Robot embodies. This discrepancy suggests that Meta might be at risk of amusing millennials who believe they are funny, rather than resonating with Gen Z.
Snapchat’s Approach: A Lesson in User Interaction
Snapchat, in contrast, has taken a different approach with its AI chatbot, “My AI.” This generative AI offers a dry personality similar to ChatGPT. However, the humor doesn’t stem from the bot itself but rather from what users can do with it. Users shape the bot’s character by providing prompts, making the interaction more engaging and user-driven. As a result, the #snapchatAI hashtag on TikTok has garnered half a billion views.
Gen Z’s Mixed Feelings About AI Bots
While Gen Z has shown interest in AI bots like Snapchat’s My AI, it’s not an entirely smooth ride. Some users find these bots “creepy” or invasive, reflecting a broader concern among Gen Z about online privacy. The fear that bots might collect sensitive information has led to skepticism.
Meta’s Bid to Attract Younger Audiences
Meta’s focus on younger users is part of its strategy to shed its older Boomer image and appeal to a more youthful demographic. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has expressed a desire for Meta’s brands to become the “North Star” for young people online. Statista data reveals that only 3.4% of Facebook users fall in the 13-17 age group, with the majority being over 25. Instagram fares slightly better, with 8% in the 13-17 category, but the majority of its users are Zillennials.
Meta may need to adjust its Gen AI Personas and Gen Z humor. Gen Z is open to AI bots like Snapchat’s My AI, but you must appeal to their humor and privacy concerns. Meta and other platforms must adapt to suit the shifting preferences of their target audience to create a healthy balance of technology and humor that connects with youngsters as the digital landscape evolves.