Building Social Capital: Gen Z Hobbies You Never Knew Existed

Gen Z stands at a crossroads. They're simultaneously the most entrepreneurial generation and the first to fully exist on social media. Whether their motives are more narcissistic or philanthropic – the self-proclaimed post-millenials are often striving to get likes and followers.

The combination has sparked a shift away from what older generations consider traditional hobbies – jigsaw puzzles, board games, and gardening.

Instead, their hobbies are taking a more social turn. Youth born between 1997–2012 participate in hobbies that can get them social props and build their online influence.

New data collected by Samsung gives us some unique insight into the most popular hobbies of Generation Z.

While some may perceive the sole goal of these young people is to become famous by appearing in the next viral TikTok or YouTube Short, there may be more to the story, according to a recent report from British trend trackers WGSN.

While Samsung discovered young people do participate in many outdoor and indoor hobbies, here are a few of the more unusual activities you may not know.

ASMR

Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is the sensation of tingling that runs down your head or spine. Often the feeling is triggered by slow stimulating audio, sights, or touch, resulting in a relaxing and pleasant experience for the receiver.

Not everyone has an ASMR response, just as how not everyone will get chills from a powerful piece of music.

Content creators were quick to jump on the ASMR bandwagon, creating videos and audio designed to induce the ASMR state in their audience. If you’ve never tried ASMR or are unsure if you have an AMSR response, head to YouTube and find out.

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Rock Painting

Rock painting is what it sounds like, applying acrylic paint to rocks. But, despite the simple idea, there are thousands of examples of stunning painted rocks online.

Enthusiasts paint rocks to look like ladybugs, houses, cartoon characters, or geometric patterns.

Rock painting is, in fact, nothing new. Other cultures have been painting rocks for centuries. In Tibetan regions, rocks are painted with mantras or Buddhist imagery.

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Geocaching

Imagine a cross between orienteering and Pokémon Go. Geocaching involves searching for secret “treasures” that players hide anywhere on the planet. To take part, players need to download the app from the Geocaching website.

Geocaching is an excellent hobby for couples or those that enjoy getting outside. The app guides them to the location of the cache, and it’s their job to find it. Caches often contain a log book they can sign to prove their find but may also hold surprises, which makes geocaching like treasure hunting!

Toy Voyaging

Remember Flat Stanley? Toy voyaging is a variation on the same idea. While it may sound absurd – people sending toys on voyages around the world – many are taking part in this new hobby.

Why would anyone want to send their toys and stuffed animals to different countries? Primarily for photos to share on social media.

There are communities where anyone can register as hosts for other people’s toys or find hosts for toys. The host then shows the toy the sights, takes a photo, and posts it online for the owner to see and share. Toys are then sent on to the next host and location.

Extreme Ironing

It’s hard to believe that extreme ironing exists, but it does! Extreme ironing competitors take creases seriously. They find the most isolated and often dangerous locations to set up their ironing boards.

Extreme ironing occurs on mountain tops, underwater, and even while skydiving. Some consider bungee-ironing a subgenre of extreme ironing, perhaps the most extreme.

Hydro-foiling

Advances in both design and manufacture have made a hover-like experience achievable over water. The hydro-foil is a device attached beneath a surfboard, wakeboard, or other watersport equipment (even boats.) Using the hydrodynamic lift of the water, much like the aerodynamic lift of a plane, the rider and his surfboard can ride the waves while never touching the water.

Sound like magic? That is how many experienced hydro-foilers describe it. You have to see it to believe it.

Bubble Nails

Bubble nails are a visually pleasing and unique nail polish effect. Unlike most nail art, bubble nails don’t require much skill or artistic talent, which means anyone can do it at home cheaply and get something share-worthy.

The technique involves applying ordinary soap bubbles to freshly gelled or polished nails and then curing or allowing them to dry. The soap bubbles leave the effect behind, which can be highlighted with other nail art techniques and promptly shared online.

Hobbies for Likes: A Waste of Time

Activities centered around social media and designed to get likes, retweets, and followers don’t have to detract from the activity and can add another level of enjoyment. But is it a waste of time?

While there's plenty of evidence that Gen Z overuses their devices, social media’s incentive for people to try new things or get outside to discover new sports is really a positive.

Like most things, there is more than one side to the story. So why not try out one of the hobbies above? You may even get the urge to share it online.

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This article was produced by Face Dragons and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.


Originally from the U.K Greg has lived in Asia for over 15 years. Fluent in a handful of languages, he ran a management consultancy before creating Face Dragons, he spends his time traveling around Asia, writing, taking photos, and drinking coffee.