On social media and in the news feed, it’s hard to scroll without stumbling across a story about baby boomers, millennials, or more recently Generation Z. However, there is a generation that is often left out.
Mark Putnam, 2010 University of Georgia graduate, is co-founder with fellow UGA alumni of The Fast Times, a weekly e-newsletter targeting Generation X. With a nostalgic twist of the ’80s and’ 90s , each article mixes the popular culture of Gen X with today’s crucial topics.
Every Friday, The Fast Times publishes a new article that tackles an issue affecting both Gen X and adjacent generations, educates readers about youth, culture and jargon, and highlights an MTV-style clip. Every Monday a second email newsletter, The Mixtape, is released with a themed Spotify playlist and a collection of links to that week’s pop culture events.
Showcase Generation X
The Fast Times is meant to bring together generations living in inexplicable times, ranging from those who grew up as the world’s first generation after the internet was invented, to the younger Gen Z growing up during COVID-19.
“There are many parallels between Generation X and Generation Z throughout the lifespan, facing macro-global events with the ultra-rapid evolution of technology,” Putnam said. “We want to create a smart conversation between Generation X, their children and their parents from the perspective of people who grew up in strange times.”
Putnam said he and his co-developers decided to target Gen X because of the marketing divide that existed for people born between 1965 and 1980.
“There are still more than 60 to 80 million [members of Gen X] around the world, but they’re not heavily marketed, ”Putnam said. “Generation X is at the top of their game, but there isn’t necessarily a product for them. So that’s what we’re trying to build.
Design-wise, The Fast Times is reminiscent of the popular zines of the ’80s, where people made magazines that were small and easily distributed. Their creators often gave them away for free to increase the spread of their opinions on music, film and other cultural enthusiasts.
Each new post is meant to generate an effective and informative conversation on issues important to encourage dialect rather than division.
“We’re not necessarily trying to take an angle or a perspective, but mostly we’re trying to show both sides of a situation,” Putnam said. “I think it’s been refreshing for this audience because we’re not trying to start fights or create a generational war. We are trying to create a place where people can remember but also learn something new.
Connect the generations
During the Fall 2021 semester, Jennifer Osbon, Professor of Digital Marketing at UGA, will guide her students through studying The Fast Times to understand its business plan, social media approaches, and growth opportunities. from a product and social point of view.
Steve Denker, board member of the UGA Digital Marketing Committee, will work closely with Osbon and his students on marketing and branding.
“It’s about bringing a real-life experience to your classes,” Denker said.
Denker said that by highlighting the parallels between Gen X and Gen Z, UGA students might find a connection to The Fast Times.
“Many of our generations are similar in terms of not asking for permission, taking risks and taking risks, doing what feels right and being true to ourselves,” Denker said. “That’s why [The Fast Times] is not just for Gen X. It’s something we think students at UGA and everywhere would love to read.
From there, the Fast Times team looks forward to continued brand growth and the potential exploration of other digital media avenues.
“We’d like to switch to podcasting where we sit down two people of completely different ages and backgrounds to talk about the commonalities that they didn’t even realize they had,” Putnam said. “We have big plans for where this thing could go.”