Why TikTok is Talking About The ‘Gen Z Shake’

1 min read
Gen z shake millennial pause

TikTok is obsessed with the “Gen Z Shake”.

Warning: Once you know about the Gen Z shake, it’s impossible to not notice it in every TikTok video.

What is the Gen Z Shake?

  • Content creator @homegirlzay coined the term Gen Z shake in a TikTok video in January. It describes the way Gen Z users grab their phone and start filming a video right before placing the camera on a stable surface. As a result, the video shakes at the start.

  • The Gen Z shake is the generational equivalent of the “millennial pause.” The term describes the way millennials take a split-second pause before they start talking in a video in order to make sure the camera is actually recording.

  • The term “millennial pause” was first coined by TikTok user @nisipisa in late 2021 — when she noticed Taylor Swift do a brief perceptible pause at the start of her videos.


@homegirlzay I figured out what’s genz equivalent of the millennial pause! ##millennialpause##genz##fyp ♬ original sound – homegirlzay


Note: Anyone born between 1981 and 1996 is considered a Millennial, and anyone born from 1997 to the mid-2010s is Gen Z or a Zoomer.

Why it matters: The Gen Z shake reveals a lot about their relationship to the internet.

  • The millennial pause is an unconscious act by millennials and a technical hangover from using older camera technology that did not start recording instantly.

  • However, writer Kate Lindsay says that the Gen Z shake is more of a performance to make their video appear spontaneous and authentic instead of planned out.

  • Lindsay also points out that Zoomers will start recording a video before they have swallowed their food for this low-effort appearance.

  • However, content creator Coco Mocoe says that the Gen Z shake should be interpreted more empathetically. Mocoe points out that Gen Z grew up on the internet and are expected to be online whether they like it or not. The Gen Z shake is their last ironic act of rebellion against this culture.

Looking to the future: What will be Generation Alpha’s digital quirk?