Death and Reality TV: Has Reality Gotten Too Real?

This week, MTV is dealing with the fall-out from the death of one of their reality stars. Shain Gandee, a castmember of the Jersey Shore in Appalachia show Buckwild, and two companions died of accidental carbon-monoxide poisoning while going late-night off-roading—a pastime that Shain was often shown enjoying on the show.
 
The death of the reality star has some questioning the future of the show, which had begun filming its second season. But a larger question could also be asked about the future of reality TV at large: has the line been crossed where the fun antics that once drew young viewers in, have too heavy a consequence to keep them watching? Did everything just get a little too real?
 
Young viewers want reality TV that lifts them up, or makes them feel better about themselves through the magic of schadenfreude. But when the scale tips too far in the side of morose, the fun of watching comes to a screeching halt. Reality TV holds a unique place in entertainment for viewers, who love to see “real” people with over-the-top drama, but are wary of being too reminded of the stresses or sadnesses of their own lives while watching. It’s possible that Gen Y viewers could turn away from the genre of reality as it exists now if it continues to showcase the things in life they’d just rather not see.
 
Reality TV charts new territory when it comes to where the boundaries between public and private lie. Though the shows might have a staff of writers, these are real people being featured, so hiding their flaws and tragedies is not a possibility. This is not the first death of a reality star that has been glaringly played out in the public spotlight. Bravo drew criticism for continuing with the second season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills after the death of Russell Armstrong, the…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “It's cheaper and more fun to make my own Halloween costume. Also that way my costume will be different from everyone else's.” –Male, 17, PA

In stories of cyberbullying, Formspring gained a reputation for being an epicenter for negativity and hurtful anonymous comments between teens. The platform shut down last year thanks to that toxic history, but in its wake new site Spring.me wants to be “the friendliest social network,” joining the fight for positivity in social media. Like Formspring, Spring allows Q&A discussions and chats, but the site wants those chats to facilitate making friends. Spring’s slightly older userbase (an average age of 24) is one factor they hope will keep the environment relatively gossip and troll-free. (TechCrunch)

In our most recent Ypulse Quarterly trend report, we talked about Chasing Neverland, a trend of Millennials wanting to recapture the carefree feeling of their childhood. One example? The pre-work dance parties that have become popular in New York, LA, San Francisco and Atlanta. Daybreaker, the company throwing these energetic events, emphasizes health and wellness, and says the parties are all about having a unique, fun, in-person experience. According to one organizer, “There’s an outcropping of excitement for interactivity and real community experiences. Millennials—they’re tired of online.” (Mashable)

Millennials are getting serious about saving. According to a new study, the number of young workers enrolling in 401(k) plans increased 55% in the first half of 2014. A major factor behind the increase is the “sheer number of Millennials entering the workforce.” Today they make up 25% of workers, and by 2020 that number is estimated to climb to 50%. (Time)

The rumored anonymous Facebook app is here: Rooms is a mobile network that aims to bring people together based on mutual interests instead of mutual social connections. Users can create a room around any topic, from bee keeping to World of Warcraft, and other people can join those rooms using any username they choose. Room accounts are not connected to Facebook accounts, and the app is based off of the idea of online forums more than recent iterations of social networking. (Fast Company)

Archie, Betty and Veronica are coming to TV: Fox is developing a “subversive take” on the iconic comic series. The show,Riverdale, will reportedly be a combination of the small-town teen sagas of Dawson’s Creek and the weird, mysterious happenings of Twin Peaks. The plot will focus on the darker elements lurking under the “wholesome façade” of the town, and other characters from the Archie franchise will be involved—Josie and the Pussycats will reportedly play a “big role.” (SlashfilmUproxx)

Did you know that Ypulse tracks social media trends in our biweekly surveys? We found that Vine, Twitter, and YouTube have seen steady growth since November 2013, gaining 9%, 10%, and 13% more Millennial users, respectively. Our Silver and Gold tier subscribers explore helpful visuals that detail our tracked trends in the Data Room on Ypulse.com. (Ypulse)

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