Digital Dating And The Catfish Phenomenon

HandsA Catfish “is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances” according to UrbanDictionary.com.  About two months ago, most Millennials, and certainly most adults, didn’t know what the term meant despite the release of a 2010 documentary of the same name. Now, it’s become a common catchphrase in culture, is the subject of a hit reality show on MTV, and is national news following Manti Te’o’s scandal. Millennials are redefining dating in the digital age, and unfortunately that sometimes means being misled online. We recently surveyed 989 13-34-year-olds about the concept of being Catfished and how they feel about online-only relationships.

Having a relationship that solely exists on the Web is more common among Millennials than one might think. Two in ten (22%) say they’ve been in an online relationship before, and nearly this same percentage (19%) believes that an online relationship is just as meaningful as an in-person relationship. This generation has grown up forming friendships and relationships on the Internet, so it’s no surprise that they feel close to others through a screen. One Millennial even wrote an article for us earlier this year about how the Internet enables friendships that might not otherwise be possible. Yes, online friendships and romances often lead to physical meetups, but Millennials still view this way of getting to know someone as socially acceptable. Texting, tweeting, IMing, and video chatting are normal ways for them to build or further a connection. Moreover, Millennials value being constantly connected through technology; they appreciate knowing that their friends or significant other is just a click away.

A recent article in Jezebel

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I can’t live without my smartphone. It's my navigation system, entertainment, knowledge device, and many other things.” –Female, 25, IL

Blue and black, or white and gold? Never has such a simple question gone so viral. If you haven’t yet heard of #TheDress, a picture of the controversial frock was posted on Tumblr yesterday afternoon by a user who wanted others to weigh in on what colors it is. Since then, it has caused the internet to go up in flames, and millions have passionately banded behind one of two sides, some see blue and black while some see white and gold. In less than 12 hours, the BuzzFeed article asking “What Colors Are This Dress?” received 25 million views. As we’ve said before, young social media users are culture creators, their collective social power can make the mundane into a trend—they’re certainly doing that and more with The Dress. (New York TimesWired)

The Millennial nostalgia series reboots don’t stop coming: Netflix is now bringing back Inspector Gadget and Danger Mouse. The site will be streaming five new kids’ shows in an effort to reach more young viewers, and the inclusion of these already-loved characters could potentially please their parents as well. Inspector Gadget, which originally aired from 1983 to 1986 and got a movie in 1999, will have 26 new computer animated episodes premiering exclusively on Netflix in March. Netflix has already announced reboots of Magic School BusCare Bears, and Popples, and hopes that the nostalgic content will lead to “co-viewing” and garner them fans from multiple generations. (Stream DailyUSA Today)

Shake Shack is amassing Millennial fans. The beloved New York-based fast casual burger establishment already epitomizes much of what young consumers are looking for in dining—fast casual, a modern look, friendly staff, and natural ingredients—and it’s gaining even more of a following thanks to a very strong social media game. Above having creative and well done ‘foodtography,’ the brand is constantly engaging with followers, reposting content, responding to their comments, and running contests like “Burger Beats,” which invites musicians to submit their music for a chance to have it played at Shake Shack locations around the world. (Digiday)

Telltale Games, the studio that created the popular The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones video games, has its own series in the making. Telltale is known for their TV-like “episodic” game design, and their first foray into original content will reportedly be a “super show,” described as a video game, TV show hybrid. Each episode will include a scripted portion as well as an interactive piece that is integrated with the show’s narrative. Telltale’s CEO calls the project "a very natural evolution of the interactive storytelling expertise we've pioneered." This unique style of entertainment could be on the rise, and film company Lionsgate has made “a significant investment” in the studio. (The Verge)

Target’s had somewhat of a tough 2015 so far, between backlash for body shaming and closing its Canadian stores, and they’re making some proactive moves to increase their appeal to young consumers. The chain will be upping spending on digital marketing efforts, and is “getting ready to reinvent its food offerings.” Food, health, and social responsibility remain important to younger consumers, so emphasizing efforts to expand their natural and organic products is likely a smart move. Target is also adding more brands that appeal to Millennials to their Made to Matter collection, including Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, KIND, and Ben & Jerry’s. (MediaPost)

Looking for a quick Millennial stat to get you up to speed before a strategy session? Searching Ypulse is the best place to start! Silver and Gold members have access to 10,000+ articles, 20,000+ curated Millennial news items, 2 billion peer-generated opinions from our mobile, social Q&A network, and thousands of statistics on Millennials drawn from our bi-weekly national survey of the generation. You search can begin and end with us. (Ypulse)

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