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 use cloth diapers, and a lot of my coworkers don't quite understand this. They aren't condescending, per say, but I do think that they judge my less mainstream parenting style. Also, several of my online mommy Facebook groups can be VERY judgy.” –Female, 26, IL

Last spring Gap made headlines by voluntarily raising the company’s minimum wage to $10 an hour and let loose the viral hashtag #LetsDoMore, which has seen 90 million social media impressions to date. The fashion brand has continued to develop its ethical stance via powerful posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, recently supporting the U.N.’s #HeForShe movement and using social media as an outlet to promote women’s equality in the workplace. Though their “Dress Normal” clothing campaign may be missing the mark, their social media strategy speaks to young women in a way that they can support. (Forbes)

International news outlet Al Jazeera has introduced “Pirate Fishing,” an interactive game that lets players act as journalists investigating an illegal fishing trade. As Millennials shift their focus from traditional news sources, the game intends to bring readers “deeper into the story” for a more immersive experience. Other media outlets are seeing similar value in creating interactive story telling through gaming: BuzzFeed is currently putting together a team dedicated towards game development. (Digiday

The U.S. Navy is looking to mentorship as a way to adapt its highly regimented training routine to fit Millennial work expectations. While Millennials may not want to be friends with their superiors, they want to feel respected and receive constructive feedback, so Gen X commanders have started mirroring parent relationships with students as a way to connect and instill a sense of family values. (Businessweek)

Twilight author Stephanie Meyer and Lionsgate have announced a new project in the works titled “The Storytellers—New Creative Voices of The Twilight Saga”. The series calls for female directors to create short films based on Twilight characters, with the top five being chosen by a panel of talented females that includes Octavia Spencer and Julie Bowen. The final products will be screened on Facebook, hoping to attract new audiences with a social-media-first push. (Vulture)

Moms began ruling social media with the surge in mommy bloggers and online communities, but a recent poll of the demographic shows that social media overload may just be #TMI (too much information). 60% of new moms are considering unplugging completely from social media, and feel pressure to appear to have a perfect life online. When asked to name their turnoffs, Millennial moms named sharing too much and too often, along with too much marketing content on their feeds. (Mediabistro)

Our daily insights article, available to Silver and Gold tier subscribers, illuminates a facet of Millennial culture and helps subscribers to understand the "why" behind the "what." Drawing from our ongoing collection of proprietary data, our deep-dive desk research, and our 10-year history of studying this generation, we figure out what it all means for brands and marketers. (Ypulse)

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