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: “It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the food and getting ready for Black Friday” –Female, 19, CA

Brands are continuing to learn that labeling toys by gender is not always ok with the next generation. In the latest case, a photo of seven-year-old little girl reacting to a sign saying a superhero clock was a “fun gift for boys” has gone viral. The girl is a big fan of superheroes and told her mother the brand was “being stupid” by labeling a product she liked in that way—but really her facial expression tells the whole story. In reaction to the photo, Tesco has taken down gendered toy signs from all of its stores. (The Daily Dot)

Teaching kids about danger today involves a whole that parents probably didn’t have to contend with when they were growing up. Between privacy online and the dangers of technology overload, they could use a little help, and PBS Kids has launched a new show with exactly that goal. Ruff Ruffman: Humble Media Genius is a new animated series starring a “manic” dog (Ruff) who tackles a new technological issue in each episode. The show is streaming on the PBS Kids website and YouTube, and plans to continuously evolve to “keep pace with kids’ changing media usage.” (Fast Company)

44% of Millennials 21-27-years-old have never drank a Budweiser, and the brand is shifting to try and attract this new generation of consumers. New TV spots will drop the traditional Clydesdales and instead feature young people, and a new campaign will also involve music festival partnerships, and parties in college towns featuring Jay Z. But some are warning that to really appeal to Millennials, Budweiser shouldn’t look like they’re trying too hard. (TimePR Newser)

According to a report from BuzzFeed, more than 50% of Millennials 18-34-years-old read the site each month, which makes their reach higher than many TV networks, including CBS, NBC, FX, Comedy Central, MTV, and AMC. The report indicates that “BuzzFeed is definitely becoming a media destination among young people — not just a habitual browse,” and with the site continuing to build their video content, they could rival TV in even more ways. (Business Insider)

Tech is often blamed for isolating young users and disrupting real social connections. But interestingly, a recent study has found that teen loneliness actually declined between 1978 and 2009, which means today’s teens could actually be less lonely than their parents were. The study also found that though young people today are more independent, and less likely to join clubs, “they have less need for feeling attached to a large group of friends.” (CNN)

On an average day, 33% of Millennials spend money on fast food/take out, 26% spend on groceries, and 14% spend on dining out. Our tracked data trends have all the stats on that and more, thanks to our monthly survey of 1000 13-32-year-old Millennials nationwide. Our Silver and Gold subscribers get access to regularly updated charts following average daily spend and items purchased, with spending broken out by age and gender. We do the heavy data lifting for you, and we’re constantly adding new data to our trends. (Ypulse)

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