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'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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