Why Catfish Matters

Season two of MTV docu-series Catfish: The TV Show debuted to 2.5 million viewers, and was the number one cable telecast of the day among viewers ages 12-34, a demo otherwise known as Millennials. The show is a hit, and signifies larger shifts in reality TV tastes and their entertainment desires. Here are some of the reasons that Catfish matters, and what it says about Millennial viewers.

 It puts the real back into reality.

It might seem ironic that realness is so big a part of a show about people who are on TV for telling lies, but one reason that Catfish matters is that it is telling the truth about real lives of real people. We talk a lot about authenticity and Millennials’ desire to know all the facts and be told the truth. Though reality TV has a genre name that implies it is all real all the time, Millennial viewers have gotten used to the fact that reality shows are staged, and that “unscripted” programs most likely have a staff of writers working behind the scenes. Catfish shows a shift in the genre, and a re-emphasis on the showcasing of real lives, real emotions, and real moments. If it ever came out that elements of Catfish were faked, there is a good chance that it would seriously damage or even end the show. Actual reality in this case is a vital part of what makes the show successful. Millennials want real, and Catfish serves it up in a way that few shows aimed at them in the past have done.

 It is anti-aspiration.

There are no makeovers here, and most likely not even a happy ending for the young people who participate. Watching Catfish is not about wanting what you see. When hosts Nev and Max pull up to the house of the catfish, they are usually visiting humble places, in small towns. The young people on the show are often unhappy with where they are and who…

 
 
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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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