Questions With A 23-Year-Old: Bryan Spencer

Want to know what's on Millennials' minds? We chat with them in our frequent feature "Questions With a Millennial" to provide you with answers and insight. In today's edition, we spoke with Bryan Spencer, a 23-year-old currently living in China.

Questions With a MillennialWhat are 5 things you couldn't live without?
1. iPhone
2. Kindle Fire
3. Credit Card
4. Amazon.com
5. Running shoes (Asics)

How do you typically watch TV? On a set or streaming? Alone or with family or friends? 

I usually stream TV — generally alone, but if a show is popular (“Walking Dead,” “Homeland,” “Game of Thrones,” “Office” … I could go on for a while!) I will watch it with friends on a TV set.

What's your preferred social network and why?

I like Facebook because I can chat with my friends back home. I generally use “WeChat,” an iPhone app that connects to the Chinese social network QQ … it’s cheaper than texting and all my friends here in China use it

About how often do you check your cellphone?

It would probably be easier to say how often I’m not looking at it! I generally just check for messages/emails and don’t surf the Internet on it very often or play games.Bryan 

What's the last thing you watched on YouTube?

The Vice Presidential Debate

How do you typically consume news, if at all?

I consume news online unless I’m taking the train or flying, and in that case, I’ll grab a paper. In terms of websites, I read The Atlantic, Economist, WSJ, CNN, and BBC. I also like news aggregators such as Reddit, and of course I watch “The Daily Show.”

What brand do you think really understands your generation and why?

I may be cheating because this is such an easy answer, but...Apple. People pay a premium for the brand because of Apple’s marketing and influence.
 

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“I honestly wouldn't like to communicate with brands, unless it is to solve problems their brand is causing.”—Female, 27, MI

Why don’t people seem to care as much about fake followers on Instagram as on other platforms? Because while Facebook and Twitter are bashed for feeds full of fake news, no one holds Instagram to the same standard. The image-centric platform is inherently “a hyperreality,” where no one’s candid shot is truly spontaneous, and photo-shop freely fills feeds. Where does it get tricky? With Influencers, who are expected to garner true engagements for brands. (Real Life)

Influencer marketing faced another tricky situation this week when PopSugar replaced influencers’ affiliate links with their own. RewardStyle and its Instagram product LikeToKnow.it’s network of content creators’ photos and sometimes entire feeds “were copied to the site via “thousands of ‘falsified vanity pages’ containing millions of images belonging to the network’s content creators.” The group is planning on seeking a class-action lawsuit on their intellectual property and for the lost revenue that PopSugar made each time a customer clicked to purchase. (Racked)

Colleges are giving out more merit-based aid to win over top students. Tuition discount rates have risen to a record 49.1% for first-time, full-time freshman attending private universities, up over 10% from ten years prior—according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers. By using data-driven analysis to calculate just how much aid is likely to lure a top student in, colleges are seeing success upping their prestige. However, the practice has also “created a closing of the doors for low-income students,” according to one policy analyst. (WSJ)

Apple is betting that young consumers could bring back magazines via a magazine subscription service. The tech company took a gamble by buying Texture, a subscription service for over 200 titles that’s been dubbed the “Netflix of Magazine Publishing.” The app aggregates articles into a single browsing experience, rather than being separated by title, and pays the included publications. Apple has announced plans to integrate the service into their Apple News app, the latest incarnation of their less-than-successful Newsstand app. (Bloomberg)

Function of Beauty is customizing hair care, blending up shampoo and conditioner for each customer based off a five-question quiz. Beauty companies big and small have hopped on the Customization Nation trend, and Function of Beauty takes that to the next level with their hyper-personalized hair care set. They're customizing everything from the fragrance to the chemical components, and even going so far as to print the purchaser’s name on each product. The founder explains, "Every single person is unique and different...why negate that instead of catering to it?" (Paper)

“[Allison Raskin] is open about her struggles with mental health, and she is also funny.”—Female, 19, CA

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