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  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: “This holiday season, I’m buying myself a GoPro.” –Male, 28, MI

Teens may not be able to remember a time before the internet—but that doesn’t necessarily make them more internet-savvy than older users. Research in the UK found that only 31% of 12-15-year-olds and 16% of 8-11-year-olds could tell the difference between Google ads and Google search results, even when ads were labeled. The findings indicate that young consumers still need to “develop the knowhow they need to navigate the online world.” (The Verge)

Last week, Pew survey results showing that 40% of Millennials are “against free speech” that is offensive to minority groups were widely reported—but a closer look might prove those conclusions were a “false alarm.” Though there is no data to directly compare the question to, there are “numerous examples” that show that multiple generations have held similar views for decades. (NYMag)

Ypulse’s exclusive holiday shopping survey found 61% agree with the statement “I can't stand crowds and don’t shop in-store on Black Friday.” Their decision to shop from home is shifting the consumer holiday: the National Retail Federation found that more people shopped online than in stores during Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend. Major chains are adjusting by moving many of their big deals online as well. (WSJ)

Thought we know 35% of Millennial voters would choose Bernie Sanders if the election was tomorrow, there is still a long time before election day, and a new app is ready to educate about the candidates, the Millennial way. Voter uses the Tinder “swipe left/swipe right” format to help users to find the candidates and parties that share their views. A series of questions sort users into political pools, and give them a breakdown of the issues they agree and disagree on, as well as contacts and donation links. (PSFK)

Brands have been leaning into nostalgia and bringing back Millennials’ childhood favorites all year—and it isn’t close to over. Rumors are flying that the wonderfully disgusting Ghostbusters themed Hi-C Ecto Cooler is coming back for the release of the film’s reboot in 2016. Neon orange Ecto Cooler was originally put on the shelves in 1987, featured the beloved Slimer, and was so popular it outlasted the Ghostbusters cartoon. (AVClub)

Quote of the Day: “It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without some family drama.” –Male, 23, MA

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