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: “A ‘foodie’ to me is someone who takes pictures of every meal and follows multiple food blogs and pins a lot of food pictures on Pinterest.” –Female, 17, TX

ABC Family wants to be there for young women 14-29-years-old as they “navigate the next step” in their lives. To do so, they’re doubling their original programming with both scripted and reality series in the coming years, and stepping away from “trash-talking, train-wreck reality TV shows” to focus on more aspirational content. To keep up with their socially engaged audience, who spends an average of three hours a day on mobile, they’re launching a revamped Watch ABC Family app this summer. (Adweek)

Online voters could put a transgender Millennial man on the cover of Men’s Health. The magazine’s “Ultimate Guy Search” looks for men that embody their ideals of health and wellness, and thanks to social media and a strong LGBTQ community, 27-year-old trans male Aydian Dowling is the competition frontrunner by a landslide. There are both judges and a “reader’s choice” component to deciding the winner. A 2014 Ypulse monthly survey found that 87% of Dowling’s generation believe that LGBT individuals should be able to live their lives without discrimination and judgment. (The Daily Beast)

Michael Kors seems to have captured the hearts of teen girls: 39% of average-income girls choose Kors as their preferred handbag, up from 7% in 2012, while previously beloved Coach fell from 46% to 17% in that same amount of time. Teen shoppers are a powerful and influential bunch, and they’ve brought Kors “to new highs.” However, when brands become ubiquitous, as Coach did and some think Kors could become soon, sales can slow, making room for “hard-charging upstarts” like Tory Burch and Kate Spade. (Bloomberg)

For some time now YouTubers have been garnering just as much popularity as Hollywood celebrities, and it’s beginning to pay off, big time. According to Outrigger Media, CharlisCraftyKitchen, the largest food and cooking YouTube channel, is bringing in an estimated $127,000 a month. We should mention that CharlisCraftyKitchen stars 8-year-old baker Charli and her 5-year-old sister, Ashlee. Their amateur videos are among the successful channels that are providing marketers with a “tidy revenue stream” as they continue to garner millions of views. (AdAgeBusiness Insider)

Disney is tapping into the next generation’s interest in STEM to promote their upcoming movie Tomorrowland. The Create Tomorrowland – XPRIZE Challenge is asking kids and teens to envision themselves in the future and share what inventions they think would be impactful. Starting next week, creative thinkers between the ages of eight and 17-years-old can submit videos, images, or stories about their imagined invention or innovation and the influence it could have. Six winners will receive prizes to help move their ideas forward in real life, like a mentorship with a leader in their area of interest and a 3D Printer. (XPRIZE Challenge)

If you haven’t already noticed, Millennials care about their food. 47% consider themselves “foodies,” and 89% say that they’re open to trying new foods. How do we know? It’s not telepathy. Every other week, we reach out to our Millennial panel of over 60,000, asking 1,000 13-32-year-olds about current events, seasonal trends, changing attitudes, and new norms. The results of these monthly survey results are delivered to our Gold subscribers, and can be downloaded from our site. (Ypulse)

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