- The Washington Times - Monday, January 5, 2015

More than a third of millennials say connecting with others online and forming “elationships” is just as meaningful as face-to-face relationships, according to the Cassandra Report published by Deep Focus, a marketing expertise company.

Deep Focus CMO Jamie Gutfreund says it is positive that millennials view online relationships as equally meaningful as in-person.

“By embracing these “elationships,” young consumers are connecting with people on a global basis in ways that previous generations could only imagine. Consequently, they’re becoming a more empathetic demographic … contrary to popular belief,” explained Ms. Gutfreund.

The study revealed 64 percent of respondents are aware of the importance of an online reputation, and 50 percent of the respondents even select clothing each day that will look good in photos that may be shared on social media.

The results suggest both the Internet and digital age have impacted millennials’ attitudes toward relationships. “For Gen Y, the physical world and the digital world are one and the same, creating a never-before-seen desire for digital intimacy,” said Ms. Gutfreund.

For example, 32 percent say they are close with someone they only met online, and more than 76 percent say they have friends on social media sites that aren’t really their friends.

The digital age hasn’t only impacted attitudes of millennials but also their behavior. Roughly 25 percent use fitness trackers more than in 2013, and 12 percent of millennials in the report say they use “wearable tech like Google Glass.”

Ms. Gutfreund also addressed the fact that roughly 74 percent of millennials say travel is a life goal. She advised, “Employers looking to capitalize on Gen Y’s eagerness to cross borders should leverage word-of-mouth in other markets through these elationships.”

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