I wonder how different the world would be if Mark Zuckerberg had teenage daughters.
Data and insights are always more meaningful, the more relatable you make them. It’s why I write this email the way I do – spewing my every intimate detail, short of the medications I take (like Crestor) or my sex life (full stop).
My hope is that by relating to you on a personal level, you’ll gain greater fidelity and actionability from our data, which will make you marvel at our capabilities and eventually spend piles of money buying our stuff. I don’t write this thing for charity.
Back to Zuckerberg. I wrote briefly last week about the staggering correlation in our data between Instagram usage, unhappiness, and negative self-image among teenage girls. It deserved more than a tease. Teasing, by any entendre, is bad.
When I showed Maddie and Noelle the data, they laughed – not a comical laugh, but a sardonic one. Duh!
As we talked, I realized how wise they are about the evils of social media for young girls. It was somewhat comforting, mostly depressing. The only social agony worse than feeling judged or isolated on these platforms is the agony of feeling judged or isolated for not being on them.
It’s a microcosm of the plight of women of all ages. This social pressure – this trap – only snowballs. Over time, women are compelled to conform to a standard of motherhood, of caregiving, of workplace demeanor, of partnership. The only sin worse than not excelling in these roles is not taking them on.
COVID compounded these challenges. Make sure your kids are thriving in school. Make sure your at-risk parents are safe. Do your job – or take one for the team and leave your job. Eat healthy. Exercise.
Just don’t forget to schedule your family pictures. Because you have to put them on Facebook.
Our society asks too much of women and girls. On every possible dimension in our data, it’s getting worse, not better. Now, a bunch of old men (and a few women) in robes and legislatures are even taking away some of their most personal choices.
Facebook didn’t invent keeping-up-with-the-Joneses any more than Instagram invented the objectification of women. Blame the first two-story cave or low-cut loin cloth for that. Though, it’s worth noting that Facebook’s predecessor was a website that rated Harvard coeds on their “hotness.”
I digress, again.
You could argue over how much Zuckerberg and the other tech titans are responsible for the pressure faced by women today. But you can’t disagree that there are few people with more power to make it better.
If only the problem were more relatable.
Here’s what we’re seeing:
Vaccination for young kids is particularly divisive and that’s saying something. Pretty much everything COVID or politics-related (yes, that’s redundant) breaks roughly 70-30. You know the 30. But the issue of vaccines for sub-12 kids breaks the mold. It’s much closer to 50-50. Twisting the numbers is the fact that over one-third of vaccinated parents are somewhere between “I’m not sure” and “Hell no.” I don’t want to even think about the political fight that will ensue when they start talking about mandatory vaccines in schools. Yikes.
The impact of social isolation among Boomers during the pandemic is something we should talk about. You don’t need a dashing, poetic, data super-genius like me to tell you that COVID has been brutal for older people. The ones lucky enough not to have been killed by our dysfunctional response to the pandemic have spent most of the last 18 precious months of their lives isolated from their friends, kids, grandkids, and neighborhood diners. Sadly, 13% of Boomers say they have zero – literally zero – close friends. If you’re in this group, call me. I love making new friends.
COVID caution is levelling off even as Delta rages. I called this “fatigue” a few weeks ago but I’m not sure that’s what it is. I just think a lot of people have settled into a matter-of-fact point of view about the pandemic. They’re vaccinated, they wear masks where they should – or they’re not vaccinated and they don’t care. It’s pretty much been status quo since mid-August. And I’d be surprised if it changes until everything changes.
People who are super concerned about the environment aren’t much less likely to drink bottled water. Americans are fairly split over where they get their H2O – between filtered, bottled, and well. The pro-enviro crowd is less likely to drink bottled water, but not by a lot. Side note: Aquafina and Dasani are the most popular bottled agua brands. Side-side note: There’s a celeb named Awkwafina I’m not cool enough to have heard of who is uncannily popular among people who drink Aquafina. Side-side-side note: Nothing makes my blood boil more than my kids leaving behind a bottle of water with one sip taken out of it.
Maybe the most fascinating thing I learned this week is that Groupon is still a thing. Okay, that’s not fair. I still get spammy emails from Groupon that I haven’t bothered to unsubscribe from. I just didn’t realize it was big enough to warrant us studying it, which somebody here was smart enough to do. For one thing, Groupon users are much more likely than the average alley cat to feel comfortable dining in at restaurants – and much less comfortable traveling – right now. They’re also more likely to be thinking ahead about the holidays. In other words, depending on what industry you’re in, Groupon users might be exactly the people you should be targeting (ethically, that is).
Maddie is an oat milk statistic. We added Oatly to our grocery list about a year ago and it’s been there to stay. While Noelle drinks two gallons of old-fashioned cow’s milk every week, her older sister is the semi-pescatarian (+bacon) of the house. According to our data, she fits the archetype – young, female, fast-casual food and Starbucks lover. As far as I know she isn’t big into CBD, but what the hell do I know? I was already into, um, CBD when I was 17. But times were different then. Right?
A couple more studies from this week:
- Runners are extroverts and other things;
- QR codes just won’t catch on, except among Twitter users.
And the most popular questions:
- How often, if at all, do you rewatch a TV series you’ve already finished?
- When someone asks you to take a photo for them, do you typically take just one or several?
- Do you think you have what it takes to be a TV game show host?
- What is your go-to convenience store hot food?
- How comfortable do you feel with eating in front of people while on a video call?
Answer Key: Other than The Sopranos and Band of Brothers, not very often; Several, of course; Hell yes, I would be awesome at it; I ate a million pressed Cubanos at 7-11 in college; Extremely uncomfortable – gross.
Hoping you’re well.
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