Gen X & Y use Net to spark Valentine fire

February 7, 2006

Gen X and Y are sparking the Valentine's Day romantic fire with some technological assistance.

According to AT&T Inc., "Tech-savvy is the new suave this Valentine's Day," in a poll that focused on Cupid's broadband activities in cyberspace.

The company said Tuesday that "young somethings" are expressing the immortal sentiment of "Be mine" with instant messages, music downloads and romantic online reservations this year, "leaving traditional over-the-counter chocolates and flowers to the Casanovas of eras past."

The survey by the phone and Net giant reached more than 1,000 18- to 35-year-olds.

"So many of today's younger generations live the digital lifestyle," said Kieran Nolan, vice president consumer marketing, AT&T broadband. "We're all experiencing the ongoing evolution -- and convergence -- of communications and entertainment as fast-paced, always-on, go-anywhere technologies, like these, continue to grow roots in the mainstream."

Many of those polled said that instant messaging might have helped Romeo and Juliet to avoid their tragic end with nearly 60 percent recommending it for the star-crossed lovers.

At question, of course, is what Romeo would have IM'd -- "I am fortune's fool."

A little over one-fourth (28 percent) said they would write a love song and send a link for downloading to express love to their sweethearts this Valentine's Day.

Also according to the survey sample, other activities that may pave the way for romantic surprises this Valentine's Day include:

-- making online reservations for a night out (53 percent)

-- sending interactive e-cards with original love poems (19 percent)

-- creating custom music playlists to secretly upload to a crush's digital music player (15 percent).

When asked to describe their love in terms of music downloads, nearly 60 percent said "Crazy in Love" was the song to symbolize their love life this Valentine's Day, and 60 percent would send "How Sweet It Is" to a sweetheart.

Of those polled who were somewhat revengeful, 46 percent would anonymously send "(Ain't) Missing You" to an ex.

AT&T noted in its release that downloading music has become a snowballing trend, with music fans downloading 420 million songs legally over the Internet worldwide in 2005 -- a 20-fold increase over the past two years, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

Analyst estimate that broadband users will spend more than $1 billion on online music this year, with sales expected to reach $4.5 billion by 2010, the company said.

Other broadband activity AT&T checked on was whether downloading romantic movies might help express the strong affections of today's 18- to 35-year-olds. Asked what movie would symbolize their current relationship, 41 percent of respondents chose "Love Actually" as the movie they would download from the Net this Valentine's Day, followed by "Shakespeare in Love" (27 percent), "Much Ado about Nothing" (15 percent) and "Ten Things I Hate About You" (13 percent).

The survey was conducted among a sample of 1,086 adults between the ages of 18 and 35 living in the United States. Interviewing ran Jan. 18 to Jan. 23.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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