Online Love, Lies & Deceit: Catfish Edition

I’m sure a few you have have been watching MTV’s new show Catfish, based on the documentary by the same name. If you haven’t, I’ll give you a quick rundown on what it is before I get into the actual blog. If you plan on seeing the movie, skip the next paragraph and go watch the movie. The following paragraph is a spoiler.

Catfish was a documentary shot by a young man named Nev who was an art collector. He came across amazing artwork from an 8 year old Youtube sensation/ child prodigy and became a huge fan of hers. He began corresponding with the girl and her mother and they’d send him paintings etc. The little girl would even email him personally. Through out this, he found the girl’s older sister on Facebook, a pretty 20-something year old singer/songwriter. He was smitten. The two would talk on the phone, chat on Facebook and text each other daily. They would discuss their future together, from love to marriage and even he taken her virginity someday. He was taken aback by her beauty, as well as her beautiful voice….that ended up not quite being hers. By mistake he ends up finding the exact same songs on Youtube, sung by someone else. Songs that she said she dedicated to him. When asked about it she said that she didn’t write them and they were cover songs but it was too late, he was suspicious. So he set out to meet her. He drives across the country to the address that he had for her, where he would send her letters/cards, only to find out she never lived there and it was abandoned house. He then went to go met her mother and younger sister, who he had an ongoing friendship with. Long story short, the 8 year old wasn’t a child prodigy at all — she was a regular 8 year old. She didn’t paint those pictures, her mom did. She didn’t email him, her mom did. Was he ever really talking to the older sister online? Nope! He’s been talking to the mom all along and although the mom was married she had fallen in love. Nev turned his experience into a movie and that movie has now birthed the popular MTV series Catfish: The TV Show.

End Spoiler.

Catfish the TV Show is about people who have found love online with someone they’ve never met in person or even so much as seen on Skype. When it’s time to meet the other person never shows up and some of these people haven’t even spoken to their online love on the phone. Nev and Matt (from the movie) help these people finally meet their online loves, not without doing a little research first though. On the television show some people end up being who they say they are, some don’t, but you never know until the end and it becomes a game of Clue to find out. It’s really an awesome show that I’m sure they didn’t realize would become some popular.

Is it wrong to look for love online?


Absolutely not!! Lets face it, within the last few years we have probably spent more time on the world wide web than we do out in the real world. Face it, these are facts, we are plugged into the matrix. This is why websites like Match.com, BlackPeopleMeet and Christian Mingle are a lucrative business. People are afraid of face to face interaction due to rejection and frankly it’s easier to find what you want by clicking through a profile than going out to the club and taking chances.

I can honestly say that I have made great “real life” friends from people who were once nothing more than social media profiles. It’s not uncommon for people to fall for someone online at all. A simple click through a person’s profile can tell you almost anything you need to know. From a Facebook page you can see a person’s photos, who they interact with, how they’re feeling, what they’re doing, it’s like knowing that person before you ever have to truly say ‘hello’. You fall in love with what someone has wanted you to see and as naive as it is, you don’t ask any questions. Even I have fallen for someone I’ve met online. The difference is, I met them offline before the true love began.

You have to understand that online profiles are nothing more than pieces of information people put out that they want you to see. They could very well be omitting information, just like regular dating. Honestly, can you measure a man’s aint-shit-ness solely on his Facebook profile? Probably not. Can a few inspirational quotes on Twitter tell you whether a man is as wife beater? Not hardly. Fact is, it’s a lot easier to hide behind an online persona than it is in real life. Offline the truth eventually comes out.

So how do you avoid being lied to?

 

Always keep in mind that people online can and will deceive you just like people offline do. Don’t hold one to a higher standard than the other. In 2012, with every computer having a web cam and every phone coming equipped with internet access and a camera or two there is absolutely no reason that someone can’t provide you with photos or a Skype date. If you continuously ask for a Skype session and you’re repeatedly given an excuse, that person has something to hide. Doesn’t necessarily mean it’s their physical appearance, but something about them is shady.

Also make sure you keep a clear line of communication. At least talk to the person and hear their voice. Not talking to someone more than twice in 2 years is a bit extreme, I don’t care how busy they claim to be.

Never forget Google is your friend. A lot of times when someone is lying about who they are or what they do, they’re lying about something that is easily verifiable by Google. If some random guy tells you that he is an NBA Basketball player, it’s nothing but two clicks to find out if that is true. Stop believing everything someone tells you simply because it’s easier to do so. Fact is, they’re banking on the fact you may be an idiot and won’t look it up.

Lastly meet them in person. The cost of transportation is not high enough for you to carry on a relationship with someone whom you have never seen face to face. Meet them in a public place, feel them out. If they are not who they say they are in any facet, you can make the decision to leave or to stay but at least you can say you took the steps to meet. Again, if you keep getting excuse after excuse, they’re hiding something, save yourself the trouble.

Have you ever fallen for someone over the internet? How did that go? Have you ever found yourself in a “Catfish” situation? Leave your comments below!

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