On Catfishing

manti-teo-catfish

Catfished.

What is a catfish and why are so many concerned about catfishing?

A catfish, as described by Urban Dictionary is someone who pretends to be someone they are not online to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.” The term, and an MTV reality show centered around the phenomenon, are derived from a 2010 film of the same name.

However, while the term has existed for some time, it recently came into popularity when the case of college football player Manti Te’o‘s relationship hit the press. Manti Te’o apparently led a one-year long online relationship with a woman who claimed to be Lennay Kekua. After his girlfriend died of cancer, it was later discovered that she didn’t exist at all — she was merely an online persona created by a man who knew of Manti Te’o. The man in question later confessed to being in love with the football star.

Since then, there has been an explosion of interest: countless media outlets, social networks, and offline discussions have centered around catfishing and the illusions created by online relationships. Many have become more cautious about building online connections, worried that they too may be duped by someone hoping to forge a relationship or simply looking for a laugh. Relationships experts and writers have dedicated segments and articles to catfishing, how one can avoid being catfished on the Internet, and how to spot a catfish.

silhouette-computerAs always, catfishing highlights the need to be aware and vet all possible associates. If you’re seeking or have found a potential partner online, it is wise to take steps to make sure that you know who you’re dealing with and connect offline in a way that you can be sure that the way a person presents themselves is who they are in reality.

On the other hand, catfishing shows that many are still weary of online relationships. While many have been fooled and swindled offline, catfishing has been used as an example of why online relationships just don’t work. Yet catfishing is not exclusive to relations created in the online realm — anyone can be fooled by another person and stories of such existed much before the World Wide Web was created.

My thoughts on catfishing? Since I’ve previously written about the positives of online dating, it’s probably important to mentioned that is also good to keep your [virtual] feet on the ground. Things aren’t always what they seem. But don’t get too caught up in the hysteria and enjoy your online connections for what they are: another way to forge the bonds and mental stimulation most of us desire as human beings.

What is your perspective — any other thoughts on catfishing?

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8 thoughts on “On Catfishing

  1. I suppose it’s important to verify the other person’s identity as soon as possible. To meet this person in real life, for example.

    He/she might still be a fraud, but this is now at the usual realm of real life dating.

    I think nobody should pursue an online relationship for too long. It’s better to meet in real life as soon as possible. Not just because of catfishing – though that’s an important thing to keep in mind – but also because people online are not the same as in real life. It’s a different sort of communication, etc. To see if you two are good for each other, you need to see if you click in real life.

  2. Did the “lady” post pictures of “herself?”. Asking because, though a lot of us are gullible, I find men more so because they’re easily distracted by the outward, which history has proven to be detrimental to them, but yet…….can’t really feel much empathy, except to agree with Mira…..again!.

  3. Mira, agreed. Offline vs. online can be very different. You can get along well with someone online and have it be a completely different story offline. Or, over time you get to know their real life personality and decide it’s not really for you.

  4. foosrock,

    ‘Did the “lady” post pictures of “herself?” ‘

    Of course! How else would he have agreed to be in a relationship with her? 🙂

    The pictures were of an actual woman, named Diane O’Meara:

    He also faked his voice on the phone to make it sound like a real woman’s voice, for their phone conversations…He was really serious about this!

    “I find men more so because they’re easily distracted by the outward, which history has proven to be detrimental to them”

    I’d very much agree on this, unfortunately. It seems to me he was a bit caught up in her looks, apparent “cuteness” and the idea of them together.

  5. Wait, wait… They’ve been in a relationship (for how long?) Exchanged pictures, talked on the phone. And then she “died” of cancer? ???

    And for all this time the guy never asked her to do a video chat or to meet her?

  6. I think a video chat was requested, but it never occurred due to some reason or another.

  7. Mira,

    Lol, they were in a relationship for a year and yes, she “died” of leukemia, on September 2012.

    He did ask to video chat with her but she refused at first. Then eventually she agreed to FaceTime and while they were video chatting, he said he couldn’t see her — all he could see was a black screen. But she was saying, “I can see you. How come you can’t see me?”

    ROFLMAO…Sorry, it’s funny although it is sad for him.

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