This entry is going to be a little bit of a departure from my usual play-it-close-to-the-vest repartee. This time, it’s personal.
iamRogue has a strange little documentary out called Catfish.[i] Ariel, a filmmaker, begins by documenting his brother, Nev’s, Facebook relationship with an 8-year-old artistic prodigy, Abby. As time unfolds, Nev begins a cyber-affair with Abby’s sister, Meg.
A huge fan of surprise and complex anagnorisis, I can’t tell you what happens next.
I can tell you that the film had my 16-year-old daughter and her 15-year-old friend on the edge of their seats. Friend15, who is not allowed to have a Facebook, is also not allowed to call home to ask the dreaded, “Can I stay longer?”
But this time, she did: “Mom, I know I’m not supposed to ask. I know. But there’s only 40 minutes left in this documentary and I have to see what happens. [Mr. Bad Witch] will drive me home after. I really won’t be able to concentrate on my chores,” she said with all sincerity, “if I keep wondering about this THING!”
“Yes, it’s really a documentary.”
“No, Mom, it’s not a found-footage horror film. It really IS a documentary.”
If that doesn’t have your attention piqued, I don’t know what will.
My point for telling you about this film is that I have discovered that “Catfishing” can happen to anyone.[ii] When we “put ourselves out there” on Facebook – especially those of us who use a pseudonym or eke-name, we can attract some real nuts.[iii]
How does one know when one is being Catfished? Unlike Nev’s Catfisher, a consummate and fastidious (fill in the blank with a noun that won’t give away the plot-twist), your day-to-day Catfisher isn’t going to be that good at it.
Friend Request – Seven Friends in Common
Seven’s not bad in a small town
However, the magnificent seven are all part of a weirdly clannish group – a hive-mind if you will. (So, we are really down to one friend in common.)
Went to a school that looks like a Pagan Seminary of sorts.
Info page on would-be seminary is empty. No Likes. No Info. No Nothin’.
A day later – –
Comment on a post.
Who is this person?
Four friends in common, all from the same hive-mind.
Commenter has a total of four friends.
Stuff like this has been going on for a week.[iv]
When you think about it, it takes a great deal of time to make a false identity.[v] Hell, Facebook takes a lot of time when you are just one real person.[vi] Think about it: You have to have an email account – and figuring out that damned captcha can take a good 10-15 minuts sometimes – and then you have to create a Facebook. Then go back and confirm your email (ironically all of this is in an attempt to keep falsies out). Then you have to flesh in a Facebook profile, complete with a non-descript photo — or swipe a photo from a believably attractive person in an online search. In which case, how are you going to find more photos of the same person? Who will you tag in group photos? The time-consuming bull-shittery that attends this prospect is massively astounding. I’m getting tired (and a little bored) just thinking of the various obstacles one would have to overcome in order to *successfully* create a false persona online.[vii]
Better to just get a real life, eh?
[i] This makes me think about the recent anti-noodling laws passed in my state. I keep saying, “You can lose an arm like that, son,” in my thickest backwoods chaw-chewer voice.
[ii] I am currently being Catfished. Badly. It’s pretty obvious.
[iii] In all fairness, I knew my Catfish back when I was The Real Slim Shady, long before my Bad Witch days. The term “nut” still applies.
[iv] “You can lose an arm like that, son.”
[v] I must admit that I did this once a million years ago as a necessary, familially-cooperative tactic to temporarily keep better tabs on a junior family member. Besides, it was fun to “play” with my sisters again – my sister, btw, has Facebook accounts for all of her farm animals. TMI? She’s an artist. We’ve decided to find it quaint. Anyway, per younger family member: it all came out in the wash and I haven’t been on that profile in years. I should probably remember at some point to go delete it . . . .
[vi] I am, my-social-self plus my author page. And damn. I loose whole mornings sometimes.
[vii] Which is probably why most Catfishing is unsuccessful.