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We have connections and friendships – genuine, meaningful ones – with people we may never have interacted with in the flesh but speak to in a variety of mediums on a daily basis… The old New Yorker cartoon that “nobody on the Internet knows you’re a dog” applies equally to “On the Internet, nobody knows if you’re real or not”.
Many, walks of life have been suckered into deceptive “relationships”, either with people who disguise their identities in order to seem more appealing or who create new personas out of whole cloth.
Some people just want to be the focus of everybody’s world and don’t care how they do it.
These fakers tend to inhabit forums and social networks and try to scam large groups rather than individuals.
If you’re like me (and I know I am), you may not pay all that much attention to sports.
However, lately it seems almost impossible to ignore the story of Manti Te’o, the Notre Dame linebacker and Heisman trophy candidate who was propelled to infamy when the dramatic, too-good-to-be-true story of the death of his girlfriend proved to be a complete fabrication.
If you want to avoid getting catfished – named after the popular documentary It’s tempting to assume that everyone who creates a fake persona online is a basement-dwelling cretin with a face for radio and a brain for social engineering who creates a fake persona to woo others because he or she knows that nobody could possibly love the “real” identity, but the truth is far more complicated than that.
These fakes have all of the earmarks of an emotionally abusive relationship – just without the physical presence to go with it.
The trolls would watch with glee as the horde of confused single guy descended upon the location, only to find out that they had been duped.
(Spoiler alert: the prank didn’t go off as planned.
Amusingly, the Nora Ephron movie “You’ve Got Mail” (based off of the 1937 play which makes catfishing older than you’d think) actually treats this as an amusing lark that’s justified because it’s in the name of love.
Some people create these fake identities for their own amusement.