I’ve started to get hooked on the MTV reality show – Catfish: the TV show. The basic premise is people write into the documentary makers about relationships they have developed online and ask for their help to meet up with the person. The TV programme then investigates whether the person is really who they claim to be then arrange a meeting, usually with a ‘shock’ twist when it turns out the person was hiding something. Obviously with any reality show, you take with a pinch of salt that it’s actually real but I find it really interesting to see how online relationships develop and whether people are being themselves online or not.
The last couple of years have seen me inhibiting the online world more than I ever did before, starting with creating this blog, then joining Twitter and expanding my Facebook ‘friends’ list. Generally, I have found the world to be a positive one. Writing can be so solitary that chatting to other writers really helps and I have spent so much time online with some people that you do start to feel like you know them, and that you are friends. Even if you’ve never met.
I have also met online friends in the real world and have always been a bit nervous to see what they are like in person. I have been pretty lucky and everyone I’ve met has shown me they are being themselves online and are fabulous people to know. And hopefully they thought I am myself online – I mean, I do enjoy food offline as much as I talk about it online 🙂
But I have never started a romantic relationship online, which is what Catfish focuses on and I guess this is where it could be more likely people aren’t being themselves. Trying to appeal to the opposite sex could lead you to exaggerate your qualities but on this show, people use fake pictures and profiles and pretend to a completely different person. I don’t think I could develop feelings of love without meeting the person but I can understand how this can happen – the lines of the online world can become blurred without you even realising it is happening. It can be addictive too. And I guess as people spend more and more time in the online world, the more relationships will develop here.
I’d love to hear your stories of online relationships- have you ever met up with someone who wasn’t who you thought they were? Or do you think generally people are themselves online?