Urban Dictionary says, "
|Being deceived over facebook as the deceiver professed their romantic feelings to his/her victim, but isn't who they say they are.|
Having a fake facebook profile, images and avatar in order to lure people to have romantic feelings. They are then catfished when the victim realises the person they have falled for via facebook is not who they APPEAR to be."
"Young photographer Yaniv "Nev" Schulman lives with his brother Ariel in New York City. Abby Pierce, an eight-year-old child prodigy artist in rural Ishpeming, Michigan, sends Nev a painting of one of his photos. They become Facebook friends, which broadens to include Abby's family: including her mother, Angela (Wesselman); Angela's husband Vince (Stephen Fogarty); and Abby's attractive older half-sister Megan, who lives in Gladstone, Michigan.
For a documentary, Ariel and Henry film Nev as he begins an online relationship with Megan. She sends him MP3s of her songs, but Nev discovers that they are all falsely taken from performances on YouTube. He later finds evidence that Megan and Abby have lied about other things. Ariel urges Nev to continue the relationship for the documentary. The siblings travel to Michigan to make an impromptu appearance at the Pierces' house and confront Megan. At Angela's house, she takes some time to answer the door and soon casually announces that she will begin chemotherapy for uterine cancer. She drives them to see Abby, who is confused when asked about her paintings.
The next morning, Nev wakes up to a text message from Megan saying that she was checking into rehab and cannot meet him, which is confirmed by one of Megan's Facebook friends. Angela shortly admits: the pictures of Megan were of someone else (and lied about twice); her daughter Megan is in rehab downstate; that Megan has been estranged from the family; that Angela made the paintings. Posing for a painting, Angela confesses that the various personae were fragments of her personality enacting fantasies of her life if she had made different choices. It also is revealed that Vince is under the illusion that Nev is a patron of Angela's and commissioned the artwork he received.
Vince, talking with Nev, tells a story. He says that when live cod were shipped to Asia from North America, the fish's inactivity in their tanks resulted in mushy flesh, but fishermen found that putting catfish in the tanks with the cod kept them active. Vince feels that people like Angela are "catfish", who keep other people active in life."
Since the release, Nev Schulman has been given the opportunity to host his own show on MTV called 'Catfish,' following real people and helping them meet their online lovers. If you haven't watched the show, give it a shot, it's actually...quite interesting.
I've also had the opportunity to watch the 20/20 episode, which was quite interesting as well.
With that, I'd like to go into my own thoughts of the most recent unfolding of the Notre Dame linebacker, Manti Te'o, and his ...fake girlfriend.
Getting scammed on the internet is nothing new, and it didn't just start happening in 2010 when Nev Schulman released his story publicly. This does in fact, happen to millions of people all over the world. The internet can truly allow you to be anyone you want to be, until you take it too far.
With the recent twist in Te'o tale, I firmly believe that this started out, as a very real situation. Football player sees girl years ago, they start talking online, he believes this is the same girl he met years ago, so on and so forth, girl seems so great, they talk a lot, even chatting on the phone from time to time. Yes, it's possible to develop very real feelings for someone having talked to them quite a bit.
Back when news broke of Lennay Kekua, Te'o's girlfriend, and his grandmother dying within hours of each other, my heart broke. Obviously none of us knew the real story then; but I watched him being interviewed after their win over Michigan State and I felt absolutely awful for this exceptional athlete.
With that being said, I am not stupid.
I'm not stating that Mani Te'o is stupid, but I do think he had a big part in playing this hoax, and I wouldn't consider him a 'victim'. For starters, I wouldn't be dating someone that I'd never met in person and I'm not sure that anyone really would, especially someone of his stature. This isn't to say that true love doesn't happen across the internet, across the world, but in most cases, you would meet this person before starting a mutual relationship.
I'm a computer-savvy person, but I'd have to say that most people would probably do a little research on their online lover, especially if this relationship continued for months. As those months were progressing, I'm sure everyone would be a bit weary of this entire situation. I mean my family would be asking me, um...where is this fella?
I truly don't believe anyone would be this un-informed or whatever the word I'm looking for here is. It's very reasonable to develop an emotional relationship through talking to the woman, but what do you have without any physical connection at all?
Secondly, in the selfish, egotistical world we live in today, everyone is searching for their 15 minutes of fame. He has a very valid reason for wanting to capture the media's attention, for wanting to shine the spotlight ever so brightly on him, he's up for the Heisman trophy, he's expected to be drafted into the NFL. Come on now, really? You're telling me this outstanding athlete, who women (because we are stupid, and many of us drop our panties for anything that could be remotely close to famous) would throw themselves at, was having a relationship with a girl he wasn't able to ever actually meet, kiss, sleep with, what have you.
With the information held online, it's fairly easy to look up an individual and see where they live, what they do, if they've been married or convicted of a crime. Often times you can see photos of the person, etc... and the show on MTV, 'Catfish,' shows exactly how in-depth you can really go when looking for an individual that you feel you've formed an emotional connection with.
Yes, I'm confused...but I don't think Te'o is honestly this naive. I could be wrong, very wrong.
It's without a doubt the media around the world has caught on to the tall-tale, and while it intruiges readers everywhere, let's get on with it already...we've got bigger fish to fry people.
For future reference, start with a google search of the individual that you form an online relationship with, so we don't have to go through this nonesense again.