Catfish Response

11 Oct

Throughout the movie, Catfish, I saw both positive and negatives of social media sites, specifically Facebook. At the beginning, you see the positive, what the creator and developers of Facebook essentially set out to do – connect people. At its start, Facebook was seen as a way to reconnect with old college friends, keep up with the current ones, as well as make new ones through mutual friends. It not only allowed people to connect with their peers, but became a vehicle of expression. Users were given the opportunity to personalize their information to give general insight into their interests and background information.

In the film, Nev is connected with Abby and Meghan’s family. Although we later find that none of them actually exist and are all fabrications of a lonely woman named Angela, you still see the power Facebook has to connect people that may have otherwise never met. The possibility that Facebook relationships can eventually turn into real interpersonal friendships or partnerships outside the web is intriguing and engaging as we see as Nev begins to fall for his web pal, Meghan.

However, throughout the movie, we also see the negatives of Social Media. I believe that the negatives lie within the concept of hyperreality. Facebook allows people to create their own identities. When used properly, Facebook is a great way to put your best and most prized attributes on display. Although this is a great concept when used earnestly, it is often abused and the people on the profiles become nothing more than a reflection of what they want to be perceived as. Angela, for example, lives vicariously through the alter egos that she plays online and she uses them as an escape from her otherwise sad reality.

Angela and Nev’s story although creepy and ridiculous is nothing too far off from reality. The only difference between this story and the probably extensive list of similar stories is that Angela got caught. It is not hard for people to make multiple accounts, despite claims from the site saying it is monitored and kept under control. I have had a handful of friends who have lost their login information to their profiles and have made new ones without a problem. Nevertheless, I think it is important for the users to be aware of the possibility of fraud but at the same time, I do not think it takes away from the power of Facebook to connect you with the people you want to be connected to. When it all comes down to it, you are ultimately the one in control of the people you meet and build relationships with – the site itself is not forcing frauds or strangers onto you.

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