Wednesday, 8 March 2017

This one time we CATFISHED someone

getting catfished


This one time we catfished somebody…kind of

Way back before the days of Google mail. Your nights were spent on MSN messenger, changing your 100x100 icons to match your username. Picking a super pink font on a bright white background so you would piss off your mates. Trolling chat rooms asking a/s/l? Becoming millionaires on Neopets. Oh those were the days, and back then, I don’t think cat fishing even existed, it didn’t even have a name.

So we had this friend, boy band obsessed. I’m talking every conceivable space on her walls and ceiling covered in life size Smash Hits centrefolds. It all started out as a joke, a laugh, something we did one afternoon in IT class because we were bored and we could. We signed up for a free local email account. We named it after her favourite member of the boy band, saying we’d seen her name in the fan mail list and wanted to say hi. Because yeah, that happens, makes total sense. She was sat across the room, we fired off the email, and we waited. 

getting catfished


It was a laugh. A joke. It wasn’t supposed to be taken seriously

She replied. 

She was over the moon he had got in touch, she couldn’t thank him enough. She felt so lucky. Her idol, her love, her favourite, and he wanted to talk to her

Never mind he was based down south. Never mind it was a .Liverpool email address. Never mind she wasn’t even on a fan mail list. 

Convinced she was taking the piss out of us. Convinced she was just playing along, we fired off another email before the end of class.

She was over the moon. We didn’t know what to think. 

Days went by and she kept exchanging emails with this boy band front man. We made them as outlandish and as obviously fake as we possibly could but still, she played along. She was playing along? Right?

We wanted to know how seriously she was taking this. Another friend took over the account and asked her for her home address, under the pretence he was sending her a signed poster. Without question, she gave it

Don’t get me wrong, what we did wasn’t exactly nice, but it was only a joke, she was never supposed to take it seriously. So, we told her. The next time she brought up the emails we told her the truth, that it had been us all along.

Har. Har. Was her response. She genuinely didn’t believe us. And carried on emailing him.

I don’t know whose idea the next email was. Convinced she was messing with us now, we thought we would just carry on playing along. I mean, we had told her it was us. She had to believe us?

So we asked her to meet. He was going to be passing through our insignificant little area of Liverpool on his way somewhere. He really wanted to meet her. He even suggested the location. Because of course this celebrity knew the park nearest her house that well. 

getting catfished


She agreed. 

I'd heard the horror stories on the news about people who went to meet people they had spoke to online. I could never understand why they would do this. Nowadays it's no wonder so many people fall into a cat fishing trap. When you can create a plethora of social media profiles for your alter ego. All pointing in the same direction. All making you out to be someone you're not

Date. Time. Place. It was all set. She told us she was meeting him. We told her it wasn’t safe. We told her it could be anyone, she clearly didn’t think it was us. 

Another day. Another IT class. We logged into his account in front of her, showing her all the emails she had sent him

She ran out in tears. Devastated none of it had been true. 

And that was by a bunch of stupid school girls who weren’t even trying. 

We think blogs and vlogs give is this air of transparency these days. That selfies on Instagram can’t come from anyone other than the account holder. And these everyone’s my friend online personalities really do feel that way towards you, as an individual, and nobody else. No matter how little or even how much you might think you know someone online, it can all change the second you take the screen away.

Blogging opens you up to a community of strangers. I am so fortunate that the strangers I have met through blogging have been in every way as wonderful as I imagined. I’ve been very lucky. I’ve spoken to bloggers who haven’t been so lucky. Those who have gone to meet up with other bloggers who have been anything but how they thought. I don’t know of anyone who's gotten into a dangerous situation yet but still, that’s not to say it can’t or won’t happen. 

Do me a favour, don’t let it happen to you. 

Have you ever had any bad experiences when meeting people online? 





6 comments:

  1. This post is so important.

    Blogging is great because of the people you meet, but like you said, how can we 100% be sure they are who they say they are? People willingly give out full name and even addresses, all under the impression that if they're a blogger, they're safe. But it's not necessarily true.

    It's so easy now to pretend to be someone you're not, so safety is so important!

    I really enjoyed this post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed it! Sometimes the more I think about it the more it scares me, like how often do you question a 'PR' when they ask for your details? Because I know I don't and it terrifies me that I've become so lax about that!

      Sarah :)

      Delete
  2. That's quite terrifying!! Luckily, until I was an adult, I never met anyone in "real life" that I'd met online. Scary to think how many people would without even thinking about it!! I always give out an alternative address when being sent blogger mail lol xx
    Holly ∣ Closingwinter

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same! I would never have thought to go meet someone off the internet IRL back then! I couldn't believe she thought it was so normal and real! It terrifies me to think about the ones who do it with actual effort!

      Sarah :)

      Delete
  3. Goodness. Scary that she didn't believe you but I guess the internet can breed a sort of child like niavety at times, which can be really dangerous. Thanks for writing this. It was a really interesting post. The nearest I've ever come to catfishing is having 2 neopets accounts when I was around 12 to make everyone think I had an older sister because I really wanted one :')

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you found it interesting! I used to love playing Neopets but only had the one account! I can see why as a kid you might create a second one though, it's almost like the modern day imaginary friend!

      Sarah :)

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...