I read a cautionary tale about the ‘Catfish’ phenomena over on Bang And A Bun’s site today and it made me think about of Love, Lies and Le Internet.
It’s age old but brought to 21st c with the help of the likes of Facebook, MySpace (the OG) and a myriad of social networking sites. When I was younger I would live catfish people, I would tell boys who hit on me – only on off days of course! mostly I was sweetness and butterflyflutter eye lashes – that I was called Chantelle and I was a music producer or a exotic dancer or some such thing, it was a game.
I am, however, not going to talk about these lies/betrayals and how the Internet enables this behaviour but the way it magnifies the smallest of truths.
A few years ago I had an affair. It was not a physical one but an affair nonetheless – I always wonder why people think a physical affair is worse a purely emotional one. I fell for someone over the Internet.
The small truth of our relationship was that we did like each other, more platonic than anything else but through the looking glass that is Skype this was magnified. He had a relationship and children, I was alone and desperately depressed. This was never going to end well, it did not start well. I can say that I resisted and rebuffed his advances but the fact of the matter is that I fell for this man. I got totally sucked in by the smallest of gestures and the feelings overwhelmed the both of us. The physical distance, the immediacy/delay dichotomy of internet connections and the intensity of said ‘connection’ played havoc with my usual upstanding nature.
My friends were shocked that I had let something like this happen and let it go on for months. So here is the rub, if this had happened in real life – IRL to use internet speak – I am not sure the intensity would have been perpetuated and the feelings nurtured.
To steal from and bastardize Marshall McLuhan, the medium is the message. Watch out that reality is not replaced by imaginings.
Tank Girl image from http://www.jimmahfood.com/