Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Second Half of New New Media

I enjoyed reading the chapter on the dangers of new new media.  It just so happened the same time I was reading this book, I saw a tv show for the first time that relates back to the chapter.

Part of the danger of the internet is that you really never know who you are communicating with.  It is very easy to pretend to be someone else. People hide behind screen names, Photoshop, and images found online.  There is a movie, Catfish, which is about just that. I haven’t seen the movie, but from what I have heard, a young man starts talking to a young woman online.  They really hit it off and start an online relationship.  He decides one day to take a long drive to meet the woman in person.  His friend documents everything on video. 

Turns out the woman is in her forties, and looks nothing like the pictures she had posted.  He states that they did remain friends, and he decided to share his experience with everyone.  After the movie released he started getting many messages from other people about their similar experiences.  He realized that this deception is happening all the time!

MTV has adapted the movie into a show, Catfish: The TV Show.  A person who is having an online relationship with someone who they have never met in person can contact the show.  The same man from the movie goes with a camera crew and meets the person who contacted them.  They hear the story and do some online research.  They then contact the other person and meet them.  Eventually, they try to get the two parties to meet in person.  It is interesting to see the differences in appearance, and to hear why the person lied in the first place.  The couple episodes that I watched all had to do with negative body image, and low self-esteem.  One man pretended to be amodel when in actuality he was just an ordinary fellow. He was tall and husky, but not bad looking.  He just felt that the woman was too beautiful for him but he really wanted to get to know her. He felt he would never have that chance if she knew what he really looked like.  The other guy sent pictures of himself, but only certain pictures.  He gained a lot of weight at one point, and didn’t want her to know.  He kept putting off meeting her because he didn’twant her to see him so heavy.

Unfortunately, at the end of both shows both women only wanted to be friends with these men.  The question will always remain: if they hadn’t lied, or postponed meeting for years, could a relationship have evolved? Or, were the men right in assuming the women would not accept them because of their appearance?

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