So, the first season of Catfish is over.
Oh, this show...if you haven't watched it, It's a Reality TV show on MTV. What it is, is people who are in online relationships and for one reason or another have not yet met (or seen) the other person- aside from pictures of course. So Nev, a man who has been in a similar situation only for his situation to not turn out as he expected, decided that he wanted to help people in these situations. So basically, he get's emails & he picks one & contacts that person, they tell him their story & he then meets them & contacts the other person in an attempt to set it up to where they can finally meet. Lots of the situations didn't play out as expected.
For example: one girl was meeting the guy that she had been dating online for 8 months- that guy turned out to be a girl. One guy was dating a "model" & she turned out to actually just be his close friend.
Watching every Monday night always, ALWAYS take me back about 11 or 12 years ago when I used to chat. I was totally one of those people who spent more of my downtime than I should have in chat rooms.
I used to chat on Excite/VP.
I had a small group of friends.
And yes, a couple of "relationships".
I can actually still tell you some of their names.
& I actually still have some of their pictures somewhere...
& I still have their numbers (which I'm sure are old now). I actually just re-found them when I was going through some old stuff on Monday.
This show though, along with dredging up memories, made me think...how often was I "catfished"?
And it makes me giggle a little, because I kind of "catfished" everyone I talked, too.
I chatted when I was in the age range of 11-13 or 14. I told everyone I spoke to that I was 15 or 16 I think. Just a few years older that I actually was.
I also went by my middle name and not my first. I never told anyone where I lived, other than the state. I never gave out my number and whenever I talked to someone on the phone I always called them and I always used a calling card. Ohhh the beauty of calling cards.
Some of my friends...Jas (Jasmine), Josh, Stephen, Luis, Luis aka Khrome., Shane, Sarah, Ryan, Trey, Jason, Aaron, Scott, etc...
"Significant" others...Shawn, T, Darren, and Spikey, and one I'll call "SOS".
The ones I actually talked to on the phone were Stephen, Shane, Khrome, and a couple of others. Shane lived closest to me, about 20-30 minutes away, in the same state. We talked about meeting, but never did.
(I never met anyone, don't worry. lol)
Ryan was more like a big brother figure he lived in TN, he's the only one who ever sent me mail & I only gave him a P.O. Box address. He sent me a letter and one of his senior pictures, I thought I still had it, but can't remember where it is... Jason and Trey were more like my homies, Stephen was nuts, so damn crazy & so funny.
So, those "boyfriends"..
Darren, okay so he was more of a friend that I started to care about. He was going through some issues and not really wanting to be here, if you catch my drift. I talked to him a lot to help keep his spirits up and such, and he actually did the same for me. He was a really sweet guy.
Spikey..that was his screen name obviously, I do know his real name, his full real name. I can actually still look it up and see pictures. Our talking was more..flirty I suppose...
T..I'm not typing out his name, because you can actually look it up too, and it's the same guy. This relationship was special to me. Cared about him a lot.
Shawn...I loved this guy. Like...loved him, yes I was only like 12 at the time, but I don't know. I laughed with him, cried with him, looked forward to talking to him every day. He was also going through issues and didn't want to really be around either. We helped each other with those issues. But I cannot remember for the life of me if I saw his pictures. Im about 85% sure I did see a couple, but they weren't the greatest of quality. I also never spoke to him on the phone.
Then there is SOS. I'm not going to say "his" name. It was a legitimate name, and pictures...but due to who it was, it would have been SUPER easy to fake. Even back then I didn't 100% buy it. "He" was someone around my age, cute, super sweet, funny, etc etc. Now here's the kicker, he was famous, supposedly part of a boyband. Now this person he claimed to be is a very real person, and the band is real (they were a popular group at the time), I'm just not sure the person I was talking to was actually him. Back then part of me was like "no way, ohmahgod, I'm talking (not just talking, but talking) to someone who's famous, who actually likes me. OhMahGah." The other part was like "get real! There is no way homeboy is who he says he is." But, the conversation was good. And I did like "him".
The funny thing about him though is I didn't even originally "meet" him, I was friends with his "brother" & his bro's gf & they introduce us. I say brother in quotations because if you look up a bio of this guy, he didn't have an older brother by that name. Umm, duh. LIAHH LIAHH, SOS!
Of course i got pictures, but nothing I couldn't find over the internet, ya know. And I never spoke to him on the phone. If I would have thought, the thing to do would have been the whole "take a picture hold a sign" Or, even though video chatting wasn't quite a thing just yet...or maybe that's around the time that it was starting...anyway a webcam chat would have been key. lol.
But still. Aside from the constant wonder of "am I really talking to this dude", I enjoyed talking to him. A lot.
And even nowadays when or if I ever see a picture or hear a song "he" sang, or was part of, I smile.
Everyone watches Catfish and then hates SO HARD on the people involved.
"Why in the world would you not ask for solid proof?" "How in the world can you be fooled for that long?" "I can't believe that you actually believe that you are talking to this person."
I just want to say that I get it, I understand part of that whole scenario.
I actually get both sides, the haters and the "victims".
Even if it's just online, it's very, very possible to meet and love someone even if you don't have that 100% certainty of who you are talking to.
Call me crazy, and I was, and am, but until you're actually in that position, you really don't understand. Cause even me now watches and wonders how in the hell some of these people don't check more into who they are talking to...but then I remember, well I've been there before. Only it was a good 12 years ago and technology wasn't quite what it is today, so it wasn't easy for me to research that well...and lets be honest, I wouldn't even have known where to start.
A lot of the time you just have those guts feelings and you know, gut feelings tend to be right to some degree...so even though I didn't fully buy SOSes story of who he was, there was still something that kept me talking to him everyday. You go with your gut. My gut never gave me the feeling that any of the people I talked to were weird, or creeps or anything like that. They never scared me. And talk was never super personal. Was everything some of them said true? Maybe not, but I could relate to them in some degree about things. That's what kept me talking to them. The friendship. And sometimes, in some cases friendship develop into more feelings.
It sounds crazy. and sad, but I have some good memories of chatting and talking to these people on the phone and all. They were part of my life. If they were a "boyfriend" figure/someone I liked, I would talk to my best friend about them as if they weren't someone I talked to online. Friends? A couple of my real life friends talked to them also, if they were at my house while I was talking to them.
I do remember years after I stopped chatting, I did look some people up (once other social media sites started popping up) to see how legit some people were. And I was able to find the ones that I looked up.
So unless someone was flat out catfishing (like stealing their pictures and pretending to be them), although you have to remember that there weren't several sites around where people posted pictures of themselves that could be freely and as easily stolen back then, so I personally feel like it would have been harder to that then. So, I pretty much believe that I was talking to those people. (Of course I never did message and ask them, lol)...
But there are some people out there that are just not nice. There are people that will do it to target a specific person, and there are people who do it to target anyone they can get to fall into their trap. I've made a fake MySpace account before, in the spirit of meaness, and messed with someone. Not for long, & I can't fully remember the reason, but it happened. And at the time, it was funny. But of course, I know it's wrong. Bad me. But I wasn't alone in the act. At any rate, I can't even remember much of it. It was just freakin' dumb.
If I were like that now, a "chatter", I wouldn't believe so easy. Not without some sort of proof, ya know?
So, I sit back and say what everyone else says "do you not see that there's something fishy here?!" No pun intended. And then when they get ready to meet, I get nervous for them. I could not imagine ever meeting anyone I talked to online back then & finding out that it wasn't them. Talk about devastation.
I think if I would have ever had anyone investigated to see if they really were who they claimed to be, I'd pick SOS, obvi. Even though I pretty much know he wasn't who he claimed to be. I just don't really buy it. I wouldn't want to meet him, unless he was who he said he was. I would just want some investigating to be done. I would just want to know. I wish I could find a conversation between us. (I used to save conversations, don't judge me). I can't even remember his screen name right off the top of my head. :-/ There are lots of screen names that aren't coming to mind, dang it, but I digress.
On the other hand, I wouldn't want to be in their places, I wouldn't want to be faced with meeting the person that I was friends with, cared about, liked, loved for however long- only to find out it was all a sham. I get disappointed when I see it go bad for them. But only because I would never want that to happen to me.
I would have obviously never met any of the people I talked to, I was too young for that mess. I just enjoyed having other friends aside from the ones I had in real life.
Much like now.
I guess being a chatter at such a young age kind of allowed me to embrace social media a little more. Of course the obvious MySpace & Facebook, but you know everyone on there pretty much. I swore off Twitter like it was the plague, mainly because of all the hype. BUT, I caved in and I'm glad I did.
I have made so many friends, all over. Several places in the US & a couple of people in UK. I have met I think 4 or 5 people, exchanged numbers which a couple. It's just nice to know that you can connect with people outside your "circle".
It's still kind of scary, & every now and then I still have that thought of "who am I really talking to." But for the most part & with all of the connected media (Instagram connected to you twitter or facebook, being friends with the same person via 288924 different social media platforms, etc.) I believer everyone I talk to is who they say they are. Because, even though it's so easy to fake being someone. It's also hard. Watching some of those people on Catfish, it takes downright dedication to fake being someone. Hours upon hours, years and years. It's crazy. I couldn't imagine.
All in all, I do like that show. & I wouldn't change a thing about my chat room days, & I wouldn't change anything about my current online friendships & mingling! :)
So. Thank you Excite/VP/AIM/Yahoo! Messenger/MSN Messenger for many memories.
Thank you Twitter/Tumblr/Blogger for allowing me to make new friends and have more memories.
Social media can be a great thing, if used properly.
And now I'm pretty much rambling because I honestly have no particular direction for this post. No major point to make. Just reflecting on how things happen.
The past and the present & how there are a lot of similarities, but lotsss of differences.
If you made it to the end, bless your heart. I didn't expect this post to be this long, I actually feel kind of bad.
Has anyone ever been a "chatter"? What are your past &/or current online/chat room/social media experiences?! Good, bad, ugly, scary, funny, happy?! Share. :)