Monday, September 5, 2011

Identity on the Internet - Meeting People and Relationships

I recently saw a special on tv about the movie Catfish which is a documentary about 2 people that met online, only one of them was completely lying about their identity. While I have never done anything like this, I did once meet someone online and develop a close relationship with. Here is what happened:

In the early 2000's, I joined a website called Bolt which was basically a social networking site that was popular before Facebook and Myspace. Bolt allowed people to make a profile and find other people with similar interests. I started searching for people who were fans of my favorite band. 

Before long, I had found a girl my age who also had the same favorite band as me. We started getting to know each other by sending messages back and forth. This went on for a long time, I'm talking years. We talked about everything, even things that we probably wouldn't talk about with anyone else. 

Although we were honest with each other, we had never even seen a picture of each other. When you develop a relationship like this where you get to know someone so well without even knowing what they look like, you start to create a picture in your head about what they look like. Naturally, the picture you come up with is ideal and probably not what the other person actually looks like. 

So one day years into our relationship curiosity got the best of us and we decide we were going to send each other a picture of what we looked like. So we did this and I think we were both kind of surprised. This person who we knew so well looked different than our imagined images in our heads. This kind of made things a little weird, but we still continued to talk. 

After some years went by, we started communicating less and less and the relationship started to fizzle out and eventually we stop talking. I think we both just kind of moved on to other things. 

It was still a good experience to have that relationship. I still have her contact information and maybe one day we will get back in touch.


  1. I had a dear friend online once. She was like a sister. Finally, one year she was coming to FL and wanted to meet me. I met her somewhere, and she was nothing at all like I imagined. For one thing, she was very fidgety and giggled all the time. She was so annoying, I really didn't talk to her so much after that. She contacted me once years later, but we never did really get back what we had. I just moved to this town because of someone I met online who was like a daughter. Big, HUGE mistake. I got here, and she was nothing like she was online. She was sweet, but very selfish and self-centered. When I really needed her, she was not there for me, so we aren't friends anymore. I'm in a town I hate all alone now because I thought I had a friend who turned out not to be. I think sometimes it's better not to meet people in person that you are friends with online.

  2. Those are two great examples of people who are different in real life compared to how they are online. I think this happens more often than we think. Even when you think you know someone, they can turn out to be completely different.

    That actually reminds me of another situation where the same thing happened. I was involved in a collaborative online business and ended up teaming up with someone I didn't know via a mutual friend. We got pretty deep into the business and slowly I began to realize that this guy had serious issues and was not trustworthy. It didn't ruin the business, but it sure didn't help.

    I ended up meeting him one day and that is a huge story all in itself. I haven't told it to anyone really yet, but I may write about it on this blog one day.