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Manti Te’o and ‘Catfish: The TV Show’ Lessons in Online Dating

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Before yesterday I didn’t know who Manti Te’o was, but I did know who Nev Schulman was.  Nev hosts a show for MTV called ‘Catfish:The TV Show,’ which explores online dating fraud.  Perhaps if Manti had seen a few episodes this whole girlfriend with leukemia debacle never would have happened.

For those of you, who don’t know who Nev Schulman is, allow me to enlighten you.   I first became aware of him when the documentary film ‘Catfish’ came out in 2010.  It was a film following Nev, a photographer, on a journey to find his online love.  It all started when a young girl sent Nev a picture she painted of one of his photographs.  Their snail mail correspondence turned into Facebook friendship and then Nev began corresponding with the young girl’s family as well.  Nev starts an online relationship with the young girl’s half-sister, Megan.   Megan is a musician and sends Nev songs and poems.  Upon further investigation, Nev discovers these songs on other websites under other people’s names.  He then decides to go and meet her.  Upon meeting Megan he discovers that Megan is in fact Angela, a middle aged woman who made up everything.  She not only had Megan’s profile up as a hoax but a few of Megan’s Facebook ‘friends’ as well to keep up the façade.

Nev has since turned his true story of an online love gone wrong and turned it into a docu-series for MTV.  People e-mail Nev to help them with their online relationships.  Usually, the signs are all there that the person they fell in love with is surely not who they say they are, but they are so invested in the other person that they don’t see the obvious clues.  I love this show even though it gives me anxiety.  A time and place to meet is always set up and then the waiting begins for the mystery person to emerge.  So far, only one person has been the real person.  He was just really overweight compared to his profile pictures so he was hesitant to meet his online girlfriend.  There have been some crazy reveals on this show.  Some memorable reveals include profiles set up for revenge and girls pretending to be guys.

I’ve always been a little wary of online dating, but this show has taught me a few tricks to keep myself safe.

  • Google image search is your friend
  • If profile pictures look old, they probably are
  • If they keep dodging your suggestions to meet, they are probably a fake
  • Video chatting is your friend

 

So in conclusion, I think Manti Te’o should e-mail Nev before any more online dating occurs.

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