Last night I watched a documentary called catfish.
Some friends decide to make a documentary about a unique relationship that is formed between a photographer Nev and a young girl called abby who paints his photos. They form a friendship online and swap photos and paintings back and forth. Nev speaks to abby's mother and sister and forms facebook relationships with various members of her family and friends. Chemistry builds between Nev and Megan abby's older sister and Nev decides he wants to meet her. When he goes to meet her he discovers something quite unexpected.
I really liked the documentary, it really takes you with the film makers on this crazy journey. It's like a trip towards something that you've probably already realised isn't true but because you fell in love with the fantasy you keep searching for it. At first Nev's naivety surprised me, he was like a teenage boy, their relationship existed purely via the phone or on the internet and he was really getting involved with and craving after a girl he'd never met and lived thousands of miles away from.
It reminded me of my first "boyfriend" someone I agreed to "go out with" via someone else's text message after meeting at the North Harrow Megabowl with a bunch of friends. He'd picked me and another girl but because I was the introducers friend I got first dibs. We never even kissed. He would send me texts about wanting to hang out when his parents were out and I would freak out and call my friends and have girly giggly fits. He was my boyfriend and when he called me a bitch and we "split up" and hung out with my frenemies instead I was pissed, but why? we had no relationship. We didn't know each other, I never went to his house, we didn't hold hands, kiss, or go on dates because we never actually met up. The first time we met was our only date and then a few months later after texting religiously every night he dumped me. The excitement of the relationship was that it was all in my head. I could create whatever I wanted in my mind and live it out via a daydream without actually having to deal with my nerves of actually seeing the guy or the reality that he wasn't all that interesting.
I put it down to being a kid and being bored, searching for something and being inventive. And without ruining the documentary what Nev discovers is quite shocking as a viewer, and I guess what she's invented is put down to this woman's sadness and mental health. But nowadays is this dreamworld becoming more of a normal reality that's not just for bored kids or people with problems but for real life adults and sane grown ups? Meeting people and dating online is no longer for the weirdos and loners, everyone does it and hey if it makes it easier for people to find each other and in turn some happiness then I'm all for it. There's something about the intensity of the way people live through facebook or twitter though that doesn't sit quite right with me, I guess I'm old fashioned, everything in moderation etc. So much time is spent updating profiles to show everyone how cool and wonderful our life is. We share tit-bits of information about what we've been doing constantly and get comfort from being able to communicate with everyone at all hours of the day or night. You never feel like you're alone in the world. But sometimes it gets a little too cyberspace for me, for example I stopped following a friend on twitter recently because even though I hadn't seen her for months I was bored every time we spoke on the phone because there wasn't anything I didn't know about what had been going on in her life from her twitter feed. That's the other thing, phrases like "Twitter Feed" make sense to us ????? You even hear it on the news!
When I was at college a friend signed me up to 'Friendstar' one of the original social networking sites. He made my profile and put up pictures and told me to talk to people I didn't know on there and make friends. I was so confused, "What is the point?" I asked, "It's just fun, just talk to people" "Yeah but what is the actual point?" I was genuinely baffled by the concept. About 2 years ago I remember a friend telling me how his "ex girlfriend" had finally updated her Facebook status to single. It was a real blow. At the time I wasn't on facebook and didn't really understand what he meant, but what I did understand was that this was a serious thing in people's lives now. I guess it's a lot easier to live out your life and organise it on a computer, you can make it look pretty. I wonder how obvious the different skills that younger generations develop will seem. Kids will be genius's I guess. Is running around in a garden playing imaginary games any different to creating an imaginary life on facebook or a blog? Apart from the obvious exercise, I wonder if it stimulates your brain any differently?
On that note better put down the laptop, get in the shower and unlock the front door (16.42) Or at least open a window.