LO1: Understand digital communication systems – Catfish.

In what ways does Catfish highlight the dangers of social networking?

Catfish highlights the dangers of social networking by showing us the audience, that you never do know who you are talking to if the only contact you have with them is on a social networking site. Like in the movie, Nev thinks that he has been talking to a woman called Angela, who is the mother of 8 year old Abby who he thinks has been sending him paintings that she has done of the photography he has been taking. Also he believes that he has been talking to the 19 year old other daughter of Angela, called Megan. Even all the other family members linked into that family that he had accepted as friends on Facebook, in the end turned out to be someone different to who he thought they were. When he actually went out to visit the family when he had doubts, they were nothing of what they looked like in the pictures that had been used online.

Another danger of social networking is that you can get thousands of pictures off of other peoples profiles and they wouldn’t even know if they weren’t friends with you on Facebook. Because in the movie we find out that the woman, Angela had stolen hundreds of pictures of other girls and women off of Facebook profiles, from people that she didn’t even know and used them on her own profiles. They would of never known that she had used their pictures because they don’t know who she is and Angela never added them or people that they were friends with onto her own profile – so she was stealing their identities and they didn’t even realise.

From a technical perspective, was Angela’s ruse simplistic or complex?

I think that it might have been a mixture of the two because it is so easy for someone to make a Facebook account if you were to make a new email address and to lie about age, etc. The internet is so easy to work in this day and age that anyone can do anything and they can be whoever they want to be online if they were to simply use pictures of other people and pretend to be someone else, because you might never see them people in person. I think that Angela was never planning on meeting Nev so keeping up this illusion or fantasy life if you will was never going to be a difficult thing for her to do, she never thought that she was going to be caught out.

But it is also complex because she had created and was running 15 different Facebook profiles of different people that the family were supposed to be associated with, but it was her all along. So having to keep logging into these different Facebook’s and updating them all to the lies that she was telling was going to have been difficult. She also had different mobile phones for the different numbers that she had given out as the different people she was pretending to be. So having to remember to be the different people on the phone as well as carry on with her normal life and keeping up the social networking was going to be a challenge to do.

Also all the lies that she must have been telling, it was going to have been hard to keep up with everything and remember all the things that she had said to Nev. She would have be careful that she didn’t slip up and get found out because if you don’t have a good memory then you can’t be a very good lier.

I feel sorry for Angela to an extent, because of the stress and responsibility that she has go through and continue to do on a daily basis seems like a very heavy burden. The fact that even in the documentary we saw that she had to care for two severely disabled twins that were her husbands previous relationships children. So she has had to given up a lot in her own life to look after these boys and the way I see it is that this was her way of escape, it was an extreme one, but it was her way to try and make her life seem more normal and do the things that she wanted to do with her life that she never got to do over the last few years. I think that she felt that this was a way to make herself a little easier and give it a bit more meaning, but I think this was an extreme and unnecessary way of doing so and she didn’t need to go to the lengths that she did to try and escape for a little while.

How far would you agree with this statement: Catfish portrays social networking site such as Facebook in both a positive and negative way.

I think that I only agree with this statement to a small extent as I feel the bad of social  networking has outweighed the good in this movie. The bad being the deception that Angela created instead of making friends with Nev in a non-decieving way, she went around it in a completely over the top and dangerous way, stealing identities and misleading and lying to people. Also the fact that it is so easy to make a new profile on Facebook if you simply were to make a new unique email address for that profile.

But a good element to social networking might be that actually, Nev is more educated now as to what can happen on sites like this, and you can’ just take things at face value when it comes to a social website, because you never know who you are talking to and if they are who they are saying they are. Also I think that another good thing that we learn about Facebook through this documentary is how powerful it is, as through this website Abby found Nev and sent him the painting that she (Angela) had been doing and saying it was her daughter. It was really showing people what she could do as an artist and the potential that she had. At the end of the movie, Angela changed her Facebook to her own pictures and advertised herself as an artist. So it could be Facebook that helped her to get off the ground and do this thing that made her happy in a life she had that was crowded and full of responsibility to look after the people around her.

My own fake Facebook account.

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