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26TH March 2011

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See Catfish before you accept your next Friend Request!

Have you seen the movie CATFISH? It’s an artsy geeky-docu-drama produced by Relativity. I heard about it a year ago and missed it at the time, but Mel resurfaced it on movie night this week.  Here’s why it caught my attention…

If you’re one of the 3.3 billion people who use the web, and rely on the information spewed out by UGC (aka User-Generated Content), it’s a must-see.  Basically, a few Metro-Socials find someone online who seems too good to be true (hmmm…ever happen to you?). All’s well until they stumble upon a song that sounds a lot like one claimed by their new Facebook friend.  I’ll stop there, but the twists and turns in this “documentary” are amazingly similar to real life.

This has happened to us all, in so many ways.  Are those Craigslist Yankee tickets for real? Is that person on J-Date as good as the pics (never)?  Is that babysitter someone we can actually trust? Is that couch I’m crashing on next week in Malibu owned by some weirdo? I posed many of the same questions a few weeks back in my Mad Men post.

MTV seems to think these aren’t isolated incidents.. Relatively Media is currently developing a reality show based on Catfish for that network. Variety reports that MTV’s series (still in the early stages ) will likely focus on people who intentionally “misidentify themselves” online  — and the repercussions that follow.

We’ve become very comfotable sharing information about ourselves in social networks (thanks Facebook). But what’s beginning to become apparent is that others are actualy relying on that information to make real decisions about what to purchase, where to sleep, and who to trust with our kids. WHOA. Think about that for a sec: real world decisions based on the digital data generated by… whomever.

When it comes to relying on digital information in making real world decisions, I’ll echo Reagan on nukes: “Trust but verify”!

I give Catfish two thumbs up.  Check it out for yourself.  And share your thoughts with me.

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