According to the Urban Dictionary, the term ‘Catfish’ is used to describe someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using social media, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.
With MTV’s recent hit-tv show Catfish: The TV Show, and Valentines Day looming, the online world seems to have created a meeting place for single people.
Meeting people via the web has always carried a ‘creepy’ stigma to it, but it seems times are changing. According to Dating Sites Reviews, there are an estimated 5,000 dating services in Europe, with about 1,500 from the UK, and a surprising 20 per-cent of committed relationships started online. What ever happened to the olden days of meeting ‘the one’ whilst out-and-about? Apparently, ‘the one’ now lies somewhere behind your computer screen.
Adam Brown, 20, a student from Sunderland, met his girlfriend on Twitter: “I saw she was having a bad day so I just sent her a tweet trying to cheer her up, we kept talking and almost two and half years later we are still together and very happy.”
Surely it’s a shame that the days of speaking face-face, rather than texting or emails, are coming to an end? Or is this a new wave of romance? Has technology brought to life a new way of dating, or merely killed it? “The internet can be a great way to meet people, it’s easy to find people who have the same interests as you and it’s probably easier to talk to someone on a computer you’ve never met than trying to strike up a conversation with a stranger in person.” Argues Adam.
Although, the concept of meeting up with someone who you’ve never met before, holds it’s obvious dangers. Are they who they say they are? What are their intentions? Lying through a keyboard doesn’t take much. Saying this, Adam never doubted who he was talking to: “I flew over to meet her at Düsseldorf airport, I initially thought she was English as she always tweeted in perfect English about things in England, but then I found out she was German, but still wanted to get to know her and we went from tweeting to calling and skyping. It just felt right.”
Aside from social networks, official online dating sites ensure the people are real. According to research by Mintel, online-dating should be worth £150m in the UK alone by 2014.
Not all is lost, however, Georgia Pickard, a student from Nottingham, met her boyfriend on a night out: “It’s hard to meet people these days. Especially on nights-out, as boys usually go out for one thing only, so I count myself lucky and an exception. I’ve been with my boyfriend for nearly two years now though, and couldn’t be happier.”
So is it just that people can’t bring themselves to talk to people when their out and about? Since hiding behind a computer screen gives people the power to be more confident. Georgia argues she would never use a dating-website: “I personally just wouldn’t trust them, I think they’re good for the older generation though. It just seems so unromantic.”
There’s no guessing what the future holds in terms of dating and technology, what once was a ‘hello, nice to meet you’, is now a ‘poke’ on Facebook.