With everything seemingly heading into the direction of social media and photo manipulation to create seemingly real desires, the lines between reality and fiction gets ever blurred. I remember growing up with the wonders of MSN messenger and Bebo combined with the deadly combination that is Microsoft Paint and online text editors you could become a social king on the playground but recent years have seen vast improvements in both areas.
Now the social kings are the ones who seem to play the system, with Facebook, Twitter and Co we have started to see the ability you have to create a fictional you, multiple versions of you or pose as someone else and if your lie is coherent enough and with enough dedication to the cause, it is very unlikely anyone will be come any the wiser. Of course with these sites you need a stream of photos, which most people use less popular sites to obtain images and information such as Myspace or steal of other peoples Facebook sites and start playing the game of “it’s the real me, they’re a fake”. Now this is quite common knowledge that his happens, we have seen a film and a TV series been formed from this realisation, coining the term “Catfish” to describe people posing as someone they’re not on social media sites and as the show discovers these people usually pose as long distances away, steal others photos and scans another person’s to lose themselves in this persons world.
This is further aided by the ability to manipulate photos so believably, not only do professionals have access to these programmes there are all kind of free, demo and bootleg versions around that most people have a working understanding on how to edit a photo and most do it with the intention to create a piece of work or some kind of funny image. Then you get the people who try and photoshop pictures of themselves with celebrities, which half the time are easy to spot as fake and there is no back story or nothing believable as to how they got this picture.
But, what happens when you get a Catfish who can manipulate imagery? A very believable lie.
This is exactly what Zilla van de Born did, the 25 year old artist from Amsterdam created an elaborate lie with her boyfriend, telling friends and family she was going travelling to Asia and would post everything on Facebook. For a month, she hid in her flat, leaving in disguise and taking pictures in local swimming pools, the beach and her living room, which she then edited to make it seem like she had been travelling to all these beautiful places and meeting all these people. She fully committed to the lie by getting and topping up her tan over the month making it darker to seem like she had been catching more sun and even sending home postcards, yet the only person who knew any different was her boyfriend who was helping her. She revealed all to her parents, friends and family all who were shocked at how easily they had believed the lie and how easily she had created this fiction when in reality she had never left. This has now blown the lid on people faking their locations coining the term fakecationing and is another tool in the armoury for the Catfish.