October 6, 2010

Catfish & The Catch 22 Of Social Networking

"Catfish" is the other "facebook movie." Picked up at Sundance last year, the film is slowly updating it's profile in an attempt to become a much buzzed about thriller, similar to last years "Paranormal Activity." The trailer above seems to imply some kind of dangerous element to the film and while some parts of it are suspenseful, on a whole it's not that terrifying.

The big secret of the whole movie is that Megan and that "facebook family" they talk about isn't real. The whole family is basically created by a very lonely Michigan housewife named Angela. That's it, I like other writers before have spilled the beans. I hope no one hates me for it.

What interests me the most about "Catfish" is unlike the highly negative view of social networking purported by "The Social Network," facebook and the internet is actually portrayed as positive in the film. Sure, it's damn shocking Angela creates this fake reality for herself on the internet, but in the film it comes across as some type of depressing therapeutic release.

Yet at the same time, Angela ultimately is deceiving Nev and the the filmakers about who she is. This begs the question: Does social network make us more dishonest or does it allow us to come across as who we really want to be? Think about it, your facebook profile is a projection of yourself. You can say you like "Lost" in your favorite TV shows, but how would people know that you really wish you had longer hair so you could dress up like Desmond for Halloween and search the city for your Penny. Whoah, too much information there, but you know what I mean.

In his excellent review of "The Social Network," New Yorker critic David Denby points out that with social networking we as people are now "packets of information." "Catfish" and "The Social Network" both show us how these information packets function in real and digital life. Zuckerberg desperately wanted to be in a Harvard Finals club and creates a site to destroy the social structure of Harvard. Angela wants romance and creates an online world to satisfy her need. Both of them have a need and use the internet as an escape to what they hope is a better life.

Forget the army, the internet can make you be all you can be, just make your online profile is up to speed.

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