I am always skeptical when watching a “reality tv show”, there is so much production behind the scenes that it is sometimes hard to gauge the real emotion of the host or hosts as in the case here. Catfish is the most popular show on MTV and currently has 4 seasons with investigators Nev Schulman and Max Joseph. It is a reality tv show that helps people who are connected online, but have never met in person before…meet. Many of the episodes revolve around an individual who has been disingenuous about who they really are to the person(s) they are talking to. It is quite astonishing at the lengths some people go to hide their true self and every week the show is currently airing is an adventure that can take several different turns in the hour of TV you are consuming. From all the episodes that I have watched an underlying theme appears to be present and that is one of insecurity. Insecurity comes in many different forums, one can be uncomfortable with the way they look, fear of rejection from the person they have established this bond with, and ironically even possibly being uncomfortable IN PERSON with the person they have connected with.
DISTANCE AND TIMING
One of the biggest things I have always kept in mind in developing this app is distance and timing when it comes to forming a new relationship. This is not necessarily limited to romantic encounters, but all relationships in general. One of the biggest things in forming any new relationship is the starting point from where that relationship forms. When you meet someone on a popular social network it’s not really a significant memory immediately, it is merely a tool to hopefully get you to that significant first meeting. That special initial feeling gets lost and can only be backtracked to a twitter handle or possibly facebook message later on, it just doesn’t have the weight on a face to face meeting.
Distance is something I’ve debated with my circle, but how do you feel about distance? In catfish, many of the people who are connected are hundreds and sometimes even thousands of miles away from each other. Clearly the internet has helped people find each other over great distances, but shouldn’t those in your immediate circle get first dibs? It’s only natural…close proximity to each other means higher chance of bumping into the person at a local venue. I don’t agree with limiting search distances, but do think that those in your immediate surroundings should have a greater opportunity match with you. Let the individuals figure out what makes sense around them and expand out over time, I am almost satisfied with what I am working on. Something that is certain is that 100 mile limits suck, we shouldn’t have limits when it comes to distance with the way the internet has connected us together.
This week I spent quite a bit of time researching on the catfish tv show and Nev Schulman. I think Nev has made some very good points in his book, interviews that have been posted online, and of course on catfish the tv show. I somewhat agree with him that there is no way a digital relationship can be as meaningful as an in person one, but it is a difficult question to answer without diving in deep as to what one would consider a meaningful relationship in the first place. What is a strong connection? Where is the graph to indicate that one should not consider a relationship meaningful at a certain point? There are no answers to these difficult questions, only more questions on top of questions. There are no concrete answers today and that’s okay, In this this connected world in where we try to get to the minutia of every single topic and idea a couple of things that can’t be explained makes us uncomfortable. This week has made me focus on letting the idea of trying to get to the bottom of every single communication problem we face today and just let it be, it usually tends to work itself out in time. Less is more at times, it’s the subtle details that usually make the biggest impact. I can’t wait to go to New York next month to talk some more about this vision with those who like to solve problems.
For this post I will leave you with the fantastic song “Fade into you” by Mazzy Star. It is rare that a song captures a completely heartbroken person who is yet seemingly glad to have met this person who they are hurt over. It is haunting and I get chills every single time that chorus start. I can’t describe it any better than that, just take a listen for yourself.