Social media has a positive side and a dark side. One of the challenges with social media is the anonymity it provides to its users. It is important to know who is on the other end of the conversations you are having. We often assume that the person conversing with us is who they say they are. However, have you ever had your doubts that maybe the person was not who they were portraying themselves to be? Let’s look at some ways to protect yourself and ensure the people you are engaging with are who they say they are.
A “catfish” is someone who is not who they say they are online. It is not always easy to tell if you are talking to a “catfish” or not but there are some ways to investigate. The first clue I always seem to pick up on is in their speech. They try to get to know you too fast and ask more questions about you than they are often willing to answer about themselves. If I feel that there is something “off” I will check their profile. In my experience, every time I check, I have noticed that they only have a handful of photos and hundreds of followers. That many people don’t typically follow you if you only have a few pictures. If you want to double check this, look up the people that are following them, and see if they too only have a few pictures posted with many followers. At this point I will normally block them if I am suspicious. Another way to check is to click on one of their pictures and drag it to your Google search bar and reverse image search the picture. (wikiHow, 2019, para 2) Are they who they say they are, or do you find the photo belongs to someone else completely?
Image found on https://www.wikihow.com/Spot-a-Catfish
What can you do to protect yourself? When using social media for business or for personal use, it is important to check out who you are talking to online. Watch for suspicious signs like people who are asking for money before you receive services or products. Check reviews and see if the business checks out. “Be smart. Fake Facebook accounts usually have extremely low friend counts, photos with no tags in them (or no tags linking to actual Facebook pages) and photos that don’t include family members, friends, or everyday adventures. If every photo looks like it came straight from a modeling portfolio, raise that red flag. (eHarmony, 2014, para 3)” Always be aware that not everyone is honest and it is your job to make sure you do all you can to verify what is true. To be safe when networking, add people you know and build from their friends’ list.
Just like anything else, social media has pros and cons. Social media can be very useful for many things, including connecting people and networking. However, one must still be aware of the negative possibilities too. Even for businesses using social media, it is important to be cognizant of this. Being aware of these possibilities means that you can be proactive and set some guidelines/boundaries for when it does happen.
What tips and tricks do you have to avoid a “catfish” online?
wikiHow. (2019, December 30). Spot a catfish. Retrieved from https://www.wikihow.com/Spot-a-Catfish
eHarmony. (2014). How to avoid being catfished. Retrieved from https://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/how-to-avoid-being-catfished/
Facebook: Do you think you are being catfished? Do you want to learn ways to protect yourself? Click here and find out ways to make sure this doesn’t happen to you. http://bit.ly/2SXc3ky
Twitter: Catfished? How 2 unveil the mask! http://bit.ly/2SXc3ky
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