Tag Archives: Facebook

RULE NO.24: FAKE SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES WILL HAVE YOU FOOLED

Modern Gay Facebook Profile Marcello Alvarez

If you’ve befriended someone on social media who you think is too perfect to be real, you’re probably right. 

It was five hours before my 3,000 word university essay was due and with 2,500 words left to write, I did what any good student would do, I procrastinated. Somehow I had moved from ‘evaluating qualitative methods for marketing research’ to prowling Facebook. While jumping from profile to profile, I stumbled upon the page of a remarkably good looking Australian boy. His profile picture was typical of those used by many gay men –  he was in his speedos, showing off his perfect, tanned body, somewhere close to the beach. Right away I was enamoured by this beautiful specimen of a man whose sexy dark features were more South American than Australian.  The further I clicked through his pictures, the deeper I fell. With thousands of followers, hundreds of picture “likes” and countless complimentary status comments , it was clear that I was not the only one who had been fascinated by this stranger.

Although on face(book) value, his profile seemed legitimate, my intuition told me that something wasn’t right. There were two observations that made me feel uneasy.  Firstly, the friends featured in his pictures all seemed to be of South American appearance which was strange considering that his current location was set to the Gold Coast, an area of Australia known for its blonde haired and blue eyed residents. Secondly, in the background of one of his pictures I noticed a beach which looked very much like Copacabana in Rio.

Having been inspired by the MTV series Catfish, a show which exposes the real people behind fake online profiles, I decided to do my own investigating. I downloaded one of his profile pictures and just like in Catfish, I plugged the picture into a Google Image Search and waited. Immediately hundreds of results appeared. As you can imagine, the images I saw before me did not belong to the so-called Australian but to straight Brazilian model Marcello Alvarez. It was clear that the Facebook profile, with all of its status updates,  pictures and personal details was indeed fake.

Although the individual behind the fake profile may see his actions as harmless entertainment, I feel that this type of deceit is dangerous. Not only is it dangerous for the audience who becomes fascinated by the show of someone else’s life but it’s dangerous for the real person behind the fake profile. Living vicariously through an invented persona achieves nothing in the long run. All those “likes” do not belong to you. All that attention is not directed at you. Where do you hope this will take you? How will it all end now that you’re in so deep?

If Catfish is any indication of the type of people that create these profiles, then typically they all fit a similar mould. They are social recluses from lower socio-economic backgrounds who suffer from self-esteem issues and look nothing like their imagined online personas. Add the pressures faced by young gay men and you can understand why the internet is such an appealing place. The online world gives these types of people the opportunity to live out their fantasies and escape from their real lives.

I always preach the benefits of being true to yourself, so this type of betrayal worries me greatly. However, instead of being enraged by those who abuse Facebook and other social media platforms, we should empathise with them and try understand the reasons behind their actions. Such extreme behaviour and ongoing trickery is a sign of something much deeper than the need for attention.  While I do not condone lying, playing with people’s emotions or eliciting attention through false means, I understand that sometimes the world can be a harsh place from where we need to escape.

Image Credit: Model Florian Van Bael photographed by Philippe Vogelenzang

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RULE NO. 12: IF YOU WANT TO FIND LOVE, PUT YOUR PANTS BACK ON

river_viiperi-grindr-interview_magazine-ftape-com_

Personally, when I’m about to have sex with a new partner I want to be able to unwrap the present, not already knowing what the gift inside looks like.

My mom and dad have been married for 32 years. Theirs is a relationship out of a fairytale. They actually remind me of Allie Hamilton and Noah Calhoun from The Notebook. It’s not that my folks have ever been engaged to other people or that they’ve lived in the Southern States of America. My dad has never built a house for my mom and as far as I know my mother isn’t an heiress. As a matter of fact, my parents and these characters have nothing in common except their undying love for each other. I have never seen two people who are as much in love, apart from the movies, quite like my parents. Their story truly ends happily ever after which is problematic for a person like myself who doesn’t believe in Hollywood endings.

One evening, while I was chatting to my dad about another one of my failed relationships, I asked “Dad, what’s the secret to meeting your soulmate?”.

“There is no secret” he responded, “everyone is just so overexposed these days that there is no magic or mystery in relationships”.

His words instantly struck a chord me with me. I’ve always felt nostalgic for the bygone days when men would court their love interests and couples would create relationships founded on newly learnt knowledge of each other. Perhaps this is why The Notebook is a favourite amongst gays and single women. We’re all hoping that one day our Noah or Ryan Gosling will appear out of anonymity and save us from singledom. But nowadays, with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Grindr, Manhunt, Scruff, Dudesnude etc it seems that nobody remains anonymous for long.

There are no surprises anymore, no intrigue or mystery surrounding people. Not only do I know what you look like without your clothes on but I know what you ate for breakfast. I’ve witnessed all the holidays you took with your ex-boyfriend, your intimate moments in bed together, the walks along the beach, what he bought you for Valentine’s Day. Hell, I’ve even seen the collages of pictures from each week you were together (and I noticed when they stopped too!). I know what you look like in your underpants, I’ve seen your entire wardrobe, I know all your friends and I even know which is your favourite movie. I’ve witnessed all the songs you listen to on Spotify, read all your funny jokes, followed your check-ins at your favourite cafes and know who else was there with you. I’ve virtually met your mother, grandmother and siblings. I’ve seen the inside of your bedroom, know what car you drive, where you have you hair cut, how you take your coffee and what your desk at work looks like. I’ve seen pictures of you when your were a kid and to be honest your were #cuter when you weren’t so vain and wore a shirt more often. Which makes me think, who takes those “selfie” shirtless pictures for you anyway?

Now before you accuse me of hypocrisy, I openly admit that I am responsible for partaking in many of the previously listed activities although I draw the line at soft-core porn. Quite frankly I find it all rather attention seeking but before I digress too far let me bring it back to the purpose of this post. In a time when we are all encouraged to be more linked-in, wouldn’t you prefer it if people kept their face out of your book? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if new love interests had the opportunity to discover all your subtle character traits for themselves? Personally, when I’m about to have sex with a new partner I want to be able to unwrap the present, not already knowing what the gift inside looks like. If everyone’s already seen the package on Instagram, where’s the excitement?

So before you complain about never meeting your Prince Charming or that your relationships never last, step away from the gym mirror, lay down your phone, put your pants back on and ask yourself “what would Noah do?”.

Image: River Viiperi (Paris Hilton’s boyfriend) for Interview Magazine. Here are some more pictures from the September 2012 underwear editorial featuring other male models.

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