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#AvoidTheCatfish – Signs You Have A Catfish, Part 1

Last week, we discussed how catfishing deters people from wanting to find a relationship online. This week, we are talking about the first sign you should look for to determine whether you or someone you know could have a catfish.

First, let’s look back to when digital connection really took off on the World Wide Web:

In the 1990s, everyone at some point in time either had AOL Instant Messenger or participated in one of the infamous MSN chat rooms – asking for your ‘age sex and location’ aka “a/s/l”.

If you had a personal home computer at the time, your family was doing pretty well. If you had a personal computer in the house with accessories like a microphone and a webcam, your parents were probably driving a luxury vehicle.

AOL Instant Messenger and MSN chat rooms allowed people of all ages from all across the world to connect digitally via text communication, a.k.a. instant messaging. This became really popular among the millennial generation, and, unfortunately, those with predatory instincts and intentions..

When a profile was created, your main image could be anything from butterflies to bowling balls to hotdogs. One could say any name they wanted, be any age they wanted, and from any location in the world.

Fast forward to 2016 – everyone has access to a smart phone, where a built-in camera for photos and videos is standard, and you can purchase a laptop for $200 without having to ask if the computer comes with a built-in webcam. It’s like asking if the computer will connect to the internet – we just assume it’s included.

Conclusion: there’s no way to hide your “real” self with today’s technology.

Or is there?

Check out this clip from an episode of MTV’s Catfish about how someone refused to video chat online:

Why do we see more and more people being catfished online when apps like Skype, FaceTime and Google Hangouts are not only accessible, but free?

A “catfish” might come up with an excuse like “oh I have a flip phone,” or “my internet connection is very slow,” or “I have a smartphone and a laptop but my camera is broken.”

So, people settle for audio communication, whether it’s through apps like Voxer, WhatsApp or WeChat, or even just through a regular, old school phone call. Hearing someone’s voice gives the illusion that they are real – they’re able to emotionally reenact conversations that you had through chat rooms or instant messaging apps.

If a person is not able to communicate via video message, whether they live one mile away or 1000 miles away, there is a very high chance that you or someone you know is being catfished.

 

#avoidthecatfish

We at Encounter want to believe most people have the best intentions, and we want to give the benefit of the doubt to those who may be having technological issues. So, we’ve come up with some suggestions for connecting digitally with someone you want to have a deeper connection with, but have not been able to have a real video chat conversation:

  • Recommend borrowing a family member or friend’s device. Everyone has family. We hope everyone has friends. When a device like a smart phone or laptop is connected to wireless internet, you won’t be charged for any type of data streaming like you would with a cell phone signal or a hotspot. Even if it’s just for five minutes, set the time in your schedule and make it work. Wireless internet is free and available at a lot of public places, like McDonald’s and Starbucks.
  • Ask for a Google email address, Apple ID or Skype ID. Google Hangouts, FaceTime, and Skype are apps everyone has heard of and probably used at least once in their lifetime. If the person cannot come up with one of the three, run. Run far, far away.
  • Ask the person to go to the local public library. From there, they can log onto one of the library’s computers to start a video conversation. Every neighborhood has a public library, and it’s another free place in the community where there is free internet access, and they are open most days of the week.

Some people just like staying off the grid, but if they really care about you the way you care about them, they will go above and beyond to initiate and create a video conversation. After numerous attempts, if a video chat is never achieved, you are more than likely being catfished. End the relationship and cut off all ties immediately.

Encounter’s users understand that not having access to direct messaging until a physical date keeps everyone accountable for their actions. Settling for photos and a “hey” message isn’t enough.

People who catfish rely on instant messaging as the gateway to your head, and your heart. Be smart with your heart. Use Encounter to find real people who want to get to know the real you, in the real world.

 

Our #AvoidTheCatfish series will be posted weekly on our blog every Wednesday. We’re happy to see the number of people who have enjoyed reading the series – Encounter wants to revolutionize the way people make authentic connections with one another.

Check out the features of Encounter with our product video, or read our blog post to see the break down of how Encounter works. Encounter is available for download now on iPhone.

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