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Catfish: “A person who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent, or deceptive purposes,” according to Merriam-Webster dictionary. Whether it’s a guy is pretending to be his girlfriend, or a plus-sized model is hiding behind a slimmer persona; The Circle by Netflix allows its participants to become whoever they want to be, in return for total isolation.
The reality show was released in early 2020, and it dissects the true meaning of what social media stands for. ‘The Circle’ is a private social media platform, where contestants build up their profiles through inserting bios and pictures and chat with other contestants. The twist? They can’t see one another in person. In fact, contestants are not to have any contact with the outside world, so they are constantly wondering if their new friends are who they claim to be.
Every episode, which follows a day in each of the contestant’s lives, involves fun games and group chats, but it all goes downhill when they are asked to rate each other from least to most favourite. Suddenly, the contestants face the realisation that they might be ‘catfished’ by their fellow competitors, and they have to make tough decisions. Those with the highest ratings are named the ‘Influencers’, while the lowest are at risk of being blocked from the platform; therefore, eliminated from the competition. The winner who lasts through to the finale gets $100,000, but everyone featured gets exposure!
(Via Entertainment Weekly)
We love the series because we get to experience the game from the contestants’ point of views and see the reality of social media. Most of the contestants altered bits about themselves to earn higher ratings, so we were able to understand that people around the globe might be doing just the same. We all know that social media is far from reality, and it is often altered in favour of the account holder to show the accomplished side of their lives. Even though some also tend to post about their challenges, we are always wondering if what we are being exposed to is real or fake.
Lessons learned? Try to be yourself as much as you can, because exaggeration and deceit are often recognised easily. As for your friends, do not read too much into what they are posting, because they are most likely just attempting to paint the perfect picture. Do not use social media for likes, use it to tell stories and keep in touch with your loved ones. Most certainly, never make friends over the internet, because you might just end up with a catfish!