Last week I received a friend request from someone I only recognized as a person who frequently comments on a friend’s Wall. I looked at her friend list – dozens of familiar faces. I looked at her photos – some taken with people I know at events I attended. Do I know her? Have we met? The name of her blog sounded vaguely familiar, the friends in common all trustworthy. I clicked.
It rattled me. I’ve been on Facebook for a hundred years or so now and have been fairly good at creating boundaries that are comfortable for me. In my early days of blogging I confirmed friends if they were someone I spoke to often on Twitter. Realizing that my friend list was becoming a Twitter followers list, I quickly revised this, encouraging readers to like my blog page and saving my personal page for people I knew and had met at least once in person. Simple rule, right? And yet this proverbial friend request that broke the camel’s back led me to write this:
Maybe I’ve watched too many episodes of Catfish. Or maybe I’ve been lied to too many times myself. There’s nothing quite like a close friend asking to you go ahead and assume that 90% of what was ever said to you was a lie. Jarring is the only way to describe that experience. And permanently so.
Or maybe, just maybe, it’s that I have come to realize that the person we present to the world each and every day is the person we want others to know, whether that is 100% authentic or merely 10%. Or as it is in some sad and sadly too common cases, completely fabricated.
We determine what pictures we post.
We select what news we announce.
We are responsible for what we believe.
There’s a chance that in the coming days Manti Te’o will hold a press conference to tell the world that he compulsively makes up girlfriends, that it began with a white lie in middle school and developed into a full-fledged duping of the American public.
My guess is that it’s just as likely that this young man was tricked, manipulated, and hurt and is now ashamed and embarrassed.
The truth may be somewhere in between, but in the end we’ll only know what they decide to tell us.
Who do you really know? What do you choose to share?
And what do you believe?