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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

So, how well do you actually know someone on Twitter?

Someone once described Twitter to me as the new Mxit - only it's on your computer, and not your cellphone. I've never used Mxit before, and started using Twitter last year to try and promote my new business. After a while, someone suggested that I stop only marketing and promoting my business, as this actually puts some people's backs up - and start chatting to people and finding out what they are interested in, etc - just as you would in real life. (You don't just walk up to someone new and start talking about your product when you first meet them!) So this is what I did, and it's definently helped. You can't believe the amount of information going around daily, hourly and by the minute on Twitter; from the best places to eat, to which companies to avoid doing business with, to movie ratings, jokes and anything and everything you can think of. Twitter was also first to report the shark attack that happened earlier this year at Fishhoek, in Cape Town - even before

When you're on Twitter, you usually chat to more or less the same group of people on a daily basis. To do this, your first need to decide who is interesting enough that you want to "follow", and then other people will decide if they want to "follow" you.  Naturally, like any interaction between people who share common interests or goals, you look forward to catching up for a few minutes a day with these people. Yes, you get the spammers, as you do everywhere on the internet - but generally everyone is genuine in who they are and what they do. Well, almost everyone...

Last week was a bit of a shocker for me. Two people in particular, of whom I will not mention names, (there are still some people who want to stay out of this, or who don't believe what's happening - and each to his own, I'm not judging anyone - this is my point of view and thoughts only) came into my life on Twitter. These two people, in their early twenties and seemingly passionate about what they do for a living, came off as very entertaining - you couldn't help but like them immediately, and I will admit I usually looked forward to what they'd be tweeting about. The shocker? It appears (again, my opinion) that what these two people have been feeding us all these months, may just be a big fat lie. A few people suspect the same, but most have just shrugged it off. Me - I was going to do business with one of them, I generally liked them and I don't like being fooled. So, that's what this blog post is about - not about outing these two, pointing fingers or being vindictive, I want other people to be aware that not everyone is who they appear to be - no matter how nice, funny or smart they come off as.

So, why do I think these two people are faking who one of them is, or even who they both are? This is what I've picked up over the last few days, and it's my opinion and point of view only:

  • Their status on Facebook is "Engaged" but there isn't a single photo of the two of them together. Not one. This is what initially made me question their relationship, but then other people started questioning more things that just didn't make sense.
  • One of them has over 700 pictures of herself, she loves having her photo taken (her words), but again - not a single photo of the two of them together. Odd.
  • Of the 700 photos, alot of them are model shots - you'd think this lady was a professional model, yet she only want's to work in the beauty / stylist industry. Why? She's 25, not 35...
  • There isn't one single photo of her with a landmark or anything familiar that is from Cape Town or South Africa...not one. Strange.
  • In my opinion, after looking at her photos again - I noticed that the type of clothes, the food, etc didn't look like it was from SA at all, we're still quite conservative - if I had to guess, I'd say it looked quite American really. Again - MY opinion. No proof, no facts - just what I think.
  • She went to visit her family for a month over December - 2 hours away from her fiance, yet they never got together - not even once, while he was working. Surely if you're in love, you'd want to see each other? (He lives in Gauteng).
  • He plans to move to Cape Town to be with his fiance, but seems very relaxed where he is right now and not really bothered when he sees her. He just got a new job (part time). Is it just me, or if you're in love, won't you try anything to move to be with your love? I don't get it.
  • No one has ever met her. A few people (myself included) have made appointments with her to do business together, but she either doesn't get back to you, cancels at the last minute or simply doesn't pitch up. Strange...
  • Anyone who asked a simple question last week, those of us who didn't understand these things (like why there are no pictures of the two of them together), were blocked from their Twitter accounts and taken off as friends from FaceBook immediately. Does this look like they have nothing to hide? To me - this is a very clear indication that everything, or most of what I suspected is true.
 So there you have it. I don't have proof and I don't really care anymore. I just had to put it all out there, because there are alot of these people out there, some of them have alterior motives and you just can't be too careful. Just because someone has put hours into their Facebook page with photo albums and information and who tweet everyday, does not mean that person is real or who they say they are. The days of IRC chatting are gone, but Twitter and FaceBook are here to stay. If you're ever in doubt, ask questions - you have a right to know who you are talking to and sharing information with. With that said, not everyone is out to play a game or scam you - you just need to see the bigger picture, and not be afraid to question things that seem a bit out of place.


  1. I would just like to know, why oh why oh why?

  2. While we all lead public lives online, there are certain things that can and should remain private. While I tend to tweet my real life.. there is a place for "fake" accounts.

    I do not condone playing emotional games with people and if people want to do business with you, just be honest about your intentions online.
    I have no emotional involvement in the accounts concerned, so I couldn't really be bothered.
    But something about this "are you real" witchhunt makes me feel really uncomfortable.

    If your message is just to be careful out there.. sure, everyone should protect themselves. But to throw around accusations at other people with no real proof seems a bit low.

    Really hope the matter is resolved.
    But I fear that the individuals may just close their accounts and move on.
    There is only so much that one person can take.

  3. Funny that you now bring this up. In unrelated news to what you mentioned above (I'm not even sure who you are talking about, because I'm ALWAYS the last to know interesting things like this!!), The Dad and I had a major argument about my social-media 'addiction', for lack of a better word, sometime last week.

    He is not very keen on either Twitter or Facebook and Mxit is like a swear word in our house. I'm not on Mxit, but I am on Twitter and Facebook. He also maintains that you have NO idea if the people you are talking to are real and doesn't like me broadcasting what he deems private information to strangers.

    I had to assure him though, that of the people I follow on Twitter (which aren't that many) I have met almost 90% of them in real life. Also, my Facebook friends are ALL people I have had a connection with at one time or another in my life. Be it primary school, high school or work. I don't accept just any friend invitations and (yes, it's an ego thing) I can probably count on my hand the number of times I sent a friend request to someone.

    I think that as with all things in life, caution is key...

  4. @boobahsmom - I agree with you completely. This has definently been an eye-opener for me. I also generally only accept friend requests on Facebook of people I have met in real life, but now and then I add someone that I haven't met, but spoken to for a while (i.e. on Twitter). I'd rather say something now, than sit back and be sorry later. And yes, strive to be extra cautious from now on...

  5. @anib - thanks for the comment. If you read my blog again, you will notice that I do not name a single person...I did this for a reason. I did not throw any accusations around, I simply put my own opinions forward and asked some questions that a few other people have thought as well - have even commented on. I don't care to know every detail of someone, yes - a lot of things are private and should stay that way. But when more than one person compares personal accounts (on a few things I mentioned in the blog), you start to wonder. Then you ask a simple question and the defence walls go straight up and you get threatened. Then you wonder even more. This has happened on other occasions with other entirely different people and that's what the blog is about. Not in attacking anyone - simply putting it out there, you can take it any way you like. Yes, I was going to do business with one of them - in fact, THEY approached me and then just avoided me after that (as they did with a few other people aswell). My goal for all of this is just to make people aware. I don't care about the said individuals anymore - they're not worth it in my opinion, and I really don't appreciate or have time for little emotional games. I very much doubt that they will be closing their accounts anytime soon to be honest. That said, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. If I upset anyone, I appologise - that was not my intention. Hopefully this has opened a few people's eyes and made them more aware of what can happen, just to be careful what you say online, that's all.

  6. @Donmulto - To answer your question as to why I wrote this blog, it's simple. I don't like being lied to or threatened with legal action for asking a simple question (my husband was last week by one of the two nameless people above by the way), and I like to know who I'm talking to. I wrote this not to attack anyone, it's quite diplomatic and just lays out MY opinions and questions. I never mentioned anyone else who had the same or similar questions last week as I did, who are suddenly clamming up now. Each to their own opinions - that's fine, but I'm trying to warn people out there that this type of thing really does happen and people just need to be more careful.

    If you're asking me why they did this...I would imagine that they are very bored individuals, and enjoy messing with people. If it's true. There's no proof obviously, like I said - it's just my opinion. But I think they'd have to really not enjoy the "real" world they live in, and need to pretend to be someone else. Who knows why people do these type of things anyway. It's just very sad.

  7. I'm out of the loop on the whole thing - being an American and all - so I wasn't privy to the "no Cape Town" clues. I didn't notice that something was amiss until yesterday when I noticed they'd been absent from Twitter's social sphere. However, after getting a clearer picture from one of the mutuals, I did a little digging...on "her" Facebook.

    She had a million photos. A ton. And all of them appeared to tag other friends. Nothing here that screamed "FAKE", but if one actually went to those friends' profiles, they'd notice something odd. While said profiles were private, the friends lists weren't. Each of the friends that she had tagged only had *five* (maybe, six) friends each...all the other friends that were tagged.

    I'm still holding out for a clearer picture, but that was the one red herring I ran into.

  8. @Geoff - You're right. When I had a feeling last week, I also went through her photos and wondered why the same people were always tagged. Only went on two of the "friends" profiles and came across the same thing that you did.

  9. i was one of the people that thought this couldnt possibly be true! I'm the kind of person that always tries to believe the best of people and perhaps that is naive of me. After reading your blog, i went and had a look at "her" pics. One thing stood out most for me: Nobody, but nobody in SA wears jersey's and scarves at Christmas - its freaking Summer! And every single person in her Christmas photo's was wearing winter clothing. They have thus both been blocked and this has definitely been a lesson to me in terms of the internet and blind faith.

  10. hahahaha @MC and @Geoff! You two should become Cyber Sleuths :D

  11. @Anonymous - I didn't think of true about the Christmas photos, and winter clothing. What I did pick up was how overdressed they seemed to be, and the huge Christmas tree and decorations. It really is sad, and at first I also didn't want to believe it - I really genuinely liked them both. But, when you start putting two and two together, it's fairly obvious what's been going on. A big lesson for us all to be more careful on the internet.

  12. @boobahsmom - Lol!!! That would be a cool job! ;) I'm definently going to look out for things like this from now onwards, and not just take things at face value.

  13. @boobahsmom there are few of us cyber sleths who don't wanna be named at present that has been suspecting this for a few months.

    the fact that they blocked and removed everyone on my mutual list is a sign that they don't want people to find out anything. ( they removed EIGHT ) they went into a MAJOR defensive shell. ignoring questions, threatening legal action and basically dodging stuff. if the person really did stay where they claimed to be staying and when asked to provide a would have taken them 10 seconds to provide it. but no.

    anyhoo, it just shows you they have something to hide and the other people defending them are too narrow minded or don't even know what is happening.
    they are removing themselves from everyone who suspects them so that they can't be found out.

    i could go on for a while but alas, nothing will come from it.

  14. @Anonymous - thanks for the comment. Good point on the other people that have been defending them from the get go. That's understandable, I also wanted to at first, but I actually put things together and went and did some digging before saying my say. I didn't accuse, I asked questions - which were all avoided like yours, and I was blocked. What does that tell you? The people that are defending them, should first look at the entire picture before attacking or judging those of us who can see the bigger picture, and are trying to warn people out there to be careful.

  15. @Boobahsmom - I only did the dig because I've run into this issue before on several occasions - mostly back in the "Myspace Era"; people that created whole fictitious lives (with fictitious) friends. Multiple profiles.

    It even inspired a novel idea.