In Real Life: Love, Lies & Identity in the Digital Age by Nev Schulman
|In Real Life: Love, Lies & Identity in the Digital Age by Nev Schulman|
|Reviewer: Luke Marlowe|
|Summary: Drawing on his real life experiences – both as one Catfished and one helping to expose Catfishing on his own TV show, Nev Schulman has written a funny, wry and touching book that offers guidance and advice for staying safe on the internet, advice on online dating, and ponders the difference between online interactions and real life ones.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 256||Date: August 2016|
|Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks|
|External links: Author's website|
Nev (it's pronounced Neev) is a man who knows about the darker side of online dating. Known for his documentary Catfish – a film which showed an online flirtation going sour, Nev then began making a tv show of the same name, travelling America to offer advice to those in online relationships, and possibly being catfished (which means being lured into a relationship by someone adopting a fictional online persona). Now the go-to expert in online relationships for millenials, a generation who have never known a world without Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other online places where interactions can form. Here, he takes his investigation to the page – exploring relationships in the era of social media, delving deeply into the complexities of dating in a digital age, and continuing the dialogue his show has begun about how we interact with each other online – as well as sharing insights from his own story.
Now, I should start by admitting that I met my partner several years ago online, and we've been very happy since, although we did meet in real life fairly shortly after beginning to interact online so there was no danger of any Catfishing there! But, I've been using social media for a good 15 or so years, and I'm well aware of the dangers it represents – people using ten year old photos, cyberstalking, false identities – it's prevalent, and can be stumbled across pretty regularly. As a result, this book is incredibly timely – offering genuinely helpful and necessary advice to a generation of people who mainly interact online.
And there's no better expert for it than Nev. Several years ago he was sent an email by an 8 year old child prodigy artist from rural America, who sent him a painting. He began encouraging and interacting with her, and the interactions eventually extended to her mother, stepfather, and half sister. As the months went by, Nev began interacting more and more with the half sister, Megan – emailing on a daily basis, and supporting Megan as she goes through various issues – chemotherapy, financial issues, etc. all of which prevented her from meeting Nev. Eventually, suspecting that something was amiss, Nev journeyed to her hometown, and was met by Megan's mother Angela – who reveals that she was behind the online profiles. A former artist, she struggled to paint after marrying and bringing up two disabled children. Finding that the fake identity she created has helped her be more confident, and the support from Nev has encouraged her to paint again, she is finally able to put the Megan persona to rest, and to celebrate her abilities and talents as herself. Nev returned to New York upset and single – but nowadays is engaged and expecting a baby, and still in contact with Angela.
As a result, he is able to offer fantastic advice – he's never patronising or demanding of the reader, but it's a fantastic guide for those who are perhaps nervous about a burgeoning online relationship, and unsure how or why to progress with it. The tales from Nev's life are fantastically told too – always honest and open, with a strong sense of self deprecation. For anyone who's a fan of the film or show Catfish, or anyone who's encountered the fascinating world of social media and online dating – this is a read that both offers guidance, humour, and some important life lessons along the way. Many thanks to the publishers for the copy.
For further reading, Celebrity: How Entertainers Took Over The World and Why We Need an Exit Strategy by Marina Hyde is worth a read – much like In Real Life, it's a look at a modern phenomenon, and ways we've learnt to deal with it
You can read more book reviews or buy In Real Life: Love, Lies & Identity in the Digital Age by Nev Schulman at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy In Real Life: Love, Lies & Identity in the Digital Age by Nev Schulman at Amazon.com.
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