The following exchange over Twitter has confused to the point of complete befuddlement. I can’t work out whether this a hilariously ridiculous or actually a dark example of how uncertain the internet is.
On Twitter, I followed accounts of similar interest to me. Yesterday, (21st July) I followed a large group of people and this particular account followed me back. Once we were connected, this user sent me a message.
The following exchange is what happened in what turned out to be a very odd conversation. I have removed the profile picture of the user and I’m not posting the name or Twitter handle. The only pretext you as a reader you need to know is that the Twitter name is a typical girl’s name and the profile photo was a young man of about 18 – I would guess. My first thought was that this was some sort of scam so, I played ball… sort of.
*The reason I asked such an obscure question was because I didn’t know at this point whether I was actually talking to a person or an algorithm. I was trying to use stimulus that would generate human responses but it all seemed rather robotic. Or, someone who was real but who had English as a second language.
*Although I was toying with my mystery conversational partner, I was still not going to give any information about myself. Then the next part of the conversation shook me a little bit and I started to feel quite uneasy.
*It was here that I decided to end the conversation because I started to question who this person was. Could this have been the scam artist I thought it was? Or could it have been an actual 14-year-old girl? Even if it was’t the idea of someone pretending to be a girl of that age made me feel a little sick.
Then I got this response.
I could just take this as one of those wacky people that you often meet on social website and we could all have a laugh about. Or perhaps we should use it as an unsettling reminder that we never really know who I we are talking to. My webiste/ blog and my twitter have two actual pictures of me. I don’t put any more on because I am not bothered about parading myself all over the internet. Who knows where those pictures could turn up. Not to mention the fact that I may not even be that actual person.
At one point in the conversation, the profile picture of the person I was speaking to changed to a picture of a teenage girl. Whether this was a genuine photo of my correspondent, I don’t know. The picture has since been changed back to another picture of the original lad – whoever that is.
The nature of what we were talking about and the incessant pursuit of a ‘relationship’ seemed very odd to me. Perhaps because I was on the other end of it but to an external observer, maybe it is just a day in the life of a teenage girl online nowadays? I hope not. But what do you think?
Is this funny, or is this a harrowing example of the legacy we are creating in our digital world?