Valdosta Daily Times

January 20, 2013

Catfishing not a new phenomenon

Kay Harris
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — The word “catfishing” has taken on a whole new meaning in the Internet age, and with the ongoing controversy surrounding the Manti T’eo hoax this week, it seemed an appropriate time to remind people that the Internet is not an infallible instrument, comprised of honest and truth. It is often used by people with less than honorable intentions, and there are currently no restrictions on what is posted for the most part.

For those who may have missed it, T’eo is a Notre Dame player who thought he met a girl on the Internet. He carried on an online relationship with her and was taken in with the rest of the country when he thought she died of leukemia in the fall.

Regardless of your opinion of this young man and how he handled the hoax, the truth is that there are a lot of instances of this exact thing going on all the time. A documentary movie came out a while back which popularized the term “catfishing,” meaning someone who pretends to be someone they’re not on the Internet, when a young man who thought he found the love of his life found that the person wasn’t who he thought when he went to meet her.

The movie inspired a television show, and several episodes have now aired of people who have been taken in on dating sites, chat rooms, fundraising sites, Facebook and more, by others who aren’t who they appear to be. Some have been women posing as men, some have been married posing as single, some have used photos of models to entice others, while some are fraudulently seeking money from others for illnesses and charities that don’t exist.

All that being said, be wary of the Internet when you are making personal decisions about your emotions or your money. If someone really exists, then they won’t have a million excuses not to meet you in person, and if a charity is really worthy, you will be able to find information from other sources to corroborate the plea for money before you actually send a check.

Business Roundup

Lakeland had a great week this week, with the official grand opening of Mozzarella Momma’s, a new restaurant, and also the opening of an H&R Block office.

In Valdosta, the Jameson Inn has changed over to a Baymont Inn & Suites hotel, which is a Wyndham hotel. The inn is located beside Valdosta Mall.

The new office building for Dr’s Urbonas and Rawal is really taking shape. It’s the new construction on North Oak Street near the Winn Dixie plaza.

Still waiting for news on exactly where the new Chicken Salad Chick and Small Cakes restaurants are going on North Oak Street. The construction permits were published a couple of weeks ago, but I haven’t seen or heard anything about the two since.

In Hahira, the new Sew Blessed Quilt shop is now open, along with the Design Station. The businesses are located on Church Street near the coffee shop in downtown Hahira.

Sad news this week — Cole’s Appliance on Ann Street is closing after 40 years in business.

On the positive side, the construction on the cut through for Woodrow Wilson to Gornto Road is coming along quickly. You can see how the road is going to end up, and you can see from Patterson to Gornto now that they’ve removed the obstacles in between. It’s a pretty short distance but in terms of saving time for moving traffic from Bemiss to the mall area, will be a great asset once it’s done.

Also, don’t forget about the overpass on Hill Avenue near downtown. Workers are all over the area now, with lane closures the norm and detours an almost daily occurrence. If you don’t have to come through that way, it’s best to find an alternative route, at least for a while.

Hopefully, other than the projects already underway, some new and exciting things will be announced soon. That’s all for this week, but if there’s something I missed, please let me know!

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