Catching a Catfish: Constructing the ‘good’ social media user in reality television

Lovelock, Michael (2017) Catching a Catfish: Constructing the ‘good’ social media user in reality television. Television and New Media, 18 (3). pp. 203-217. ISSN 1527-4764

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This article interrogates the cultural work of ‘old’ media texts which take social media use as a narrative focus. Employing the MTV reality show Catfish: The TV Show as a case study, I argue that, in this program, the specific conventions of reality television - authenticity, confession and self-realization – work to produce and circulate normative scripts of “appropriate” and “inappropriate” ways to articulate the self on social media, which align with reality TV’s established investment in the concept of the ‘authentic’ self. Further, I argue that the show’s representations of social media use valorize the primacy of connecting with and accepting one’s ‘real’ self, making legible a subject position which speaks particularly to young people – the program’s target demographic – in the contemporary juncture of 2010s ‘crisis’ neoliberalism, by transposing political questions into personal crises.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: social media,reality television,facebook,catfish: the tv show,catfishing,identity
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2016 00:07
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2022 01:21
DOI: 10.1177/1527476416662709


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