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  1. This podcast was fascinating to me, especially as a writer of fiction. I’m surprised the role of social media didn’t make more of a prominent appearance in the podcast conversation. Stephen was talking about storytelling and how we inherently modify our stories to fit appropriately into the situation. Yes, this happened in the mainstream media as Te’o’s story was molded (by him and others) to create whatever message was most compelling to the consumers of that media. But, what I find even more interesting, is the shaping and building of stories that happens with us all on a more personal level as the virtual facade of social media allows us to move our own narratives forward in a beneficial way. We only post the most flattering pictures of ourselves on facebook. When we carry on a conversation via email as opposed to face-to-face, we have the benefit of time to develop our responses. When we comment on a podcast, we are able to listen, ponder, formulate a set of ideas and then respond in a thoughtful way. We are all creating the stories of ourselves that we want others to see. Even if this wasn’t a hoax, even if this girl happened to be real, Te’o would have been naïve in trusting his feelings for her considering the virtual circumstances of their relationship. Having said that, what happened to him was an inexcusable act of cruelty and I wish him the very best.

  2. I’m frustrated when a narrative blames the victim. Ronaiah Tuiasosopo (RT) is the purpetrator; Te’o is victim. Media puts attention on Te’o because he is the famous/public figure. It is clear that RT spent dozens of hours advancing his hoax; Te’o was simply living his life. Society needs a penalty for catfishing. In recent years, many of us were caught in misplaced belief too: the housing and financial crash.

    1. You’re right. Even if Te’o was under the influence of his own naivete, he is absolutely not to blame for what happened to him.

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