We're all familiar with Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost's 2010 documentary Catfish. A story of boy-meets-girl, boy falls for girl, girl turns out to be not what she seems. Girl is in fact a "catfish" - an internet troll of sorts, posing as someone else online in order to form relationships and presumably entertain themselves in a bizarre,anti-social manner.
In this particular instance, the "girl" didn't just pose as our hero's potential girlfriend, but as her mother, friend and an assortment of other relatives. Creepy.
From there, Catfish became the hit MTV show for teens to binge-watch routinely, and the word itself has also made it into the online Urban Dictionary:
A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they're not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.
But surely these sorts of characters existed before the low-budget documentary brought the idea to global attention? That's right Meg Ryan, they certainly did! Whe Nora Ephron's 1998 rom-com You've Got Mail hit cinemas, the very idea of online dating was new, exciting and potentially a little scary.
Enter Meg Ryan's 'Shopgirl' who falls for Tom Hanks' 'NY152' online, as she waits by her computer each night for those three magic words, "you've got mail". Much like many modern dating scenarios, the pair have never met,, but quickly realise they have a lot in common and much to talk about - including their real-life dislike of... each other.
A fun look back at where internet dating all started, with the ultimate case of mistaken identity partnered with the flinching sound of boardband dial up.
You can catch You've Got Mail on 35mm at FACT this Valentine's Day. Click here to book tickets. P.S mega fans should also check out the fantastically 90s website for the movie, still active here.