The virtual sleuth’s new book, “In Real Life,” has officially hit bookstores, and it couples topics that are explored on the hit MTV show (why people fall in love with Catfish, how you can spot red flags online) with new conversations (the power of the “digital detox,” why fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be). Whether your relationship’s in the pits, or you can’t seem to curb your addiction to the World Wide Web, the in-print guide will double as your bible, and Nev told MTV News all about what you can expect with a read.
See what Nev said, head to his website to order a copy of “In Real Life” and check out the details of his book tour below!
You’re an Internet expert on a TV show — why a book?
I’m very actively looking to branch out — to begin to define myself as more than the “Catfish” guy, as well as someone with a more rounded personality. I feel very satisfied when I make the show, because it’s a real product and I’m producing real material. But I thought a book — though it seems like the antithesis to what I do with social media and my career in the online space — would be a really good thing for me, and for those people like me who find themselves addicted to indulging in social media so much that it keeps them from the satisfaction of reading.
What will ’Catfish’ fans learn from ’In Real Life’?
What the book does in a more prescriptive way is say: OK, now you, the reader, should actually be dealing with these things. I’m not just making a show that you’re watching, I’m actually speaking directly to you [and] giving you the best advice I can based on personal experience. It’s more direct — and hopefully effective — in terms of getting people to look inward and take some steps toward changing themselves that will make them happier or more fulfilled.
How can readers forge authentic relationships online? What more should they push for?
It’s definitely tough. I’m still working on achieving a genuine connection in a physical context. It’s hard to really say what you mean and know what you want — it’s confusing, but what the book does is encourage people to do it. Try it. It’s so much easier to not try things, or to ignore or postpone things — we do it with everything from homework to breakups. Conflict is something people want to avoid, and messy, uncomfortable situations suck. Speaking up is difficult, but I’m getting better at it. And that’s something I’m hoping to communicate through the book: If there’s something you want, you’ve got to go for it. If you’re unhappy or dissatisfied, the only person who can change that is you. So get moving.
We hear so much about “red flags.” Are there any good signs people should look out for when meeting someone new online?
I don’t think anyone’s ever asked me that. I think you can kind of tell, when you go to someone’s Instagram or Twitter or Facebook, that they are comfortable being real. They can laugh at themselves. If they make a grammatical error, instead of deleting a post, they’ll say ’Oops, I’m such an idiot!’ It’s just about seeing someone accept that they are who they are, and [they’re] comfortable posting what’s less than perfect.
Showing your scars is key. If you really want to build trust with people, and you really want them to respect you, they have to know that you’ve made mistakes and that you’ve learned and grown, that you started out backwards and crooked just like everyone else. People should do that more online and off.
— September 4: Barnes & Noble/Union Square – NYC – 7 p.m.
— September 6: Barnes & Noble/The Grove – Los Angeles, CA – 2 p.m.
— September 8: Barnes & Noble Lincoln Park – Dallas, TX – 7 p.m.
— September 10: Barnes & Noble at Old Orchard – Skokie, IL – 7 p.m.