Manti Te'o dating debacle sparks local reaction

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by Matt Doyle

MILWAUKEE -- Online scams are nothing new. Neither are these so-called social media hoaxes.

But this takes it to another level with its wide reaching appeal.  

Students use social media all the time, since most grew up with the technology.

"I'm checking Twitter every now and again,” Marquette University sophomore Ben Greene said.  “I've got it on my phone, got it on my computer, so when I got some down time I'm normally checking that to see what's going on."

Ben Greene works on social media daily at Marquette.  He doesn't see how someone who grew up in the information age could have this sort of hoax happen to them.

"You don't want to assume he's doing it for publicity, but if he's not doing it for publicity then  he's really, really naive."

Social media author Tanya Joosten thinks people look to fill a need through social media relationships.

“People who have communication apprehension can find it easier to communicate online because of the fact they can use text-based communication,” Jootsen said.  “They have more time to craft a message."

Joosten says this sort of thing isn't new though, it's been going since the 1970’s with telephones.

"People deceiving people,” Jootsen said.  “It goes back to human behavior. People make mistakes.  People do things for certain reasons and the technology is a just medium to facilitate that."

Marquette University Journalism professor Herbert Lowe thinks the mainstream media can shoulder the blame. 

"It really should ask some questions of adults who consider themselves journalists,” Lowe said.  “There should have been some questions asked that apparently weren't asked."

And Lowe believes the story will continue to unfold.

"That's just cinematic almost,” Lowe said.  “Now you got to stay to the end of the movie and it's not going to be a good conclusion."
 

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