Once upon a time, there was a girl named Hannah. She was a Northwester economics major from Idaho Falls, Idaho who met one of her current roommates while they were both abroad in Spain their junior year. She just got a Facebook for the first time ever, so she's currently super active to make up for lost time.
Oh, yeah, and did I mention that she's fake?
Hannah is a completely fake person that my roommates and I created as a joke a few months ago to play a trick on our friend, but her notoriety quickly got out of control. Within weeks, she was friends with approximately half of Northwestern and people routinely asked us about her. Basically, we accidentally catfished all of our friends.
It all started one night in February when my (real) roommates and I were at a party. One of our friends, after seeing us for the first time since getting back from abroad, said something along the lines of "OMG I know all of you who live in that apartment! You have to invite me over!" All of this would have been fine (because of course we invited him over), had it not been for the fact that one of us thought it would be funny to joke "Oh, but do you know our roommate Hannah?" Unfortunately for us, our friend went with the question and we were suddenly in too deep.
During a bout of procrastination a few days later, my roommates and I decided that, if we were going to do this, we had to do it right. Naturally, our new fake roommate needed a Facebook account. But how would we account for her previous lack of Facebook? How would we post pictures of her to make her seem real? How would we continue to convince our friend that she's real....and then eventually fess up? Luckily, we had answers to all of these questions. Hannah had never had a Facebook before, so she was naturally really excited about it and decided to friend everyone her roommates knew. One of the actual roommates has a good friend without a Facebook, so we asked her if we could post pictures of her. We assumed that, if they had enough mutual friends, our friend would eventually assume he knew her and accept her Facebook request.
So we went ahead and sent friend requests to our friends who were in the know, posted some pictures of our Facebook-less friend, and then hoped against hope he would believe us. We even made her post Dance Marathon pictures to make her seem involved on campus (and not have to worry about a profile picture for a while). That's where it all got crazy. After sending friend requests to lots of friends, some other people began to notice.... and started sending her their own friend requests. Crazy, right? The things people will do if you have mutual friends.
Of course, we tried a little bit harder with our friend. We consistently talk about her to him, and even go so far as to switch my name tag and hers on our "bedroom" doors (aka my bedroom and the door to our hall closet) so that we can prove she's real to him whenever he comes over through her possession of an actual bed. He's skeptical ("I can't believe you guys bought a bed for a fake person!"), but we've gotten fake-angry frequently enough at him for not believing us that he's keeping his lack of belief quiet now.
Naturally, our friends who are in on the secret love it, and all send her friend requests and post on her wall... Which just causes more and more random people to assume that they know each other. Hannah has 245 Facebook friends at this point.
Moral of the story: Don't do things just because all of your friends are doing it. Because who knows? You could be friending your long-lost best friend, or you could be sending a friend request to someone who doesn't actually exist.
And our friend? He's still skeptical, but he'll be finding out the truth through this article just like everyone else. We love you, friend! Don't worry, you were right all along.