Category Archives: AJRL 390

The Manti Te’o Story Part 2: What Factors Contributed to Manti Te’o being Catfished

The Information Age

The Information age is characterized by the shift from traditional industry that the industrial revolution brought through industrialization, to an economy based on the information computerization. Today, in the year 2013 we are in the Information age and the Internet is taking over and not only affecting all of our lives, but completely shaping every aspect of it. The people who have been most affected by the Internet are Generation Y and Z which are characterized by those who were born from the years 1977 to 2012. This group of people which includes myself have seen the evolution of the internet go from strictly computers to to almost every hand held device you can access on a daily basis. You cannot find a group of high school or college students without seeing at least one of them looking down at their phone and talking to someone who is not currently present. The internet has changed the way we communicate with each other and the average age a person gets their first cell phone today is currently 8 years old with 75% of today’s teens having cell phones. Between the ages of eight and eighteen, the average person spends about seven and a half hours on the Internet per day up from less than six just five years ago. The Internet has influenced the way we communicate with each other in more than one way, today we can communicate where ever we want, with who ever we want, when ever we want and faster than ever before. Smart phones are the combination of the Internet and cell phones and today 57% of kids aged 13 to 17 have a smart phone. Text messaging has enabled us to communicate with our friends and family in places where it is not appropriate to have out loud conversations. Text messaging has also affected how we talk to people, as most people do not text message the same way they would speak in person. One in three teens now send more than 100 texts per day. Today, 88% of all cell phone users use text messaging. This enables you to communicate with someone without ever having to see them or even hear their voice. Text messaging is a much less personal form of communicating than talking on the phone or in person. The upcoming generation is more extremely savvy and less teenagers are actually speaking face-to-face than ever before. However, this generation’s persistent absence of face to face interaction makes it problematic for them to read body language and understand when someone is lying. They’re not trained to pick up on visual cues or even the implications in a tone of voice. As much as their computer savvy has given them unprecedented access to networks and information, there’s little sophistication in how to process the bombardment of human interaction data when it occurs. This makes them a very vulnerable group.

It is nearly impossible today to see a group of teenagers or college kids hanging out without at least one of them being on their cell phone.

In the Information Age, cell phones are being increasingly used for purposes other than strictly phone calls.

Social Networking/Online Dating

Social Networking originally began with speaking to people on AIM using screen names to instantly message them or speak in chat rooms with people with similar interests. This later lead to online dating websites where you can meet people over the internet and talk to them and set up dates. Social Networking websites have evolved drastically from this and it is one of the fastest growing industries in America. Today 90% of teens use some form of social networking. The two most popular forms of social networking today are Facebook and Twitter. Facebook and Twitter along with other social networking sites combine various ways to communicate with other people creating a community that takes place entirely on their website. All you need to do is become “friends” with someone on Facebook or follow each other on Twitter and you can see all of their pictures, personal information, comments, and posts that they put on their pages. On Facebook the ways to communicate are by “liking” or commenting on their posts or pictures on, writing on their Facebook Timeline, “poking” them, or messaging them which is basically instant messaging. On Twitter you can communicate with people by “favoriting” their tweets, direct messaging them, tweeting at them or re-tweeting one of their posts. This can all be done without ever having to meet the individual in person. Non-private profiles can be viewed by anyone, but people who chose to remain private can control who see’s what information. Much like text messaging, speaking to someone on one of these Social Networking sites is a lot less personal than in person and effects the how you talk to people because most people talk differently over the internet than in person. Today social networking sites have gone mobile and can now be accessed anywhere there is Internet connection by use of smart phone. Facebook and Twitter have mobile applications and aps specifically designed for cell phones. You can search for people on both of Facebook and Twitter by use of the Facebook’s friend finder and Twitter’s connect feature. These social networking sites are a way to meet people and form relationships over the Internet. This, combined with the increased cell phone usage has taken almost all the personal social connection out of relationships and has allowed people to find out a large amount of information about other people without having to meet them. Many people include their phone numbers on their Facebook pages too so that can also be accessed.

Social Networking sites like Facebook and Twitter allow people to connect without ever having to physically meet.

The “Catfishing” Phenomenon

Given the vast amount of communication that is no longer taking place in person and growing amount of people using social networking to form relationships, it is not surprising that many people are using fake pictures and information to fool others and pretend to be someone that they are not. The recent boom of social networking has lead to a “catfishing” phenomenom which is very popular especially with teenagers and college students. Catfishing is the phenomenon of internet predators that fabricate online identities and entire social circles to trick people into emotional/romantic relationships. This is becoming more and more popular as people realize that they can very easily pretend to be someone else and trick someone into liking them or even falling in love with them. Catfishing combines the use of several social networking sites and other mobile devices to talk and form relationships with people without ever meeting them in person. It is very easy to make a fake profile on Facebook or Twitter using other people’s photos than your own and posting information posing as someone else. These “catfishers” simply have to find someone they want to talk to (could be someone they know or someone they don’t know) using the social networking sites person finder feature, request to friend them or follow them, and then message them posing as someone else. If the other person has never met the catfisher in person, they have no way to know that it is not the actual person in the pictures they are speaking to. Catfishers generally message multiple people. The main reason people “catfish” or make fake profiles is because they are unhappy with their own physical appearance or who they are and don’t feel comfortable messaging someone as themselves. Many times they fish for compliments and accept them as if they are the actual person they are pretending to be. Most catfishers have problems psychologically. Full online relationships are sometimes started without ever meeting face to face and this became apparent when the documentary entitled “Catfish The Movie” was release in theaters in 2010. This movie starred a man named Nev Schulman who was a victim of being catfished by a woman pretending to be multiple people and feeding him lies. The movie was such a hit that MTV gave Nev his own TV show in 2012 where he helps individuals out who are going through a similar process of having an online relationship, but never meeting the person face to face. In most of these situations the person who they are having this fabricated relationship with are not who they were claiming to be and were hiding behind multiple lies. Some of these relationships lasted up to 10 years without ever meeting in person. This is what happened to Manti Te’o who was catfished by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.

Catfish the TV Show first aired in 2012 and brings to light how many people are being duped by predators and fake accounts.

Manti like so many others was duped by a fake Twitter account by a “catfish”.

Manti Te’o’s Background Effect/Psychological Factors

There were many factors that played a part in Manti Te’o being “catfished” and one of them was his background growing up in Hawaii. Manti was born and raised in Laie, Hawaii. The town he lived in housed a satellite campus of Brigham Young University. At 21 years old, Manti Te’o is typical of a generation who has grown up in front of their cell phones and computers, where intense, electronic social interaction has become their reality. This had a profound effect on his level of social awareness and emotional intelligence. Te’o was victim to an age where people can easily create a fake social network account and trick someone into thinking they are someone else. He rose to fame very early as a football star in Hawaii so he never really lived a normal life growing up. Manti has been socially isolated with little opportunity to meet a nice, normal girl in the flesh and was the perfect target for the predator. Manti’s religion also played a large role in why he was duped so easily. Manti Te’o and his family are Mormon LDS (Church of the Latter-Day Saints) and Manti grew up in a strict Mormon home. The Mormon religion plays a large role in young Mormon’s lives. Young men and women raised within the LDS church are counseled to wait until age 16 to begin dating. Dates often occur in-group settings, with the emphasis on exclusive relationships generally delayed until the early college years. Mormon young people are much like the majority culture. Unlike in many mainstream religions, a sexual relationship before marriage is unacceptable in the Mormon faith. Young members who fail to abide by the law of chastity lose entry into the temple, home to the most sacred of LDS ceremonies. This immutable moral code can make life complicated for young Mormons living in an increasingly sexualized culture. It is not hard to see the benefits of an online relationship for someone in Te’o’s position. The voice on the other end of the telephone line offered emotional support but reduced temptations. This girl could be his biggest fan without becoming his biggest distraction. A relationship conducted over the phone and Internet could also move at a pace suitable for a shy Mormon young man.Te’o was quoted as saying “Faith is believing in something that you most likely can’t see.” When Manti did finally find out that Lennay was not real, he was understandably extremely embarrassed. In his shock and disappointment, he prolonged the narrative, because for months, in his mind, the relationship was very real. Te’o was quoted saying: “I did not know who to turn to. I did not know who to tell. I did not know who to trust,” Te’o said. “It was a big thing for me, and I was scared. That’s the truth. I was just scared, and I didn’t know what to do.” Take the fact that Te’o could never live an average life with his Mormon faith and the information age that he grew up into account and this made him very vulnerable. It’s not so surprising that a young, handsome, All American college football star like Manti was able to be catfished.


The Mormon religion dictates much of young men like Manti Te’o’s lives.




How Social Media was used During the Boston Marathon Bombings

Bombings During the Boston Marathon

On April 15th, 2013 during the annual Boston Marathon, two bombs exploded at approximately 2:49 PM killing 3 people and injuring 264. The bombs exploded near the finish line on Boylston Street and chaos erupted in the crowd of marathon runners and viewers. The news immediately hit television stations and the whole country was alerted of what was going on. It was suspected to be an act of terrorism and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released photos and a video of the two suspects involved who were later identified as brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. After the FBI released the pictures there was a shooting where the suspect killed an MIT police officer, carjacked an SUV, and initiated gunfire with the police in Watertown, Massachusetts. During the gun fire one of the suspects Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was injured, but escaped. A manhunt commenced and thousands of police officers searched Watertown for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Most people first found out about the bombings from Twitter as numerous tweets included photos of the scene at the finish line. After the bombings occurred, individuals that were directly involved in the investigation used the social networking sites Facebook and Twitter to communicate with the public  and update them on what was going on. The main players that were using Twitter were the Boston PD and the FBI, but tweets from all over poured providing updates and breaking news. The Boston Globe tweeted “BREAKING NEWS: Two powerful explosions detonated in quick succession right next to the Boston Marathon finish line this afternoon.” Boston marathon organizers said in a statement on Facebook that the explosion was caused by two bombs: “We are working with law enforcement to understand what exactly happened.” Digg tweeted out how the NY Times unveiled a map of the explosion site in proximity to the finish line. Before, during and after the explosions both the FBI and Boston PD used Twitter to reach out to the public to inform them of what was going and what to do. The public found out in real time what was going on as soon as the law enforcement did. They were given updates, instructions and tips throughout. Boston PD’s first tweet was directly after the initial explosion, it read: “Boston police confirming explosion at marathon finish line with injuries.” Then they later tweeted “23 injured, 2 dead.”  The Boston Globe tweeted that one of the people that was deceased during the bombings was an 8 year old boy. Boston PD then tweeted about a third incident that occurred at JFK library and that they were unsure if it was related or not to the bombings. JFK Library tweeted out “The fire in the building is out. Appears to have started in the mechanical room. All staff and visitors are safe and accounted for.” Boston PD used Twitter to provide a Task force tip line number so people could call in if they had any tips on the case and tweeted a number that family members looking for info related to injured individuals could call. Boston PD tweeted instructions to the general population of Boston how to best remain safe and when there were news conferences. The residents of Watertown were instructed by the Boston PD to stay in doors and not answer the door unless they were instructed by a police officer to do so. The FBI also used twitter to reach out to the public during this investigation. FBI Boston first tweeted “FBI assists Boston Police Department Regarding Explosions along Marathon Route and Elsewhere.” The FBI released several images of the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing and tweeted “Bombing suspect may be driving a 4-door green Honda Civic with Massachusetts plates reading 116GC7”. When the suspect was finally captured they were the first to tweet “Dzhokar Tsarnaev, age 19, suspect in Boston bombing investigation, is now in custody.” After this terrible tragedy, Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown published a statement on Facebook that stated “Like many of you, I was at first horrified. Now I am mad. This was a cowardly act, just cowardly. Our country is at its best when our back is against the wall.” On Wednesday, May 1st, the Boston Police Department announced via Twitter that three additional suspects were taken into custody in connection with the bombings. The U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Massachusetts then tweeted information about this case, and noted when these men would appear in federal court. Boston PD recently informed citizens via the Twitter that despite these developments, there was no threat to their safety.

Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites alike are changing the way the general public is receiving information. For the first time the public can now get information on such tragedies as this in real time while it is happening. These social media sites are also providing another way for law enforcement officials to communicate with the public to provide instructions and seek out help on catching wanted individuals.

The first photo of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was released and tweeted by the Boston Police directly after the bombings.
Video of the suspect involved in the Boston Marathon bombing was released by the FBI via Twitter.
The Boston PD constantly updated the general public by Tweeting out to them during the investigation.
Boston PD alerted the public when as soon as the suspect was in custody.
The FBI tweeted out a picture of the wanted suspect’s possible license plate number.
The Boston PD warned the public that the at large suspect was armed and dangerous.
The general whereabouts of the incidents location was released by this Twitpic
Boston Police Department’s Twitter Account
FBI Boston’s Twitter Account

Dart vs. Craigslist: Relation to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act


Plaintiff: Thomas Dart, the Sheriff of Cook County, Illinois. He was named to Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential” list in 2009 for his innovative approach to law enforcement. Thomas Dart is 50 years old and has served as the Sheriff since 2006. Cook County has the second largest department in the United States. From January 2007 through November 2008, Sheriff Dart’s department expended 3,120 man hours and approximately $105,081 investigating postings which appeared to be prostitution offers on the “erotic services” section of the Craigslist website. The police arrested 156 people in association with their activity on the erotic services section of Craigslist during this period.

Thomas Dart the Sheriff of Cook County, Illinois tries to sue Craigslist for inducing prostitution.

Defendant: Craigslist Inc. Craigslist is a classified advertisement website with sections devoted to jobs, housing, personals, for sale, items wanted, services, community, gigs, resumes, and discussion forms. Craigslist became a web based service in 1996 and it currently covers 50 countries. Craigslist requires those third party users who post ads to agree to its “Terms of Use,” which prohibits posting unlawful content. Before accessing the erotic services section, users also receive a “warning and disclaimer,” which states that users agree to flag content that violates the Terms of Use including “offers for or the solicitation of prostitution.”, an classified service provider is one of the many Internet websites that are protected under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Location and Date: Illinois, October 20, 2009


Thomas Dart filed a civil complaint, seeking an injunction, compensatory and punitive damages and attorneys’ fees. According to Dart’s complaint, Craigslist creates a “public nuisance” because its “conduct in creating erotic services, developing twenty-one categories, and providing a word search function causes a significant interference with the public’s health, safety, peace, and welfare.” His complaint also stated that that Craigslist was “the single largest source of prostitution in the nation.” Thomas Dart claim was that the website was a “public nuisance” because of Craigslist users posting ads in the “erotic services” category that facilitate prostitution. Sheriff Dart stated that he had sent letters to Craigslist requesting that it either take down the erotic services section or provide greater policing of it, but Craigslist did not respond. He further stated, “I could make arrests off Craigslist 24 hours a day, but to what end? I’m trying to go up the ladder.” Sheriff Dart alleged that Craigslist actually committed unlawful acts by knowingly arranging prostitution and directing users to places of prostitution.


Craigslist moved for judgment on the pleadings, contending that it was immune from liability pursuant to Section 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act.


The court ruled that Craigslist is not liable for the content posted by its viewers citing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, concluding that Craigslist, as an Internet classified ads service provider, is immune to civil liability for third party content. The court reasoned that since it was the users who choose to post such content, even against Craigslist’s express Terms of Use, intermediaries are not culpable for ‘aiding and abetting’ their customers who misuse their services to commit unlawful acts. The court noted that Craigslist had not authored the discriminatory ads and “could not be treated as the ‘speaker’ of the posters’ words.” It was also ruled that Craigslist in no way induced anyone to create, post or search for illegal content merely by supplying the erotic category and an associated search mechanism. The court finally concluded that “Section 230 would serve little if any purpose if companies like Craigslist were found liable under state law for ‘causing’ or ‘inducing’ users to post unlawful content in this fashion.”


Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act states that: No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider. This act provides immunity from liability for providers and users of an “interactive computer service” who publish information provided by others.


Since, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act was created in 1996, companies like Craigslist and AOL that host third party content are now protected and can no longer be held liable for what other people post on their websites. The website is not liable for what third parties post on them and they do not automatically assume ownership and responsibility. This includes Social Media websites such as Twitter and Facebook whom are not liable for what their users post. These websites are simply serving their purpose and are immune from being punished for this sort of behavior.

Cutline Project

1st Cutline: Picture of Kobe Bryant on Fox News Sports

Title of Article: “Kobe out for season with torn Achilles tendon”

Their Cutline:

APTOPIX Warriors Lakers.jpgLos Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant grimaces after being injured during the second half of their NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in Los Angeles. (AP)

My Cutline:

APTOPIX Warriors Lakers.jpg

 Kobe Bryant’s torn Achilles will mark the end of his 17th season in the NBA and any hopes of him playing in the Playoffs.

2nd Cutline: Picture of Brittney Griner from

Title of Article: “Brittney Griner comes out publicly as an openly gay athlete following 2013 WNBA Draft”

Their Cutline:

Baylor Bears center Brittney Griner (left) and Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Muffet McGraw (right) pose with the AP player and coach of the year trophies during a press conference at the New Orleans Arena. (Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports)

Baylor Bears center Brittney Griner (left) and Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Muffet McGraw (right) pose with the AP player and coach of the year trophies during a press conference at the New Orleans Arena. (Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports)

My Cutline:

Baylor Bears center Brittney Griner (left) and Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Muffet McGraw (right) pose with the AP player and coach of the year trophies during a press conference at the New Orleans Arena. (Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports)

 Baylor Bears center Brittney Griner (left) breaks new grounds both on the court and off the court by winning 2012-2013 AP Player of the year and being an openly gay athlete.

3rd Cutline Picture: Picture of Kevin Ware nydailynews

Title of Article: Louisville’s Kevin Ware ready for NCAA Final Four after horrific leg injury

Their Cutline:

Kevin Ware agonizes in pain after breaking his leg.

Kevin Ware agonizes in pain after breaking his leg.

My Cutline:

Kevin Ware agonizes in pain after breaking his leg.

Thousands look on in disbelief after Louisville guard Kevin Ware suffers one of the most gruesome injuries a sports fan will ever witness.

4th Cutline: Picture of the Lakers after making the Playoffs

Title of Article: “Well, the Lakers made the playoffs, now what?”

Their Cutline:

Only one way to go, onward.   (USATSI)

Only one way to go, onward.

My Cutline:

Only one way to go, onward.   (USATSI)

Despite many key injuries this season, after Wednesdays game the Lakers officially make the playoffs, but will be forced to compete without their best player, Kobe Bryant.

About Video Project 2: Manti Te’o Project Part 2

In my part 1 of my video project on Manti Te’o I told the story of what happened to Manti Te’o giving a timeline of the events that occurred. I described from Manti’s perspective what he thought was going on and then what was really going as he got duped by the man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. In the second part of my project I will talk about this “catfishing” phenomenon that is becoming popular with the internet age. I will describe the process of “catfishing” explain how often this is getting done to people these days and why it is getting done so often. These days the internet and new technology has created a society where you can form relationships with people without ever having to meet them in person. I will describe how this technology age is affecting the upcoming wave of adults, teens and younger. Finally what I will mainly be focusing on is how a star athlete like Manti Te’o could have been duped by someone so badly. I will give a little background on Manti and how he grew up and give possible explanations for why this could have happened to him. In my video project I will be using a video camera to conduct an Interview with a Psychologist or local expert on the topic of both the Internet age and the process of “catfishing” so they can provide a little insight of how this could have happened to Manti Te’o. I will be looking to find someone who has knowledge on Manti Te’o  and his situation. A lot of my information for this video project will be done by research on Manti’s background and roots including information on his parents, how he was raised in Hawaiin, his religion, and ethnic culture. I will also conduct extensive research on the process of “catfishing” and find out all that I do not already know about the Internet age. Along with my interview of a local expert on the topic I will include bits and pieces of Manti’s interviews before and after the story was released. I am going to include these in hopes to find any relevant information that could reveal a possible explanation for why he was fooled so badly. I will also include quotes on Manti by his parents, his teammates and coaching staff in part 2 of my project. All of the information I find will be pertaining to a possible explanation of how and why this happened to Manti.

The Manti Te’o Story Part 1: A Timeline of True and False Events Revealed

BACKGROUND (January 26, 1991-February 3, 2009)

Manti Te’o was born on January 26, 1991 in Laie, Hawaii. Te’o was raised in Hawaii and went to Punahou School in Manoa, Honolulu. He was raised in a devoutly Mormon home by parents Brian and Ottilia Te’o and was very family oriented. Manti started playing Varsity football in 2006 as a Sophomore and shined at the linebacker position. While playing football in high school, he won multiple individual awards and became one of the most decorated high school athletes in Hawaii’s history. He entered his senior year of high school as one of the most coveted recruits in the country. Manti received over 30 scholarship offers to different Division 1 Universities.

This is Manti Te’o’s family; Manti has always been extremely family oriented growing up in Mormon home.

COLLEGE LIFE (February 4, 2009)

Manti Te’o ultimately chose to attend Notre Dame University in Indiana on signing day, February 4, 2009. Te’o has been quoted saying he ultimately chose Notre Dame, because he believed that God guided him to attend there. At Notre Dame, he quickly excelled on the field, playing in all twelve games as a Freshman, he was named a Freshman All American by College Football News.


What Manti believed happened: Manti believed he met a girl online named Lennay Kekua who attended Stanford University. Manti and Lennay started talking online as friends, but they had so much in common that in early in 2012 they officially entered a relationship. Manti and Lennay talked on the phone nightly until one of them would fall asleep. Manti’s relationship with Lennay was very serious and he believed he was in love with her. He told many of his friends about her and he believed they would get married one day.

This is Lennay Kekua who is described as a 22 year old Hawaiin Stanford student who loves to surf.

The fake Twitter Account Tuiasosopo used went by the Twitter names @loveloveloveYOU, @LennayKay and finally @LoveMSMK.

What really happened: Lennay Kekua never actually existed. A male named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who had known Manti Te’o made a fake Twitter account using a girl’s Facebook pictures to pose as a female. Ronaiah contacted Manti on Twitter in October of 2011 and they started talking. Manti and Ronaiah began talking every day, but only either online or on the phone. It is still unclear whether it was Ronaiah talking on the phone with Manti impersonating a female voice or if someone else was involved with this hoax. By January 2012 they officially became a couple. The woman from the pictures was Diane O’meara who went to High School with Ronaiah, but had no knowledge that he was using her pictures. Te’o never actually met Lennay in person and whenever Manti would try to meet up with Lennay, Ronaiah would make an excuse of why the two could not meet up. This false relationship went on for about a year. This is a process commonly known as “catfishing.”

This is Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, during the hoax Manti was under the impression that Ronaiah was Lennay’s cousin.


What Manti believed happened: Manti received a call from Kekua’s brother, Noa on April 28, 2012 saying Lennay had been in a serious car accident and was taken to a hospital in Los Angeles. When Lennay was in the hospital she was in a comma, but her family would still put the phone to her ear so Manti could talk to her and hear her breathing on the other end.

What really happened: Ronaiah Tuiasosopo made up the fact that Lennay had gotten into a car accident and was taken to the hospital.


What Manti believed happened: Kekua informed Te’o that she had been diagnosed with leukemia in June of 2012 while she was still in the hospital for her car accident.

What really happened: Ronaiah Tuiasosopo told Manti that Lennay was diagnosed with cancer which was another one of Ronaiah’s lies. Tuiasosopo made up this lie in case he ever needed a way out of this false relationship and to keep Manti talking to him.


What Manti believed happened: On the morning of September 12, 2012, Te’o was awakened by a phone call from his parents informing him that his grandmother Annette Santiago had died at the age of 72 after an extended illness back in Hawaii. Six hours later, Lennay Kekua’s older brother called Manti on the phone crying and informed him that Lennay Kekua had died of leukemia. Before she had passed, Lennay made Te’o promise that if anything happened to her, he wouldn’t miss any football games. According to Manti, the last words that Kekua said to him were “I love you.” Manti was fully convinced that Lennay had passed away from leukemia.

What really happened: Ronaiah Tuiasosopo chose to lie to Te’o that Lennay Kekua died shortly after Manti Teo’s grandmother Annette Santiago actually did die on September 12, 2012. Ronaiah said in an interview with Doctor Phil that he chose to end it because he needed to get his life back and find out who he truly was again.

Manti spending time with his grandmother Annette before she passed away; these two were very close.


On September 15, the Saturday following the reported deaths of both Manti’s grandmother and “girlfriend” Manti played in a game versus Michigan State. Manti played excellent in that game recording 12 tackles, recovering a fumble and breaking up two passes in the win. In a post game interview Manti was quoted saying that “they were with him and he couldn’t have done it without them…”, referring to his late girlfriend and grandmother. After the game, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly awarded the game ball to Lennay and told Manti to take the game ball back to Hawaii for her.

Manti pointing to the sky at Lennay and his grandmother after Notre Dame’s victory over Michigan State.


On October 6, 2012, Manti Te’o did an interview on College Gameday with Gene Wojciechowski where he discussed the deaths of his grandmother and girlfriend and revealed his inspirational story to the world. In the days following the October 6th interview of his heart warming story with ESPN, he rose to fame and became a house hold name for many sports fans. His story inspired many and his name appeared on Sports Center frequently. Te’o’ story was arguably the biggest story of the college football season.


Notre Dame finished their regular season undefeated with it’s final victory over the USC Trojans which unofficially put them in the BCS National Championship game, college football’s highest honor.

This is a Sports Illustrated story about Manti Te’o and his accomplishments on the field in his rise to fame.


Manti received a phone call on December 6, 2012 in Lennay Kekua’s voice saying that she was not dead and was in fact alive. Manti Te’o was very confused and angered by the phone call and decided to keep this secret to himself until December 26th.


On December 8, 2012, Manti Te’o was voted runner up for the Heisman Trophy to Texas A&M Johnny Manziel, which is the highest individual honor a college football player can receive. He also won several other awards including the Maxwell Award, Lombardi Award and Walter Camp Award. This solidified his spot as one of the most decorated defensive players in college history.

Manti Te’o comes in second in Heisman Trophy voting losing to Johnny Manziel by only 153 first place votes.


On December 26, 2012, Manti met with head coach Brian Kelly and the athletic director Jack Swarbrick to share his concerns about the phone call he received regarding his relationship with his late girlfriend Lennay Kekua.


Notre Dame lost in an extremely lopsided National Championship to Alabama 42 to 14. Manti Te’o had arguably one of his worst games of the season, only recording 3 unassisted tackles.

Manti Te’o misses several tackles in the BCS Championship game after only missing two tackles all year during the regular season.


On January 16, 2013 the sports website broke the news that not only did Manti Te’o’s supposed late girlfriend not die, but she never existed in the first place.  This news became national news and got all the headlines after it broke. In the ensuing days and weeks different bits of information were revealed of this bizarre story and it became one of the biggest sports stories of the year so far.

When the story first came out it is not clear whether Te’o was in on it or not.


On January 18, two days after the news broke about Manti’s non-existent girlfriend, he did an two hour interview off the air with sports writer Jeremy Shaap. In the interview he denied any involvement in the creation of his fictitious girlfriend Lennay Kekua.

In Te’o’s interview with Jeremy Shaap he denies any involvement with the creation of Lennay Kekua.


A few days after the news broke Diane O’meara, the woman in the photos that was supposed to be Lennay Kekua, did an interview on the Today Show. In the interview she reveals that Ronaiah was a classmate of hers in High School that reached out to her only once in the beginning of December of 2012 asking for a photo of her with the date December 21st, 2012 on it. He convinced her by making up a false story about his cousin being in a car accident and wanted the photo to prove to Manti that “Lennay Kekua” was still alive.

When Diane O’meara sends this picture, she is convinced it is for a slide show Ronaiah Tuiasosopo is making to inspire his cousin to get better.


Just over a week after the news broke, Manti did another one hour interview with Katie Couric where he maintained his innocence and again denied ever being involved with the creation of Lennay Kekua. Manti plays several voice mails on his phone from Lennay Kekua that appear to be a woman’s voice.

In Manti’s interview with Katie Couric several voicemails are played from Lennay Kekua that appear to be in a females voice.

RONAIAH TUIASOSOPO INTERVIEW WITH DR. PHIL (January 31, 2013,February 1, 2013)

On January 31st and February 1st, 2013 Ronaiah Tuiasosopo did a two part interview with Dr. Phil, where he admits to being the one who “cat fished” Manti Te’o and stressed the fact that Manti had no idea of anything that was going on. He admits that he had strong feelings for Manti and was confused about his sexuality. Ronaiah also claimed to be the voice on the phone with Manti in the voice mails, but conflicting reports were later released that it might have been his female cousin who was also in on the hoax.

In Tuiasosopo’s interview with Doctor Phil he admits to have fallen in love with Te’o and he reenacts the female’s voice he claims to have used in the voice mails.


Previous to the BCS National Championship game, Manti was projected to be a top 10 pick in the upcoming NFL draft. After this story came out about his fake girlfriend, Manti went on to play poorly in the National Championship game and have an unimpressive NFL Combine on February 25th. This has led some NFL draft analysts to believe his draft stock has dropped out of the first round. Manti is entered into the 2013 NFL draft that will take place on April 25, 2013 and is attempting to put this whole girlfriend scandal behind him.

Manti runs his forty yard dash in 4.82 seconds at the NFL Combine which is considered very slow.


Manti Te’o Interview with Katie Couric

Diane O’meara’s Interview on the Today Show

Clip of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo’s Interview with Doctor Phil


ESPN Social Media Usage

When it comes to Social Media, very few industries are as innovative and proactive as those inside the Sports Industry. Inside the world of sports there is one leading provider of all sports entertainment needs, and that is ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports. Those over at ESPN utilize every form of Social Media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, several IPhone Aps and Blogs to provide constant updates on various sporting events. Using these forms of social media allow the average sports fan to have sports updates at the tip of their fingers, whether it is on their smart phones, tablets or computers. Using Social Media is a firm aspect of ESPN’s marketing and business strategy. These days almost every major league sports team in America has their very own Facebook and Twitter pages where you can follow your favorite team and receive updates on a daily basis. Along with sports franchises, many individual athletes have their own verified Twitter pages where they can interact with their fans and respond to different questions. Social Media has changed the Sports Industry over the past ten years. Before Twitter the only way to interact with your favorite player was to write a fan letter and hope for a rare response, but these days all you have to do is Tweet at them or Direct Message them on Twitter and fans receive responses more often than one would imagine.

ESPN’s business strategy has been so successful because they cover every aspect of sports and are always one step ahead of their competition, almost to the point where they have eliminated all forms of competition. ESPN was early to jump on the Social Media bandwagon and has since not looked back.

When Facebook was launched in 2007, ESPN was hot to create their very own Facebook page. Facebook is a very integral part of ESPN’s business strategy. ESPN has many different facebook pages, one for each specific show that is on their network, but ESPN’s official Facebook page has over 8.5 million likes and over 300,000 people are currently talking about it on Facebook. ESPN has used Facebook to grow it’s popularity even greater. The idea was to get people to discussing different sporting events that would appear on ESPN and inform the viewers when each event was on, thus increasing the amount of viewers. Since, it has grown into an interactive way to communicate with the television viewers and ESPN has started making segments on Sports Center where fans can actually vote on specific polls live on Facebook where different sports analysts try to persuade viewers to agree with their opinions. Last week they aired a segment where viewers could vote on Facebook who they believed the biggest sports star currently was, while Herm Edwards and other analysts tried to persuade the viewers to vote for their athlete. Lebron James ended up winning. They also aired a segment where the fans could vote on who they believed would win the Heisman Trophy next year, as they voted live, the fans could see what place the five candidates were in. Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay the top college football analysts tried to convince them who to vote for. This was a way for fans to have fun and got more traffic to the ESPN Facebook page. Facebook has become an interactive way to communicate with the viewers and thus ESPN has used the popularity of Facebook to increase the popularity of ESPN. Ads on Facebook have also become very popular, and ESPN utilizes Facebook Ads to promote certain shows as well.


ESPN’s certified Twitter account has over 600 million followers and has made over 46,000 tweets. The tweets are predominantly sports news along with score updates. ESPN’s Twitter Account also posts pictures and videos of important sport’s moments. Many times while watching Sports Center you will hear a sports analysts mention to fans to answer questions asked by using a certain hash-tag. They do this in hopes that if enough people use that hash-tag it will eventually “trend” on Twitter. When something is trending on Twitter it appears on all Twitter user’s sidebar, even people who are not following ESPN. This is a way to market to everyone not just followers. Along with ESPN’s individual Twitter account, many of the sports analysts who work for ESPN have their own individual Twitters with various amounts of followers, generally in the thousands due to their fame from appearing on television. These analysts are under contract with ESPN to Tweet posts that market when and what will be appearing on ESPN for that specific day. They do this so people who follow a certain analyst, but might not follow ESPN’s Twitter account will still be reached by their posts. ESPN uses Twitter to supplement their TV viewing. It’s goal is to engage fans who are increasingly on Twitter while watching specific sporting events. This is how many people get their sports news and ESPN wants to be a part of this. Twitter has become the fastest way for fans to get their news and many times they will get their sports news on Twitter before it is even publicized on TV.ESPN is there to state the facts. My own college roommate rarely watches a sporting event on ESPN without also keeping a close eye on Twitter to see what people are saying about certain events.

Twitter is a news feed, and we want our reporters to be part of that mix,” said Patrick Stiegman,’s vice president and editor-in-chief. “The two-screen experience is real. It’s how a lot of people are following live events now.” (

ESPN is increasingly moving towards Twitter to interact with their fans and recently many shows on ESPN also feature segments where Sports Analysts such as Magic Johnson and Michael Wilbon will urge viewers to Tweet at them their questions and they will answer the best Tweets live on air. This is a new way in which ESPN can interact with their viewers and in doing so has greatly increased their viewers. Twitters promoted posts have become very common and I’ve personally seen ESPN use promoted Tweets that appear on my news feed to increase the amount of traffic on their Twitter page.


ESPN’s next step is to utilize the growing popularity of Instagram and has made the first step by creating a Instagram page that has about 1,000 followers. ESPN has also taken to Smart phones by creating an ESPN Phone App which I use for updates on sports teams and different athletes.

I contacted one ESPN Analyst who I happen to be friends with on Facebook named Jay Harris and asked him how ESPN has taken to social media, and am still waiting to hear back from him. Although, judging by the fact that he has over 1,300 followers on Facebook and the many posts he makes about when Sports Center is going to be on, it is safe to say that he has utilized Social Media as a way to self-promote and promote ESPN.

ESPN has begun to utilize the growing popularity of Google + in their business strategy. Athletes like Rockets guard Jeremy Lin has hosted hangouts with fans in order to interact with them on a more personal level. This all ties in with ESPN and the sports world utilizing social media for promotion as part of their business strategy.

ESPN has gone to great lengths to be as much a part of social media as possible and has thus increased it’s popularity while also being able to engage their viewers and create a better marketing strategy. Twitter allows ESPN to learn more about their target audience and learn what they want to see from them. Social media has changed the game for ESPN and will forever be a part of the worldwide leader in sports.