A friend of mine discovered Country Living Singles just over two years ago. At that point, it was a small, private Facebook group, with around fifty members. The “About” section read, “We are a group of single folks, who enjoy laughing, and sharing memes, etc. to do so. There are many solid friendships in this group and it is a no drama zone.”
As college students, we were intrigued by what “memes” the middle-aged members of this group were sharing. So four of my friends and I decided to begin our longest-ever con: infiltrating the Country Living Singles community.
Contrary to what you might expect, we had no intention of trolling the members. Rather, we wanted to perform an in-depth character study. Our ultimate goal was to be able to mimic these singles to the extent that we truly became Country Living Singles ourselves. So we had our work cut out for us.
The only two questions that barred our entrance to the group were “What is your age?” and “Why do you want to join?” With a few keystrokes explaining our love for farming humor, we were all in.
Our arrival meant that five of the fifty-some members of Country Living Singles were frauds. We were using our real Facebook accounts, and therefore we were all just one click away from being found out as millennial city dwellers, so we had to be extra careful not to draw too much attention to ourselves. We laid low at first, studiously observing the existing members before daring to contribute.
We quickly found that the most popular “meme” format in these circles was pretty simple: any image (usually depicting nature or a beautiful woman), overlaid with an entirely benign and unrelated question. The appeal of the memes themselves was confusing until we realized that their real humor was to…