Charlottetown — No man is an island, but Prince Edward Islander Ryan MacKnight, who for no discernible reason goes by “Randolph MacGiver III” on Facebook, might as well be: no one knows what he looks like, or anything about his personality other than the fact that he loves comic books and anime.
If you want to creep him online, you’ll find only an endless series of weird video-game avatars, pencil-drawings he’s made of women from science fiction films, and the occasional photo of a car that he presumably owns.
MacKnight, who was hesitant to reveal his real name to our reporter but agreed after we asked him twice, said he just doesn’t believe looks are important.
“I’m more interested in people’s minds, you know, how they think,” he posited, scrolling through a 22-year-old Facebook friend’s Cuba vacation photos in which she’s invariably sporting a skimpy bikini. “If other people want to be so shallow, that’s on them.”
Sociologist Holly Ruckers, however, said people who refuse to share an actual photo of themselves on social media do so for one of two reasons.
“It’s either A, they’re a huge nerd and it would just never cross their mind to share a picture of themselves when there is bad fan art of, I don’t know…Zelda…out there to be posted. Or it’s B, they think they’re above social media. They want to be on it — in fact they probably set up camp on the Internet, lurking on Reddit and perusing Facebook when they get bored — but they don’t want anyone to know they’re using such a triviality regularly. So it’s a form of voyeurism.
“Or worse,” she added, “it’s both reasons. They’re voyeuristic nerds. Gross.”
Ruckers said most people who do this only manage to get Facebook friends at all because no one’s quite sure whether they’ve met in real life or not.
Darcy Peters, the 22-year-old bikini girl, said she accepted a friend request from “Randolph MacGiver III” on the off chance she’d met him once at a party, and she didn’t want to be rude.
“I was pretty drunk a couple weekends ago and I don’t remember who I talked to,” explained Peters. “I dunno. What if he was hot and I just forget? Kinda risky to say no.”
As for MacKnight, he said it doesn’t matter that people online don’t know what he looks like.
“I like to maintain and air of mystery,” said the overweight 35-year-old wearing a Doritos-stained hoodie. “That’s something that’s really lacking in today’s world.”