One of the most popular players in the game is Shubham, who was immediately nicknamed Shooby among Circle members, a nerdy little dude who hates social media and brought his UCLA graduation stole to hang on his bedroom wall. Instead of catfishing to make himself more popular, he plays as himself as earnestly as imaginable, and no one can resist him. One of the best is the aforementioned Joey, whose GTL vibes and mama's boy demeanor are charming rather than abrasive, perhaps because all the other players can see of him are a couple photos he chose to display and a short bio, and sometimes the Circle equivalent of a Facebook post. Mostly, everyone's trying to suss out the "fake" -- that is, the person who is lying to everyone else by hiding behind a cute profile pic and pretending to be someone they're not. Alana, one of the objectively most attractive players, got voted out after the first round because no one could succeed in building a connection with her, whereas one of the longest-lasting players, Seaburn, is a catfish who disguises himself as his hot girlfriend Rebecca but otherwise speaks to the other players in his own voice.
Are we better or worse versions of ourselves online? In The Circle, it's a conscious choice. One of the best parts of the show is when people are voted out -- or "blocked" -- they're allowed to visit one player in person, either to confront a player who blocked them or go visit someone they had become friends with to dish about everyone else. It's the strangest, most modern form of interaction: meeting someone in the flesh you previously only knew through their status updates, their boomerangs, their face-with-tears-of-joy emojis, their profile picture taken with the Kylie Jenner filter on. What's been most fun about watching this show is seeing, in real time, the players decide for themselves what it takes to charm strangers and get the furthest in The Circle, and it turns out it's a combination of playful flirts, personal confessions, secret supportive DMs, and sticking with your buddies. You know, being nice.