Chad Holgoff: A Social Media Mystery

Nic Pujolas '20

Sitting at home on Sunday February 16th, I received a request notification from an Instagram user with the name chad_holgoff. Upon opening my phone, I did not recognize the name at all. While delving deeper into Instagram, I read his bio, “US ’20, Hockey.”

I immediately sent a screenshot of this account into my friends group chat. Once the contents of the photo sank in, everyone asked the same question: Who is Chad Holgoff? From that point on, my friends began to speculate frantically, their predictions spanning from “this kids coming next year–stop freaking out,” to “it’s a totally fake account, you should block him.” The subsequent 24 hours consisted of nonstop arguing, until one of my friends saw that chad_holgoff had sent him a direct message. As my friend swiped to right of his Instagram home page, he saw a text from Chad that read, “Sup bro.”

Out of kindheartedness, my friend began a conversation with chad_holgoff, which ended abruptly after he inquired where Chad was transferring to US from. Following the first direct message, three of my friends also received a, “Sup bro,” text from the same account. At this point, people began to question the true nature of chad_holgoff, US ’20. Not only did he fail to sound like a normal high school student on social media, but he also refused to disclose any information about himself; this entire situation was shady.

Confronted with confusion and a nagging fear, one of my friends took more drastic action to confront this mysterious figure. He decided to respond to Chad with the statement, “I know your IP address, and I will figure out who you actually are.” In retaliation to this threatening message, my friend was immediately blocked. Although it was a somewhat rude thing to say, my friend’s message certainly confirmed the notion that chad_holgoff was a fake Instagram user. A normal high school student wouldn’t have blocked my friend just for saying that–unless he was scared that someone would find out who he really was.

In addition to the shady direct messages between students and chad_holgoff, an analysis of his “fan base” of followers was also very telling. Aside from an array of University School students, the vast majority of his followers consisted of promotion accounts which are generally associated with being fake, as evidenced by the comments on chad_holgoff’s Instagram posts.

The third and final giveaways to the illegitimacy of chad_holgoff’s Instagram were his posts. In particular, his most recent post featured a boy, about 16-17 years old, crouching in front of a beautiful mountain range with water gracefully flowing in between two peaks. The location of the picture – he claimed – was “Lake Erie.” This was the final nail in the coffin.

Chad Holgoff is not a hockey player, not a University School student, and he certaintly isn’t real. Mrs. Ulery made this fact apparent to the junior class when she made an announcement during morning assembly which reminded us all not to allow unknown accounts follow us on social media.