What I Learned as a Social Media Fake: Part 2

Posted on February 7, 2011 by Nora DePalma3 Comments

My life as a social media fake came crashing to an end when my stepson almost died in an accident riding home from work on October 21, 2010.  I couldn’t handle it in my own head, let alone deal with two different personalities on social media.  The “real” me didn’t know if it was a private matter or if I should “share it.”  I wondered about the protocol of asking nearly 2,000 people I’d never met on Twitter to share in my pain.  (Didn’t they have enough to do?)

Yet I needed to hear the wisdom and laughs from the many friends I’d met on Twitter and Facebook during those long eight days of uncertainty in the SICU.  The help and support I received from my social media friends was beyond my wildest imaginings.  At all hours, I was getting texts, Facebook posts, Tweets and emails from friends, clients, media contacts and many people I’d never even met in person.  I could wake up at 2 in the morning on the couch in the hospital, turn on my Blackberry and get a message of hope. It was mind-blowing, sustaining.

Then there was my fake social media presence with real friends, as wonderful as my real social media presence.  Yet crazy. They didn’t know who they were sustaining!  One dear friend of the fake me wasn’t too far from the real me while I lived in that SICU. It would have been great to reach out for coffee—she would have made me laugh.  But it was too much effort to explain how we knew each other.

I felt like a big-time fraud, and the person—not to mention personal brand-losing out was me.  Luckily, social media has been built to gently point this out.

To create a fake persona for the fairly benevolent reason of compartmentalizing your life is not very easy on social media sites.  Most social sites want a real email address and some want a real mobile phone number.  It’s hard to build community as fake. I could set up fake Gmail and Yahoo accounts, but was limited when it came to gadgets and add-ons. Basically, in exchange for knowing your every move online and offline, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, et. al. make it free and easy to build a community by being authentic.

But not a fake.

Read What I Learned as a Social Media Fake: Part 1

Next week, the series concludes.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • BlinkList
  • blogmarks
  • Blogosphere
  • Diigo
  • eKudos
  • Fark
  • Faves
  • FriendFeed
  • Google Buzz
  • Identi.ca
  • LinkaGoGo
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • MySpace
  • Netvibes
  • NewsVine
  • Orkut
  • Ping.fm
  • Plurk
  • Propeller
  • Reddit
  • Simpy
  • Slashdot
  • Technorati
  • Tumblr


  • Louise

    February 11, 2011 — 10:29 am

    Recently at a social media conference a panelist said he has used social media influence metrics when weighing job candidates, if appropriate to the job. One example he cited was FourSquare mayorships. My first thought was, how is that a valid measure when it would be so easy to create a fake persona? Though I would give the candidate extra credit for creating a fake persona with a good amount of influence.

    I also wonder how social media would change, specifically comments on blogs/forums, if people had to use their real names not a screen persona. Would likely make for a kinder, gentler web.

  • Nora DePalma

    February 11, 2011 — 11:11 am

    Louise, you may remember that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published my op-ed a few years ago about families facing end-of-life decisions. Later, I found dozens of brutal personal attacks on some political blog. Not one was signed. No question the discourse is more thoughtful when you can be Googled. That’s a good thing.

  • Nora DePalma

    February 16, 2011 — 9:35 am

    Furthermore, now NPR has weighed in. Sad that people were apparently so rude regarding Lara Logan’s horrific attack.

    Money quote: “Here’s a suggestion based on my more than 30 years of reporting and editing experience. Before you submit a comment, ask yourself this question: If I had to put my real name with this, would I hit “publish?”

Leave a Comment

National Kitchen and Bath Association Public Relations Society of America: Georgia Green Earth PR Network