Internet identities

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I had a acquaintance some years ago who was active on every single social-networking site: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. He was anxious to make a name for himself. More than a name: an image.

 

 

(This is not me, by the way, so get that idea out of your head. It’s not one of those “I have a friend who . . .” things. This is a real story about someone else. You know I always tell the truth about myself. Well, most of the time.)

 

 

My friend’s LinkedIn image was professional: he’d had more jobs than you could shake a stick at. He was all over the place in his profession, rising from level to level. You could trace his career growth on a graph, if you wanted to: manager, director, executive director –

 

 

Except that it wasn’t true. I knew that he’d actually lost his previous job and wasn’t working at all at the moment. So: he was either making it all up, or misdating the information he was posting. I didn’t want to call him out – who wants to destroy a career? – but I had a strange feeling about all of this, as I watched him go from untruth to untruth on LinkedIn.

 

 

Then there was his Facebook persona.

 

 

On Facebook, he was Mister Philanthropist. He was all over the place: giving speeches here, making heartfelt appeals there. He was amazing. Some of his Facebook friends were buying it: he was getting “Congratulations!” comments right and left on his various philanthropic / altruistic posts.

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(I, on the other hand, knew that he might or might not be making this stuff up. And, even if he wasn’t, he was certainly making the LinkedIn stuff up. And, for those of us who were following him on both LinkedIn and Facebook: we had to ask ourselves how he could possibly have the time to do all these things – be a stellar businessman and a stellar philanthropist – at the same time?)

 

 

So what’s a girl to do?

 

 

I could have messaged him, or confronted him. So could lots of other people, I imagine.

 

 

But I didn’t.  Oh, well, I thought.  It’ll blow up eventually. And, when it does, it will be spectacular.

 

 

And we (who knew the truth) will be able to say: “Oh, I had no idea! I thought it all sounded a little out of kilter. But I really didn’t know he was doing all of that . . . “

 

 

A warning to all of you fibbers out there: the truth will come out.

 

 

The Internet is built that way.


 

About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

8 Responses to Internet identities

  1. I don’t have time to lie, since I split my time between being a doctor, a lawyer, an astronaut and an international man of mystery.

  2. ShelLuser says:

    Well, if the truth will come out is something which remains to be seen IMO, but it is yet another comfirmation that you should not believe everything you see on the Net.

    Heck; in the good ole’ IRC days out motto used to be: “There are only guys on this channel, and the girls are all called Hank”.

    Just like (or dislike) a person for what he is, not the things he claims to do.

  3. My friend did an art project about a similar thing recently, she was doing a project on how we brand ourselves on FB, Twitter etc and who instigates this the website or the user. I think its us as users, but it is amazing how far the brand can stretch from reality with some people!

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