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Lying Your Way to “Fame” the Social Media Way

This week eMarketer released a study saying how people act differently online. No surprises there, but take a look at the study and see if you find anything of interest. What I am more concerned about is the trash culture that is growing just as rapidly, if not more so, through the proliferation of media options that allow for “people” (I use the term loosely in most cases) to become “trash-lebrities.” This week’s case in point: Tareq and Michaele Salahi, the now infamous White House party crashers.

We have created, or allowed to evolve is maybe a better term, this thing called the social Web. There is a lot of good that comes from it. There is good in the commerce that it can create, which is sorely needed. It is good in bringing people together in a way not possible just a few short years ago. It is good in providing help and support for those who are ill or seek help that they never could get in the past. It is good for providing an outlet for amazing organizations like World Vision. (Please note that World Vision had no knowledge of that plug and the worldwide conglomerate of Biznology, Inc., and its writer Frank Reed received NO, as in zero, compensation for that mention. You see what big government does to creativity?)
Now I know that I am adding to the notoriety of the White House crashers, to a degree, but I am not going to celebrate it. Here’s why:

  • They got on the news and created buzz by crashing a government dinner that ultimately embarrassed the Secret Service and exposed that the president of the United States isn’t all that safe.
  • They ate up all of the media attention and relished in their aspiring reality TV careers.
  • When there was a threat of further action against them they suddenly changed their tune and said they were invited. They actually “attached” themselves to some other invite. Shady at best. Lying at worst.
  • Then, the nitwits at the Today show gave them a platform to “explain” their situation.
  • The White House says they were not invited. That comes from Robert Gibbs, the press secretary. The Today show promoted the video for this “event” with the subtitle “Gibbs: Crashers definitely were not invited” The actual video? Just the last 1 minute and 15 second of the over 5 minute segment was about this event. The other four minutes? About the new troop deployments to Afghanistan. Sell the video right, Today.

Whether or not these people are liars (I vote yes) remains to be seen. What this situation reveals is the true downside of our new open, social environment. We allow for this kind of stuff to distract us from real issues like the economy, health care, and war. Take a look at the top searches for Yahoo for 2009 (which, by the way, simply don’t include December so how they can call them tops for the year is a bit of a stretch):

  1. Michael Jackson
  2. Twilight
  3. WWE
  4. Megan Fox
  5. Britney Spears
  6. Naruto
  7. American Idol
  8. Kim Kardashian
  10. Runescape

Once again, this is my opinion, but if these are the top searches for the US we are possibly the most shallow civilization in history.
So, here’s my point. Actually it’s more of a plea. Please don’t use the social Web for spreading more junk. We have enough already. If you feel the need to spread more nonsense on top of the nonsense, then do it somewhere where it is appreciated. Where that is, I have no idea because I certainly won’t be there.

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