Fake Steve Jobs is unmasked: The reaction so far is a bit depressing.

The anonymous writer of The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs (a.k.a. Fake Steve Jobs or FSJ) has been identified.

OK, so what’s next? Sadly, I’ve seen posts about Daniel Lyons’ writing as FSJ that are kind of bleak.

For example, Daring Fireball had this to say:

“Lots of scathing critiques and mockery of Fortune and BusinessWeek (and their writers…) Not as much about Forbes, and nothing personally mocking any particular Forbes writers.”

Why would this be a surprise? Did anyone think FSJ was an entity of pure energy radiating fairness and unbiased opinions? His opinions and biases were always pretty obvious.

The Macalope cites a Groklaw piece that suggests Lyons was shilling for Microsoft, and then says this:

“Nowhere close to a slam dunk, but there’s certainly a little something there to chew on.”

The only thing there to chew on is fat. You can see the Groklaw article here. It’s based on a Techsploder article that piggy-backed off a Valleywag article. Trying to tie FSJ into the Microsoft “People Ready” blogger debacle is weak at best, but the real beauty (from Techsploder) is this gem:

“If you read FSJ, and filter out the funnies, you’ll see that the topics are pretty much what Microsoft’s pushing at any given time. Stuff that desperately needs marketing support like Vista, Zune, Windows, iPhone and Bono. It doesn’t take a genius to work out what’s going on here, and FSJ is a blogger so… nuff sed eh?”

Good work, guys. You’ve just described nearly every topic ever covered on any blog by an Apple supporter. In fact, I checked my own blog and am missing only Bono. Does this make me a Microsoft shill? In the words of FSJ: frigtards.

Meanwhile, over at Scobleizer he says this:

“I will say that the guy who wrote the Fake Steve Jobs’ blog was a brilliant writer.”

Why do you say “was?” His name is Daniel Lyons and he’s still a brilliant writer. I’ll read FSJ no matter where it’s hosted. (Scoble said he’d change it to “is.”)

So there’s this examination of Lyons’ FSJ writings as if the words on the blog never existed until now. Yet when you look at them they conform to Lyons’ known views of the tech world. Well, Duh! Didn’t everyone know there was a real human being behind that writing, that we’d eventually find out who it is — he didn’t try very hard to hide it — and (surprise!) FSJ would have the same opinions? It’s clear FSJ wrote with Lyons’ voice. It doesn’t change one word of any FSJ post.

Some look to a Lyons article critical of blogging and claim for him to have written FSJ was hypocrisy. No, it was someone brilliantly turning the medium into a powerful tool. It also shows that smart people can change their minds. Don’t be bitter just because he pulled it off while you never even thought of it (and probably couldn’t pull it off if you had).

Some are upset that the blog was published anonymously, but FSJ could never have happened without it, and that’s proof enough (if any were needed) that it can be a very useful technique. (Hey, it worked for The Federalist Papers.) Forget the anonymity for a moment, FSJ doesn’t take off unless the writing kicks ass. How many people know or care about all the other “fake” sites?

In this day and age we’re all too quick to kill the messenger and ignore the message. In FSJ’s case it was the message we discussed. That was a very good thing. Now that he’s been unmasked, some “messenger killing” seems to have begun. We’ll see a lot more of it in the days to come, but I disagree. The writing of FSJ did not magically change with his unmasking, nor should we be even remotely surprised that his creator shares the same views and biases.

Groklaw’s article says that now you know who you can sue. For what? Opinions are just that, and brilliant satire is all too rare nowadays. Based on opinions and posts I’ve seen in the few hours since the story broke, a lot of the Web community doesn’t know how to handle the revelation with anything other than cynicism. In my opinion this does not show bloggers in a very good light. Perhaps that’s why it took an “old school” journalist to create FSJ in the first place, and also an “old school” publication to unmask him.

It’s going to be interesting to see how further analysis and opinion from the blogger community comes in over the next few days; it would be a shame if all a lot of bloggers can do is pontificate and act as if not only is FSJ “dead,” but perhaps in light of its true author he was never really that good anyway.

[UPDATE:] Daring Fireball published a longer piece today expressing positive views such as this:

“The question hinges on what exactly is the main source of Fake Steve’s appeal. Is it that he’s so good — sometimes scathingly funny, sometimes deeply insightful, and, at his best, both? Or was it the fact that his identity was a mystery? I say it’s that he was good.”

Yes!

In addition, Graceful Flavor and Anil Dash published thoughtful pieces giving the FSJ phenomenon (and Lyons) more due than early articles last night seemed to indicate would occur.

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6 thoughts on “Fake Steve Jobs is unmasked: The reaction so far is a bit depressing.

  1. Rupert “The Reptile” Murdoch has just taken over the most important newspaper in the U.S., and y’all are worried about the unmasking of FSJ??!!

  2. “But now I realize that the reporter Daniel Lyons has made lots of enemys along the way (some bloggers, the Groklaw crowd, etc.) and all of a sudden the Fake Steve persona is taking flak.”

    Yep, they’re shooting the messenger and ignoring the message.

    Yesterday FSJ was brilliant, but now it’s crap? Or at the very least nothing more than the biased ramblings of just another writer.

    It seems to me if there are any hypocrites here it’s those who loved FSJ yesterday, but have so easily changed their opinions on him today.

  3. Fake Steve Jobs was and, no doubt, will continue to be brilliant and one of the best written blogs of recent memory.

    We might know who’s behind the blog now, but that doesn’t change the fact that he created absolutely one of the best blogs ever! As I told my 2 or 3 readers of my own little blog, “Maybe if I practice for a million years I will get to be half as good as Dan Lyon?”

    I, for one, will continue you to read the Fake Steve Jobs. It’s brilliant, entertaining and his thoughts often echo my own. I love this blog; this is one of the very few that I read regularly.

    In conclusion: THE FAKE STEVE JOBS IS THE REAL DEAL! Long live the Fake Steve Jobs!

  4. Nerg …

    I don’t think you are far off base even though you are most likely kidding.

  5. It’s a huge hoax, by Fake Steve to throw people off his trail!

    I wishxqwtav

  6. Based on opinions and posts I’ve seen in the few hours since the story broke, a lot of the Web community doesn’t know how to handle the revelation with anything other than cynicism. In my opinion this does not show bloggers in a very good light.

    As an anon blogger Fake Steve has made a lot of friends (Mac fans, tech enthusiasts), just about everyone loved him. But now I realize that the reporter Daniel Lyons has made lots of enemys along the way (some bloggers, the Groklaw crowd, etc.) and all of a sudden the Fake Steve persona is taking flak. That’s way uncool.

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