Measure your fame in tweets and likes

iquit You have to wonder who really would be taken in by the story of a girl who quit her job very publicly in a series of 33 photos that, via text on a whiteboard, tell the story of why she quit and what she thinks of her boss.

I was when I saw it yesterday (although I did have the tiniest “this looks too good to be true…” thought). But maybe we want to believe a story like this. It’s credible: it could be true! It reflects a desire in many of us – and a sneaking admiration in a lot of us – to have the courage to do something like this ourselves.

Well, of course it turns out to be a hoax. As TechCrunch reports, the so-called ‘dry erase girl’ is a 22-year-old aspiring actress Elyse Porterfield who responded to an ad for a photo-shoot.

[…] The photo shoot, which happened [on August 6], was for an image board site called The Chive. The Chive (which gets around 5.6 million unique visits a month, according to Google) is part of a network of viral sites run by brothers Leo and John Resig, who have a storied history of manufacturing Internet hoaxes, most notably the $10,000 Donald Trump tip and the infamous “virgin text messages her dad that she lost her virginity.” Both hoaxes ended up punking various mainstream media outlets including Fox News, Gawker and Jay Leno.

Porterfield told TechCrunch, “When I went into the audition, I didn’t know what it was for – but thought that this couldn’t be too bawdy or promiscuous or else they wouldn’t have me holding a dry erase board. “

The outing of the hoax has been a talking-point online, as you’d expect.

This could just be another one of those internet hoaxes, like the ones TechCrunch mentions, that erupt, gather lots of attention in a very short period of time, dies away and then become the kind of urban legends that get mentioned in PowerPoint presentations.

Yet there’s a dimension to the dry erase girl it that perhaps is a reflection of our times in focusing attention online on a topic, person, brand or whatever, that people willingly and immediately recommend to their friends and others in their communities via the quick click of  a Facebook ‘like’ and a tweet.

Here are the metrics according to TechCrunch – The Chive post with the 33 photos got 238,000 Facebook likes and 31,000 tweets. I would imagine outing the hoax will drive another wave of attention, resulting in more likes and tweets (and retweets) as more people connect to the source and others tell their friends it was all a hoax after all.

In 1968, Andy Warhol said, “in the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Well, we’re in that future and it’s moved along to being world-famous for 238k Facebook likes and 31k tweets, which will stick around because it’s online.

As long as you’re not making people feel stupid or foolish, and putting aside rights and wrongs for a moment, think about what that kind of attention can do for your brand.

Who said social media doesn’t have influence? Or is it popularity?

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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