Turns Out You CAN Buy Internet Fame

santiago swallowThis is hysterical. Kevin Ashton all around internet super genius decided to conduct an experiment and create a fake internet personality and give him by-the-numbers fame.

All for $68.

Here’s the fake dude’s info. His name is Santiago Swallow, and according to Ashton, “Swallow is a pure product of the Internet: a “speaker and thinker,” who specializes in “re-imagining self in the online age,” an apparent star of the prestigious TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference, and a hit at Austin’s annual art, technology and music event, South By South West (SXSW). His Wikipedia biography explains why: Swallow is “a Mexican-born, American motivational speaker, consultant, educator, and author, whose speeches and publications focus on understanding modern culture in the age of social networking, globally interconnected media, user generated content and the Internet,” who has “dedicated himself to helping others know more about how media and personality can be manipulated in the 21st Century.”


Ashton generated his name on Scrivener, bought him 90,000 twitter followers from Fivvr, moshed together some photos with a free version of Lightroom, and used Tweetadder to create fake tweets. Then he wrote the Wikepedia page.

The reason Ashton did this is to highlight the problem that fake Twitter followers create for everyone. He says, “This is another way Twitter fakers do real harm. Just because you have fake Twitter followers, it does not mean you paid for them. Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Barack Obama have all made headlines for having fake Twitter followers — many millions of them. On average, only 28% of people following the 20 most popular Twitter accounts are real.”

Fascinating. I’ve met some bloggers that have bought Twitter followers (no, not me, although this is my very favorite rumor about myself), but I have always found the practice fairly innocuous, but I see Aston’s point.

What do you think? I’ll tell you one thing; I would never have personally bought the idea that Santiago Swallow was real and not because of the completely crazy name. Nope, it’s the mullet. No way would that fly at TED.

Article Posted 3 years Ago

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