I came across a very interesting article yesterday on how easy it is to become internet famous with a few hours of work and a couple bucks. A man named Kevin Ashton used his internet prowess to create a fake online celebrity known as Santiago Swallow. Kevin documents how, after only 2 hours of work and $68, he was able to create a web presence that scored a 754 out of 1000 in consumer influence according to Kred, one of the largest companies that claim to accurately evaluate online influence. Kevin used methods from creating a fake twitter with auto-generated tweets and 90,000 purchased followers to registering a full Wikipedia page and website.
Kevin didn’t even think of the name Santiago Swallow himself, he used an online name generator. Now I don’t think it is going to shock anyone to hear that there is some dishonest activity being perpetrated on the internet. However, what did surprise me was how easy and cheap it was to do what Kevin did. If he can do it, what is stopping anyone else from doing it? Are the people or companies you follow on Twitter really as influential as they seem? Is Justin Bieber really the king of Twitter with 38 million followers or did he buy a couple million of those? We may not see flat out deception like we do here with Santigo very often, but I would bet this form of “reputation enhancement” is more prevalent than we think. For the full article please use the following link: