Guest posting: Fake Stephen Conroy on what really happened

Leslie Nassar yesterday went public on being the person between Twitter’s Fake Stephen Conroy. A row has since developed between him and his employer Telstra about what transpired once his identity was known. This is his version of events:  

So the news of my identity broke. It’s weird, you know, seeing yourself on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald. I knew it’d happen some day, but honestly? I thought it’d be for my singing, or my acting. But not this.

We had some good times, didn’t we? We sure did. Do you have any regrets? I have questions. What questions?

Why did you even start the Fake Stephen Conroy twitter page? Why did you write the commentaries?

Funny story; I didn’t actually start the FSC account, someone else did. I took it over in January. That’s why there’s that big gap in tweets, and the writing style completely changed. It was like Bewitched; we swapped one Darrin for another.

So I’d been snarking at Web 2.0 and Slacktivism idiocy for a while on my own Twitter account, and the original Darrin thought I’d enjoy playing FSC.

Twitter is an echo chamber where pleasing voices are looped and amplified. A dissenting voice, that wanders meekly into the mix will get drowned out pretty quickly. So I aimed to be dissenting, yet populist. That worked out pretty well, actually.

It was a good opportunity to try something different, so I wrote as FSC the Buffoon, FSC the Evil Genius, FSC the Concerned Citizen. Hell, there were moments of FSC the Zen Buddhist. The whole thing, beginning to end, was a chance to flex my creative muscles just a little (some might say, very little).

Have you had previous experience as a satirist?

My creative output was always photography, never writing. Given that I’ve been kind of a jerk my whole life, I don’t know why writing satire didn’t occur to me sooner.

How do you think the Australian public and media reacted to the Fake Stephen Conroy persona?

Bewilderment, for the most part I think. As much as the Twitter Echo Chamber wants to believe it’s mainstream – The new SMS! The new Email! – it’s really not. At least, not yet. It’s the same 10,000 guys that were on Pownce last year.

Have you started other satirical efforts online to target other personalities?

No, of course not. That would be 1) Hilarious, and 2) a violation of Telstra’s strict anti-impersonation code.

Why did you stop?

Because I was told to by my manager, actually, a few of them. Remember the whole TPS report thing in Office Space? It was like that, only a lot less funny, and with a complete lack of red Swingline staplers. Maybe it’s an infringement on personal liberties, maybe it’s goonish corporate behaviour, maybe it’s clueless, maybe I’m a coward; but the bottom line is that (for now) the humourless-ones pay the bills.

But why did you out yourself?

Because I was about to be outed, whether I liked it or not.

This posting is reproduced, with permission, from Leslie Nassar’s Department of Internets blog.


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