Twitter hoax may prove costly … someday

010515blog jake berlin

Jake Berlin, hoax perpetrator

Credit: (Photo via Jake Berlin's Twitter account)

All I know about Jake Berlin is that you can’t trust anything he posts on Twitter. (Heck, I don’t even know for sure if that’s his real name.)

And I only know Berlin's public pronouncements can’t be trusted because he’s the guy who generated a slew of media attention over the weekend with a Twitter stunt that made it appear as though he had been ejected from the Pittsburgh Steelers football stadium for merely threatening via his tweets to run out onto the field. He even posted pictures of himself at the game, the last showing him glumly being driven away in a golf cart by what we were to believe was a security guard.

Among those taking the click bait were the Los Angeles Times, TIME.com, The Drudge Report, Yahoo Sports, Sports Illustrated and a parade of bloggers eager to chronicle an audacious kid’s bid for his 15 minutes of fame. The tale was an irresistible slice of social-media life that I may well have written myself if not for the fact I was glued to the tube watching football all weekend.

However, this morning we learned – from Berlin in a press release of sorts – that he was not ejected from the stadium. It was a hoax, he said, a hoax designed to promote his fledgling business. And let that be a lesson to all of us, he admonished, because we apparently had not known previously that nonsense posted to the Internet can spread virally or that the media doesn’t always check everything before hitting the publish button.

He got his 15 minutes. And maybe his business will become the next big thing.

Probably not, though. It’s more likely that he’ll find himself applying for gainful employment someday. Those potential employers will Google his name, of course. And, unless Jake Berlin has cured cancer in the meantime, the most prominent search results will be about the time this young man really pulled one over on the Internet.

One group of potential employers will read of Berlin’s Twitter shenanigans and see a guy with ingenuity and moxie, a real go-getter.

Another set will see a knucklehead who can’t be trusted.

It says here the second group will be much larger than the first.

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