Fake Steve and the power of blogs

By now, anyone who isn’t living in a cave probably knows that the blogger behind Fake Steve Jobs has been exposed as Forbes writer Daniel Lyons. If you need to find out more, you can read one of the eight thousand posts about it on Techmeme. I’m not all that interested in finding out FSJ’s secret identity — in fact, I was kind of hoping he wouldn’t be found out.

What I find really fascinating, like Anil Dash of SixApart and my friend Joey deVilla from Global Nerdy, is that Daniel Lyons is also the guy who wrote the Forbes magazine screed about blogs not so long ago. Does that make him a hypocrite? Perhaps — although I would argue that, like many magazine writers (or newspaper writers for that matter) Lyons likely took a stance for the article that he knew would be controversial, as a rhetorical device, and may or may not have actually felt that way personally.

In any case, that clearly didn’t stop him from seeing the power of having a blog. As Anil puts it: “The benefits of blogging for one’s career or business are so profound that they were even able to persuade a dedicated detractor.” And Scott Karp at Publishing 2.0 notes that Lyons clearly felt compelled to do something more creative than Forbes allowed him to do, and as a result he is likely to benefit from it — at Forbes’ expense.

Revenge of the blog-o-sphere

If Forbes magazine was looking for some attention from the Internet, they certainly got what they were asking for. Unfortunately, it isn’t coming because of some fine-quality, well-written journalism, but because of what bloggers are taking as a drive-by-shooting style rant about how bloggers are dirty, rotten, lying scumbags. The piece by Daniel Lyons is more or less about a battle between one man whose company and stock were hammered by a blogger who pretended to be someone else, but along the way Lyons casts some aspersions against bloggers as a whole. Reaction (not surprisingly) has come from far and wide, including Dan Gillmor at Bayosphere, Steve Rubel at MicroPersuasion, the guys over at We Break Stuff and Paul Kedrosky at Infectious Greed. Is it a deliberate attempt by Forbes to get some coverage in the blog-o-sphere — even if it’s negative? Perhaps. Or it could just be that publisher Malcolm Forbes got a bee in his bonnet about blogs for some reason. Meanwhile, Chris Pirillo notes sarcastically that magazines also suffer from some of the same problems. But Om Malik (who used to work for the magazine before he moved to Business 2.0, says he is reserving judgment for the moment.

Update: In a great piece for abcnews.com, Michael Malone — former editor of Forbes’ ASAP technology magazine and long-time Silicon Valley observer — talks about blogs and notes that the business magazine is the “one of the best technology counter-indicators I know.”