Old media strikes back

The New York Times killed the fake Steve Jobs. Brad Stone identified Daniel Lyons as the blogger who has been writing the fake Secret Diary of Steve “Dude, I friggin invented the iPhone” Jobs.

Lyons is himself an old media veteran, currently serving as senior editor of Forbes magazine.

“I’m stunned that it’s taken this long,” said Mr. Lyons, 46, when a reporter interrupted his vacation in Maine on Sunday to ask him about Fake Steve. “I have not been that good at keeping it a secret. I’ve been sort of waiting for this call for months.”

It’s a bit ironic when you consider this quote from Lyons in a story he wrote in 2005 (via How to Split an Atom) about anonymous bloggers:

Blogs started a few years ago as a simple way for people to keep online diaries. Suddenly they are the ultimate vehicle for brand-bashing, personal attacks, political extremism and smear campaigns. It’s not easy to fight back: Often a bashing victim can’t even figure out who his attacker is.

Lyons was busted by publicity for a forthcoming book in the character of Steve Jobs.

Last year, his agent showed the manuscript to several book publishers and told them the anonymous author was a published novelist and writer for a major business magazine. The New York Times found Mr. Lyons by looking for writers who fit those two criteria, and then by comparing the writing of “Fake Steve” to a blog Mr. Lyons writes in his own name, called Floating Point (floatingpoint.wordpress.com).

The Secret Diary will soon be moving under Forbes.com. It’s dead before it gets there. Now that you know who is writing it, it isn’t interesting.


About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is Senior Director of product at Amazon (Audible). Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. He tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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1 Response to Old media strikes back

  1. Mark says:

    Totally agree with you, Rocky. I loved Fake Steve Jobs up to the moment he was outed. SInce then–blah. The infinitesimal chance that it really was Steve was enough to keep in interesting. It’s fascinating how knowing the secret has wrecked it, even though the writing is as snarky as ever.

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