As I noted at the beginning of the month, the Alastair Campbell blog was a fake. The Times has scooped a full confession from the author who explains how she managed to get inside details to add to its authenticity and to copy Campbell’s writing style from a leaked email. It seems several organizations were taken in and even emailed the author, Anna Corp, a 30 year-old woman, requesting he speak at events. Corp terms her fake blogging as ‘proxy blogging’.
I know this was a joke, and all credit to Ms Corp for her convincing writing style, but isn’t this rather akin to impersonation and deception? What strikes me as so odd in her self-penned confession is the complete lack of remorse or regret. ‘It’s been fun,’ she claims. Well, sure, those in the public eye are open to mockery and characterization, but it’s normally done with the audience’s knowledge. Impersonators are funny because you know it’s an impersonation. This is different. Clearly a lot of people felt this was really Alistair Campbell (just look at the comments as proof). I’m not sure ‘proxy blogging’ is the right term, perhaps ‘identity theft’ is more accurate.
Now imagine you are Alastair Campbell (or if that’s unpalatable, anyone else who is ‘proxy blogged’) – what can you do to stop this? As Campbell’s PR agent, how would you prevent this? This was a joke but it could be more serious, such as the impersonation of a CEO by a disgruntled ex-employee. Someone with an ax to grind. I’m no fan of anonymous blogging, but it strikes me that ‘proxy blogging’ could be far more damaging.
To her credit though, Corp does make a good point that more politicians should blog in order to reach disaffected audiences. Perhaps having your own blog might also prevent others developing a proxy too?