Submitted for publication by Linda.
I'm back to the case of Megan Meier.
After Megan Meier committed suicide, a blog was started that garnered tremendous of attention.
The blog owner claimed to be a classmate of Megan Meier and eventually the third post on the blog claimed that the blog's owner was none other than Laurie Drew. Laurie Drew was the mother who made the fake teenage boy persona on Myspace whose rejection of Megan is believe to have caused her suicide.
There were numerous posts in which the blog owner claimed to have inside information. Numerous posts and comments about how they wanted to get their side, presumably the Drew side, of the story out. There were even posts that asked for prayers. There were also posts that pleaded for the need for "real" justice.
There were over 25,000 hits on the blog and guess what? It was a ruse. It was a kind of social experiment by a troll/hacker whose name is Jason Fortuny but who goes by the name Fortuny on the internet. He says that the purpose of the blog was to question the public's hunger for remorse and to question the enforceability of cyberharassing laws.
(Hat tip to Guinevere for the above article. Fortuny's connection to the blog can be found on p.3 of the above article)
So what if all of the hub-bub around the Gosselin Family is a kind of social experiment? What if some of these blogs exist to test the public's hunger for gossip or to test how far people will go to defend their position? Jason Fortuny says that even a "normal" person will do insane things on the internet. Imagine how the premise of protecting children can fan those flames?
I'm not convinced that every poster who claims to have "inside" information is actually who they say there are on either side. I'm not even convinced that a person defending the Gosselins in one post won't come back under another alias to disagree with their own argument. I'm not convinced of a lot on the blogosphere or on discussion boards. People can claim to be almost anyone.
We've got to be exercise caution about the blogosphere in the same way that we now know to exercise caution about political reporting and advertising for instance. Sometimes it turns out to be true. Sometimes it turns out to be a big ruse.