Anna sent me a link to this new blog on the Guardian website. It’s the diary of a 19-year-old about to embark on his GAP-year travels in India and Thailand, hoping for ‘swimming, sunbathing and partying’.
After the first post, the comments start flooding in, and the readers are aren’t unimpressed: “posh 19 year old goes to Thailand to find himself amongst all the other ‘gappers’, and we can follow his every move? wow.”
By the 4th comment, suspicions of nepotism start to appear: “who’s son is Max then? terrible terrible terrible, shame on you guardian”
By comment No. 20, he’s been rumbled: “Well, given that Paul Gogarty is a travel writer for the Guardian, I guess that answers the question about who he’s related to”
The final nail in the coffin is an astute reader who finds an article written by the lad’s father in 2002, about a holiday in Thailand, no less, mentioning his 13-year-old son, who would now be 19.
Game, set, and match.
This is very poor stuff from the normally very social-media-savvy Guardian. And the lesson to be learnt (putting aside the uninspiring subject matter of the blog)?
You can’t out-smart your readers. If you aren’t being authentic, you will be found out by the crowd.