This is a great story. The blogger behind The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, the hugely popular fake CEO blog by Apple’s chief, has been outed. And he’s none other than a well-established MSM journalist, Dan Lyons, a senior editor for Forbes.com. Dan authored Forbes’ much discussed cover story in November 2005: Attack of the Blogs. (He’s also the author of Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs, A Parody to be published in October.)

I haven’t been a regular reader of Fake Steve so it’s been a kick to plunge in and read the very clever skewering of Jobs’ persona. It’s a parody of CEO blogs in general (which are not candid enough, says Lyons – one of the reasons he started the blog) and of the kind of Silicon Valley insider blog that Apple CEO Steve Jobs might write – but of course never would because he tends to be a secretive kind of guy.

On the Profile page: “I love beautiful objects. I love creating them. Negative people upset me… I don’t call people. People call me.” And Jobs’ “interests”: Mock turtlenecks, trees, the color black, the color white, meditation, etc.

So is fake blogging the same thing as ghostblogging?

Well, no. Fake blogging is much funnier and, if well done, can be more effective at engaging readers. You can fake candidness much better than really truly being candid. And of course fake blogging is upfront about being “fake” which follows blogging’s best practice benchmark of being authentic.

Ghostblogging is just… fake. OK, you get the drift.

Oh, and the Through the Looking-Glass part? That a respected mainstream
journalist is writing the blog in flawless blog-ese and that a reporter for The New York
Times (and not a snarky blog like Valleywag) uncovered the fact. Lyons chortles over that on Fake Steve.

Rather than firing Lyons, BTW, Forbes is lionizing him (sorry, couldn’t resist) and will soon migrate the blog over to Forbes.com.

Just goes to show that writing chops are an essential prerequisite for a good blog, whether it’s authored by the CEO or the janitor. Too bad there aren’t more Jonathan Schwartz’s.

Useful Links

The Trial of Fake Steve Jobs
– the “outing” of Lyons as the author of the blog by Brad Stone on The New York Times’ Bits Blog – Aug. 5, 2007

Note: there are currently 158 comments on this entry, almost all of them critical of Stone for spoiling the fun of the parody.

Fake Steve Jobs Outed (Reuters – Aug. 6, 2007)

Is it OK to ghostwrite a CEO blog? (on BlogWriteForCEOs – Sept. 19, 2006)

TechCrunch’s list of fake CEO blogs – Aug. 24, 2007