Fool me twice, shame on me? Maybe so.
Many of us got fooled by "Nicky," the blogger who turned out to be a complete fabrication, concocted by a middle-aged woman in Canada.
More recently, Marc and I became online friends with another young man. This one struck us as sweet and well-grounded. He really pulled us in, since we always love seeing a young gay man who seems to have a bright future and a good head on his shoulders. So we left comments on his blog, exchanged e-mail, chatted with him online and felt we were building a nice online friendship. We even watched as he had his first real boyfriend and reached some important "firsts" in the life of a young man in the arms of his boyfriend.
Recently, I had a few troubling thoughts, wondering how someone so young (18 years old) possessed such wisdom. Still, despite having been burned by Nicky, I dismissed the thoughts.
Then tonight, something made me wonder if I should pursue these thoughts. What's the harm in doing some investigating? If our friend was the real deal, all that would happen would be my putting fears to rest.
So I picked some posts from the blog in question and, using Google, I started my hunt. I found that this person has another site, a blog that mirrors the one we read but has a much larger readership. Okay, no problem there. But then I found that there are whole sentences, paragraphs and even entire posts that have been lifted from other blogs, including one on the other side of the Atlantic.
So either our young friend is guilty of repeated plagiarism or he doesn't even exist at all.
I can't tell you how upsetting this is. I won't turn away from the blogging world. We've made some wonderful, real-life, flesh-and-blood friends through this medium. Even so, this is a real blow. Aside from feeling like a fool, I'm saddened that someone I thought was a wonderful young man probably isn't even real.