A couple years ago the creepiest thing happened on Facebook. Congressman Jim Moran joined- not with a fan page but with a personal page. He started frequently updating it, and commenting on other people's wall. "Jim" logged in every day to wish people a happy birthday and engage in conversations!
About 99% of the activists he friended were so excited when he would like their statuses or comment on their big life events or just be there for their birthdays.
I was suspect from day one. Jim Moran is a busy man. To suddenly find such an interest in Facebook and have so much time to spend on it seemed odd. Plus, he was so happy and chipper in the various comments he left. Even more interesting was he only seemed to know the people well who were still politically active in committees, his comments to his older friends were generic and didn't seem to remember them.
As a social media consultant I assumed that this was a fake account. After doing some investigating I found out it was run in his campaign office by his daughter Mary Moran who also served as his campaign manager. This made a lot of sense- Mary Moran hasn't been politically active as long as her dad so she didn't know some of the older people, but as the campaign manager attended all the political events and knew the people currently involved and active.
So why not just have a Mary Moran account and wish everyone a happy birthday and engage as herself? Mary apparently decided that it would be better for her dad if everyone believed it was him- and played out that fraud for over a year. "Hi Jenny, happy birthday! You are doing such a great job with the Young Democrats! So proud of you!"
But late last year, Mary left the campaign to get a real job somewhere after the 2012 campaign brought some very unfavorable coverage to Jim Moran's family on the payroll. Once she was no longer paid on staff she stopped updating the page. Ouch dad! Even your daughter doesn't work for you for free!
No longer is "Jim" active on Facebook. His new campaign manager Peg Willingham isn't related to him and presumably isn't trusted to write as "Jim". Now his page just sometimes makes generic updates (last one over a month ago) and invites people to his fundraising events.
While many people didn't seem to notice this fraud when it was happening, the page's inactivity has opened a lot of eyes to what was really going on. People who "engaged" with "Jim" on there are embarrassed. The real Jim Moran looks foolish. If he ever did actually comment most people would now think it was fake. His online credibility is gone.
That's why fake social media doesn't work.