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« Please, just go around me | Main | Outrage and bringing about closure »
Tuesday
Jul062010

The private self and the public image

Recently Lance Armstrong was featured on the cover of the July issue of “Outside” Magazine.

Apparently when Lance posed for the picture he was wearing a plain tee-shirt; as you can see in the picture above, a message has been photoshopped onto the image referring to LA’s age of 38 years.

Lance was a little ticked and shot the following comment off on Twitter:

“Nice photoshop on a plain t-shirt guys. That's some lame bullsh--.”

This is the kind of casual comment any person would make to anyone who happened to be in the room at the time. In my opinion “Lame Bullshit” is a fair assessment of what happened here.

The big difference, casual comments to those around us mostly go in one ear and out the other. They are not made as serious comment, and usually accepted as such by colleagues, friends and acquaintances. They are forgotten as quickly as they are uttered.

Make that same trivial, spur of the moment comment on a social media site like Twitter, and it is now permanent; to be re-quoted, analyzed and discussed by everyone, and his brother.  

This morning I read an article titled, “Top 10 Twitter meltdowns, tirades and tantrums.” In my book calling something “Lame Bullshit” hardly ranks as a meltdown, tirade, or a tantrum.

Yet Lance Armstrong’s comment was lumped together with nine other various celebrities who had made other “Indiscrete” Twitter comments.

It made me realize that the Internet, along with the various social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, are a boon to celebrities as a means to build, and stay in touch with a fan base.

However, it is a double edged sword in that a person is judged, not by who he truly is, but by the public image he portrays on the Internet. Say the wrong thing and you can alienate a lot of people very quickly.

Lance Armstrong can only be truly known by those close to him; his immediate family and friends, and the people he works with. Outside of that there are millions who don’t know him at all, but think they do based on what they see and read in the media.

To a far lesser extent I am in this same position with this blog. I am sure the people who read this have a totally different image of who I am as opposed to my much smaller circle of family and close friends.

I see comments like “Curmudgeon” and “Grumpy old man.” I doubt my friends see me this way; otherwise I would probably have few friends.

I get angry at times about various circumstances and situations, who doesn’t? My anger is rarely directed at individuals, and it is always short lived. In real life if I sound off about something, people around me think it is funny. Comedians like Lewis Black make a career out of it.

My goal is usually to make people think about a situation, and discuss it. I don’t expect everyone to agree with my POV. I have learned one thing here in almost five years of doing this; I can’t please everyone. If I were to try I would probably please no one; least of all myself.

In the mean time my readership keeps on growing, and as long as it does I will keep on writing. It tells me I must be doing something right.

My posts cannot all be literary gems, and some days I just don’t have anything to say. Actually people who know me in real life find I am a man of few words.

That is something you would never have got from reading my comments here

 

                        

Reader Comments (8)

While Lance's "tweet" may be carved in cyberspace for posterity, that magazine cover is also permanent. I wonder if the editors still think it's so clever?

July 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

Dave, don't worry about the impact the net has,
According to Prince, it's dead!
love the blog, keep writing!

July 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterla_jim

That Photoshop'd Outside cover is lame. I'd be hacked if I was Lance as well.

You never come across as "Grumpy Old Man" to me. Your blog usually has some interesting and fun articles to check out.

And yeah, people's writing styles may not reflect what they're actually like in real life. Sometimes they do, sometimes not - different styles is what makes things interesting.

July 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDan O

Nice try Dave. But we have a long history of such behavior to prove that he is a prick. This is even before Twitter arrived on the scene.

July 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Hi Dave, When I first saw this I could only think what some slimeball media fuck decided to alter the picture to try to gain attention. Regardless whether you think or know if Lance is a "Prick," he has done more for cycling here in the USA than anyone else. I spent almost 30 years in this business from working in shops to developing products for manufacturers and the bike business is not on my radar screen as a business to get in. With low profit margins and big box stores selling grey market name brand bikes, it's not wonderful. That being said, the media in the USA is so desperate to get your attention, they will do almost anything to get it. There were comments on the story I saw saying Lance looked "Doped" "Ghost like thin" "Unhealthy" etc... These comments were obviously from stick and ball sport idiots who have no clue what it takes to ride at the pro peloton level. Outside Magazine had no right to do this (unles they had prior permission) so it just makes them look that much worse. I hope the person responsible for it reads this comment. "You are a low class piece of shit." Lance may be an arrogant prick to some, but he also has done more for cancer and cycling in the USA than anyone period. And, without starting anything about the latest allegations from Floyd Landis, Lance has been tested more than anyone and has never been proven to have cheated. I'm a Lance fan, but I'm also a fan of all the riders. If someone else wins, so be it. There is quite a bit of luck to go with the tactics and talent.
I have little faith in the media. They would sell their own Mothers if you let them. I do like your articles Dave! Keep at it!

July 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

I've got to say I'm not a huge Lance fan, because I do see him as an arrogant SOB. In other words, don't get in his way. But...I also agree with Brian in that he has singlehandedly brought about cycling awareness in this country, not to mention what he has done for cancer research. No matter what my thoughts are about him; as Dave said, everyone gets pissed now and then...everyone. What the magazine did was pretty low. That t-shirt makes it look as though it was Lance's thoughts on there, when in fact, it was the magazine's. Not that I mean anything to Outside magazine, but if was going to have a reason to purchase it, I won't now.

Dave, sounds like a great name for a band: Grumpy Old Men. I can be one of your grumpy old groupies!!

July 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermaltese falcon

I am under the impression that the "tweet" was intended to increase publicity. Lance Armstrong is well-known for using social media to his advantage, and I'd bet Radio Shack has plenty of ad money invested in that issue of Outside Magazine. I have never heard of LA rescinding a comment that has stirred controversy. Why? Because the controversy was intentionally constructed. Even if LA did not know about the upcoming photo-shopped image, he knew exactly what he was doing when he responded on Twitter.

July 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBo

Looks wonderful. Great reading your post as well. Thank you for the information you provided.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMike - Bicycles

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