Moments after white smoke billowed out of Vatican City, proclaiming Jorge M. Bergoglio as the new pope, Twitter accounts and Facebook pages popped up here, there, and everywhere, claiming to be Pope Francis I. But they weren't. They were bogus (or po-gus, heh).
Are you surprised? Not about the new pope, about the Twitter accounts and whatnot? Of course you're not! Who would be? Any time anything happens -- a new pope is elected; the term "Binders Full of Women" is used; Angelina Jolie juts out her right leg like a yahoo -- people are on it. They're ready, fingies fixed on their keyboards, to claim the domain name, Twitter handle, or Tumblr. And while these fleeting Internet memes are often funny (if not forgettable), they're also ... telling. We really are all obsessed with online validation, aren't we?
The funny thing is, these accounts are often anonymous. (Until they get a book deal.) It isn't like a person is actually being recognized for his or her quick wit and cleverness. People simply want to know that they're funny, and that people like them -- even if people don't know "them".
My knee-jerk reaction to the whole jumping on memes like a lunatic thing was a virtual eye roll. I mean, seriously, don't you have anything better to do than immediately create a fake pope account? But after considering it a little more -- why not? It doesn't seem healthy if it's one's only form of validation (IRL for life!), but what's wrong with people liking and retweeting your shit? It makes people feel good; it reassures them that they're witty and can make people laugh; and it lets them remind the world, who's collectively so wrapped up in themselves, that they exist. They're alive and people are paying attention to them.
That isn't so bad. And also, there's this:
@_PopeFrancis: "Did everyone see that white smoke? Mmm. That was some good weed."
What do you think of all these fake Twitter and Facebook accounts? Funny or a waste of time?
Image via L'Osservatore Romano/Getty