It started as a joke.
One October morning, I announced on Facebook that he was dropping everything and heading west. Many thought I was brave—many thought I was crazy. No one guessed I was lying.
I was never arrested toilet-papering an Amish horse and buggy and was charged for a hate crime. I never freight-hopped with a farmer's daughter, or was kidnapped by a religious cult. And I certainly don't have an Amish baby on the way.
But using little more than a mix of status updates and bad photoshop, that's exactly what people believed. My practical joke played out like a 21st century WAR OF THE WORLDS broadcast, a ludicrous story told to an audience that didn't know it was one.
People began connecting over the virtual journey, and some were inspired to change their own lives. But as "Fake Dave's" popularity grew, the real me became increasingly isolated, struggling with the implications of my secret and accidental social experiment.
Funny, emotional, and surprisingly honest, FAKEBOOK is the inside account of a social media hoax and a compelling lens to explore what the old ideas of reputation and community mean in our new world of constant connection. It ultimately asks: How do you draw the line between your virtual self and who you really are? And can you discover yourself on a journey that never took place?
The knowing an unknowing collaborators of Fakebook.
Meet Dave Cicirelli, the man who spent six months of his life burning bridges and ruining his reputation. It takes a rare mix of creativity and a immaturity to attempt something like Fakebook. He also has a bad habit of writing about himself in the third person.
Intended to be a parody of the free spirit and the butt of the joke, Fake Dave's mix of reckless daring and dashing good looks quickly made him the most popular Dave Cicirelli on the internet.
Kate and Dave never met face-to-face, but that didn't stop their photographs from having a turbulent love affair. Fake Dave and Amish Kate's relationship were shunned by their families, but embraced by the Fakebook audience.
It's pretty hard to blow it in a relationship you're scripting...but Dave found a way.
The father/son drama Ralph helped enact became a source of both credibility and gossip among the voyeurs in the real Cicirelli family.
An early, devoted follower to Dave's "travels" who uncovered the ruse. Rather than expose the secret, he turned the tables and created his own shadow network of collaborators to bring the consequences of Fake Dave's actions to real Dave's doorstep.
Ted Kaiser was a key collaborator, and the eyes and ears of Fakebook back in Cicirelli's home town of Red Bank, NJ.
Christine Reardon was a sometimes critic, sometimes supporter of Fakebook. Her advice changed the course of Fakebook, possibly because she had a direct line to Dave's deep rooted Catholic guilt.
Right when every girl the Real Dave ever liked is finally paying attention to him, he meets stunning and intelligent woman who would totally make every one of them jealous—and it has to be secret.
Of all the red flags your boss can raise on your first day, asking "Where's your compooter" ranks pretty high.
Spoiler alert: This gig sucked.
The reactions and conversations that happened with every post created a lively improv theater.
Also...sometimes people would send me on a spiral of guilt and self doubt.
Status updates and very bad photoshop—that's all it took to convinces hundreds of people of an absurd cross country adventure that never happened. Here are some of the ridiculous highlights.
How much would you have believed?
Not only did people believe Dave Cicirelli hiked all the way to Amish County just to toilet paper a horse and buggy, but they also believed he was prosecuted as a hate criminal for it!
People also believed Fake Dave ran away with the farmers daughter. Women love real Dave Cicirelli, so this was totally believable.
You should see the other guy.
After freight hopping for a week, Fake Dave and Amish Kate found themselves living in a tent in the Arizona desert. Times like this made life on the photoshopped road seem awfully appealing.
Yeah, rabies. Oh yeah, if you look close you can see a bowtie tattoo that also didn't exist.
After a daring escape from a doomsday cult, Fake Dave found himself south of the boarder without a passport. He looked to less-than-legal means to get back...
It didn't end well.
Get the whole story by buying Fakebook! It's great!