Social Media: The Next Great Storytelling Platform

Could Kevin Durant's fake neighbor be to Twitter what Orson Welles' War of the Worlds was to radio?

Recently, I’ve been looking back on old Facebook photos, messages and wall posts, using social media sort of like a diary or journal. Turns out all of my social media activity, be it Twitter, Foursquare or YouTube, makes for one hell of a time capsule. Bad haircuts, regrettable outfits, old friends — it’s a trip.

I imagine social media will be used as a primary storytelling platform before long. This is something Facebook has acknowledged with yesterday’s announced plans to create Friendship Pages, which, according to Mashable.com, “pull together the public wall posts, comments, photos (based on tags) and events that two friends have in common.”

There’s potential across other social networks, as well. Nike’s realized this with its latest campaign featuring Kevin Durant. I follow the Oklahoma City Thunder superstar on Twitter. Yesterday morning, he posted this curious tweet:

Like others, I clicked to find out who Durant’s new neighbor was and why he was “trippin’.”@kd35sneighbor is Mathias Murphy, a fictional teenager who claims Kevin Durant has moved in next door to him. His Twitter profile links to a YouTube channel with a series of videos meant to appear as though Murphy is spying on Durant:

Not everyone on Twitter has caught on to the ruse, but as of this morning, @kd35sneighbor is up to 1,123 follows (up from 200 when I started following yesterday morning) and “his” YouTube videos have received nearly 93,000 views. In the latest video, Murphy answers Durant’s invitation via Twitter to come next door and meet him. It should be interesting to see a) how Nike incorporates itself into the story and b) where the story goes.

I work for a consumer marketing agency that prides itself on social media know-how. We’ve recently been honored for a global campaign based almost entirely on social media. Still, my co-workers were abuzz with this awesome stunt. Whoever’s responsible for brainstorming Kevin Durant’s “neighbor” — likely Weiden + Kennedy — has a serious grasp of social media’s storytelling potential. (And if that’s the case, W+K has had the best year ever with the most recent LeBron James commercial and Old Spice’s The Man Your Man Could Smell Like campaign.)

There’s already rumbling about both of these storytelling techniques. Facebook Friendship Pages are running into some privacy issues, per usual. Mike Melanson of ReadWriteWeb wrote, “In the end, the feature is just one more reminder that we live in the open with our souls – our friendships, our thoughts, our embarrassing moments – bared to the world unless we are extremely cautious.” And with Durant’s fictional neighbor, some folks on Twitter seem genuinely concerned:

Fiction or nonfiction, I’m excited for recent developments involving storytelling and social media. Like it or not, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and YouTube keep a more accurate history than a journal or diary could. And just like Orson Welles’ The War of the Worlds, the Durant campaign shows how an audience new to a storytelling platform can struggle to separate truth from reality.

Storytellers, run wild.

Newspaper Endorsements No Longer Matter. Or Do They?

History has given us a plenty of reason to question the newspaper industry's clairvoyance.

I served as editor-in-chief of my college newspaper during the 2005-06 school year. The following year, my successor decided he’d had enough after the fall term, so I was brought back for the Spring 2007 semester. I spent some 18 months as the editor of a newspaper and not once was my paper forced to make a political endorsement.

Not that any newspaper really is. Still, it’s a strange tradition that carries on; the editorial board, hardly representative of any newsroom’s entire staff, gathers to decide which candidate their newspaper supports. It’s a process happening now and in the coming weeks in Minnesota. In fact, many of the state’s biggest publications have already endorsed Independent gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner.

I love everything about newspapers, even though I’m a Twitter-checking, iPad-toting, RSS Feed-reading information consumer. I started reading the Argus Leader (of Sioux Falls, SD) when I was around six years old. The Argus is notoriously conservative, as is most of South Dakota. If newspapers are influential, how is it someone who became a daily reader at such a young age would go on to become a big, stupid liberal like myself?

Because I didn’t care about the political leanings of the Argus Leader’s editorial board. I suspect very few people did or do. For all the good a newspaper provides a community, I think readers maintain an intellectual detachment, a blanket of skepticism and a take-it-with-a-grain-of-salt resolve. Endorsements aren’t influential. Endorsements are fodder for political ads and debates. The Duluth News Tribune will not persuade my vote this year. Will it persuade yours?

A few years ago, Froma Harrop penned a rather snide commentary for Rasmussen Reports, roundly supporting newspaper endorsements. Harrop argued — with a fair amount of evidence — that newspaper endorsements are most effective when they support candidates outside their perceived political affiliation. For example, when the staunchly conservative Chicago Tribune endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008, it was a big deal. Readers took notice. Readers were (probably) influenced.

“For newspapers, there’s something gratifying about these studies and surveys and even the arrows shot their way by bloggers and cable partisans,” Harrop wrote. “Go ahead and ‘diss’ the print journalists as pterodactyls of the ‘Mainstream Media’ … People still get hopped up over what they think.”

Apparently, he’s partially right, because here’s another blogger shooting arrows at the construct.

This year, selecting from the three Minnesota gubernatorial candidates is like choosing from an in-flight menu — go with whatever seems most palatable. I’m voting Horner and it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with the newspaper endorsements. I’m happy he’s garnered the support of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Duluth News Tribune, the Fargo-Moorhead Forum, the Bemidji Pioneer and, seemingly, the Mankato Free Press, but that has nothing to do with my vote.

Do newspaper endorsements still matter? That all depends on how impressionable a voter is, I guess. Personally, I refuse to be influenced politically by something that prints comic strips, crossword puzzles and horoscopes.

Zuckerberg Resilient the Week Before Social Network Opens

If Jesse Eisenberg was paid $5 million to play Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, he would need 1,379 sequels to match Zuckerberg's net worth.

Just over a week from the opening of The Social Network, it seems Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook are doing anything and everything to earn some positive press. Can you blame them? The movie is getting rave reviews, and those I’ve talked to who’ve seen advanced screenings say it colors Zuckerberg a world-class douche bag, whether right or wrong.

So, what’s Team Zuckerberg been up to?

  • Donating $100 million to Newark (NJ) public schools. According to the Wall Street Journal, Zuckerberg will announce “a donation of up to $100 million to the Newark schools this week, in a bold bid to improve one of the country’s worst performing public school systems.” And with grand Zuckerberg flair, the announcement will be made on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
  • Working on a Facebook phone. Maybe. After previously dismissing a report from TechCrunch regarding a possible Facebook phone, Bloomberg reported Facebook is working with INQ Mobile Ltd. on a pair of smartphones which could be carried by AT&T in the U.S. in the second half of 2011.
  • Climbing the list of Forbes’ 400 richest Americans. How do you get past being depicted by B-list actor Jesse Eisenberg? Try increasing your value $4.9 billion in just a year. Zuckerberg’s $6.9 billion puts him at No. 35 on the list of America’s 400 richest people. For perspective, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is worth just $6.1 billion. Chump change. Why does this matter? A) Should Facebook go public, investors can equate Zuckerberg’s financial success with still more growth potential and B) Zuckerberg’s now surpassing some of the greatest luminaries in our country in terms of value and influence.

Expect more educational philanthropy from Facebook, as Zuckerberg has long been a proponent for increasing salaries for public school teachers. His timing — with the donation and the announcement on Oprah — is perfect, considering Davis Guggenheim’s education documentary Waiting for “Superman” opens Oct. 1, the same day as The Social Network. (Guggenheim appeared on Oprah Monday to promote the doc alongside Bill Gates and Michelle Rhee, chancellor of the Washington D.C. public school system.)

About a year ago, I read Ben Mezrich’s The Accidental Billionaires, the book upon which The Social Network is based. While reading it, I was aware the movie was being developed, but I imagine you’ll get the same impression from the movie as I got from the book — a sense of incompletion. Simply, the Facebook story is still in its early chapters, and to pen a book and movie before we truly understand what Facebook means seems … I don’t know … rushed? Opportunistic? Impatient?

You don’t net $6.9 billion without pissing someone off along the way. And more importantly, I don’t think Facebook users care about Zuckerberg’s dealings. Facebook has woven itself into our lives in such a way that we’re no longer concerned with how it came to be, but more importantly, that it exists.

Who can name the inventor of the Internet? (Not Al Gore.) E-mail? Wireless Internet? Online bill pay? Facebook has become a tool, a utility, something we’ve come to need. Ever talk to a friend who’s decided to quit Facebook? They don’t miss the poking and the walls and the photo albums. They miss the communication. They miss the feeling of being connected. It’s the same feeling you’d have if you up and removed your mailbox, gave up on the postal service.

I digress.

Anyone plan on seeing The Social Network? Do you believe a movie that negatively depicts Mark Zuckerberg will affect the way you interact with Facebook?

Stewart, Colbert Rally for Sanity, Fear

The folks over at Comedy Central have offered some of the most compelling coverage the past few elections. While CNN integrated holograms into their broadcast for no apparent reason and FOX News participated in typical over-the-top doomsday rhetoric, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report actually provided some of the best coverage of the 2008 election.

Comedy Central seems to rise to the occasion every election season. This year, Jon Stewart is leading the way with The Rally to Restore Sanity, which not-so-subtly knocks Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally, which took place just last month.

The rally’s home page asks, “Who among us has not wanted to open their window and shout that at the top of their lungs?” The site also says the rally is intended for “the people who’ve been too busy to go to rallies, who actually have lives and families and jobs (or are looking for jobs) — not so much the Silent Majority as the Busy Majority. If we had to sum up the political view of our participants in a single sentence… we couldn’t. That’s sort of the point.”

Of course, Stephen Colbert can’t sit this one out. He’ll simultaneously host The March to Keep Fear Alive. From the march’s home page: “America, the Greatest Country God ever gave Man, was built on three bedrock principles: Freedom. Liberty. And Fear — that someone might take our Freedom and Liberty.”

Essentially, these events should turn out to be a sketch comedy on a grand scale — not unlike Beck’s meant-to-be-serious Restoring Honor rally.

I can’t help but think massive political protests/rallies/marches/shindigs/soirees have become arbitrary. We’ve got social media now, and sadly, a hashtag on Twitter goes a lot farther than 1,000,000 people standing united at the Lincoln Memorial. I admire the dedication, but the whole process is kind of antiquated.

I imagine that’s the point of Stewart’s and Colbert’s rallies. Two rallies on the same day at the same place with completely opposed agendas. I wish I could go. Are you going? If so, send me an e-mail (atmiller14@gmail.com) and we can coordinate a guest post.

Here’s a question: If you were going to one of the rallies and you were going to make a sign, what would it say? Post it on Twitter with the hashtag #sanitysign. (That’s an ongoing hashtag right now – not my invention.)

Mankato Mayor John Brady Admits Alcoholism, Won’t Resign

On Tuesday, Mankato Mayor John Brady said he will not resign after being arrested on Aug. 21 for driving while intoxicated with a blood-alcohol concentration level of 0.24 — three times the legal limit. Brady was also arrested for an alleged hit-and-run accident, an open bottle violation and failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.

Mayor Brady also admitted he’s been an alcoholic for “18 years or so,” though he’s had stretches of sobriety lasting up to three years. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “he cited the death of his son last November and a 2007 tragedy in rural Waseca. His stepdaughter is Hilary Kruger, who was severely wounded when a gunman entered her home and killed her husband and son.”

Mayor Brady still plans on running for re-election in November, where he’ll face the court of public opinion. Fortunately for him, Brady seems to have the Mankato Free Press on his side. On Aug. 27, managing editor Joe Spear wrote:

Now, the argument goes, people are really going to believe Mankato is all about excessive drinking. The mayor was caught driving drunk, a mayor who has been involved in efforts to curb excessive alcohol use. That’s certainly going to be a factor in how the community can measure Brady’s ability to be a leader going forward.

Things are not looking good for the mayor, but we’re obligated by our ethics and our sense of fairness to hear the whole story before passing judgment.

I’ve only read the online version of today’s Mankato Free Press, but Spear & Co. continued to avoid judgment and instead wrote an editorial about 2010 congressional elections. The paper’s silence speaks volumes.

Robb Murray, an education reporter at the Mankato Free Press, got some great quotes from city council members who expected Brady’s resignation. From Robb’s story – the best coverage I’ve read so far:

“I came here hoping he would step down,” said Vance Stuehrenberg, a council member who is currently running for a seat on the Blue Earth County Board. “I honestly think the mayor needs to recover, but I don’t think he should be doing it on city time.”

“John’s a good guy and an effective mayor,” council member Mark Frost said. “But this is a breach of public trust that cannot be tolerated.”

In an editorial published Jan. 21, 2006, the Mankato Free Press endorsed Brady’s initial mayoral campaign: “Brady brings the most to the table in terms of knowledge, people skills and most importantly an ability to rally the council to work together to bring the city to the next level.” It seems that ability is lost now, so it’s puzzling the Mankato Free Press wouldn’t be as willing to call for his resignation.

If I was Spear and had any desire to maintain the integrity of my newspaper, I would assign at least two reporters from my severely understaffed newsroom to blow this story apart today and be sure tomorrow’s edition included response from community members, political advisers, lawyers, law enforcement, former mayors and drug and alcohol counselors. This is the biggest story of the year in Mankato and it’s being painfully underplayed. When a story is the talk of the town on its own, you, as managing editor, have the responsibility to provide the facts and details your readers deserve.

Back to Mayor Brady: I can’t say I’m surprised he’s relinquished his grip on the mayorship. Thomas Jefferson said “Power is not alluring to pure minds,” By yesterday’s admission, the Mankato community has every right to be skeptical of Brady’s abilities and motives. If he’s truly committed to seeking assistance for his illness, he must admit he’s not fit to run a city at the same time. He can either face the levity of his situation and go on his own terms or wait until November and see if the community is then more forgiving.

(Thanks to Nate Brennan and the MSU Reporter for the above video of Mayor Brady’s press conference.)

The Marketing of Mormons

My name is Andrew, and I am not a Mormon.

I am, however, an appreciator of quality marketing, and the goods being put forth by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are second to none. You must’ve seen some of these ads from Mormon.org before. If you watched it with a group, someone said something. If you were alone, you tuned in. At the very least, these ads are drawing attention, and since getting one to convert to a new religion is a tough sell, I’m sure the Mormons are satisfied with the buzz.

Timing is everything, and those crafty Mormons keep catching me when I least expect them. I’ve heard their radio spots after a Lil’ Wayne song on the local hip-hop station. I’ve seen their commercials during the seventh inning of a Minnesota Twins game. The Mormons have shown ninja-like abilities to catch people off guard. They same can’t be said for their previous marketing campaign.

Timing is also curious when you consider Proposition 8 and the recent decision by a federal judge to allow continuation of same-sex marriages in California starting Wednesday. The Mormons played an integral role in passing Proposition 8 in 2008, and their efforts were the focus of a recent documentary called 8: The Mormon Proposition:

Ouch.

I have no doubt the Mormons employ a group of advisors whose sole purpose — no pun intended — is to improve the public image of Mormons. If that’s the case, they’re doing one hell of a job. (Still no intention.) This campaign, at the very least, normalizes a religion long seen as something on the fringe, extreme, different. Sure, they may have stolen from Microsoft’s commercials (“I’m ____ and I’m a PC”), but these spots have drawn attention and stirred dialogue.

What more can you ask for?

CNN’s Test Shows Kids Are Wary of Race

While it may not have the immediate newsworthiness of the BP oil leak, the Arizona illegal immigration bill or continue fallout from Wall Street, the issue of race has received excellent coverage from CNN over the past three years. It all started with “Black in America,” a program that had no singular focus, but rather took a survey of what it means to be black in America in 2008.

The latest CNN project aired last night on AC360. It was called “Black or White: Kids on race.” There was one poignant moment when a white 5-year-old girl took part in a pilot test that left her mother in tears:

This immediately called to mind a section from Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink, where elementary school students took an Implicit Association Test (IAT) that offered similarly disheartening results. Gladwell explained the test in 2007 on Oprah:

I’m no expert on matters regarding race. If I take a stance here, it’s to say the status quo isn’t working. I will say this is why I believe in diversity and I think it’s increasingly important for kids at younger ages to interact with kids who don’t look and act like themselves.

This is a touchy matter, I realize. I think I’d rather leave further discussion to the comment board:

  • Why do you think these negative associations originate at such a young age?
  • What kind of discussions should results from these findings?
  • What can be done for children to impact attitudes regarding race?

Social Media, Newspapers Need to Play Nice

In an average day, I post to my blog, check out Facebook several dozen times, browse my Twitter feed every few hours, look up a thing or two on Wikipedia and maybe watch a few clips on YouTube. I don’t consider myself anymore engaged in social media than you. I consider my activities to be very normal.

So does Erik Qualman, who’s book Socialnomics argues social media is no fad, but rather “the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution.” In Qualman’s case, the numbers don’t lie, and he’s leveraged them in a YouTube clip — fittingly — to advertise his book. (You can find the clip at the end of this post.)

  • 96% of Millennials have joined a social network.
  • Social media has overtaken pornography as the No. 1 activity on the Internet.
  • 1 out of 8 married couples in the U.S. met via social media.
  • 60 million status updates on Facebook happen daily.

Socialnomics stresses the importance of businesses investing in social media campaigns to stay relevant with the times. I’m no MBA, but I can say this: Anymore, if I see a brand or business without a Facebook page or Twitter account, I immediately question its legitimacy. It’s kind of like back in the mid-1990s when URLs started showing up in ads. Such oversight feels to me like a serious disconnect, making it harder to trust a company.

My dad is part-owner of Millers & Hass Builders, Inc., a homebuilding company in Sioux Falls, S.D. that operates in the basement of our house. It’s a small operation — literally two Millers and one Hass — but companies like theirs can really benefit from smart usage of social media. They’ve started a Facebook fan page, and while they only have 66 fans, there’s potential just one of those people could pass their name along and essentially land my dad a contract to build a $185,000 home. There is no cost to maintain a Facebook fan page. Talk about return on investment.

As a newsman, this also worries me. A decade ago, my dad’s company would’ve gone to the local newspaper to buy advertising. This would’ve been the most practical and effective way of drawing interest. Now, that’s not necessary, especially for a small business with a conservative budget. In a very real way, Facebook is stealing revenue from newspapers, leading to Qualman’s grim statistic that “24 of the 25 largest newspapers are experiencing record declines in circulation.”

Here I am, a gluttonous media consumer who indulges in Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia and several blogs everyday, while these things have the industry I hope to work in — the newspaper industry — in a stranglehold. Here’s why I don’t feel guilty, though: Smarter newspapers across the country are pumping resources into social media integration because they realize this isn’t a fad. My daily usage, along with yours, proves social media a worthy investment.

But why does it matter?

Arthur Miller once said, “A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.” One could argue with Facebook and Twitter, who needs newspapers? Well, if you feel the civil discourse should be capped at 140 characters or a status update, that’s your problem. (Please don’t vote, by the way.)

What I mean to say is social media might be the right forum, but journalists are the right people. Once the two learn to play nice, it’s possible we can have our cake and eat it, too.

Why I Appreciate Andy Rooney

Andy Rooney won’t be around much longer, and that makes me incredibly sad.

The legendary commentator is 91, and he’s been doing his bit on 60 Minutes for just about 32 years now. What I do on this blog every day isn’t much different than what Rooney’s been doing for decades. The key difference, however, is Rooney’s been able to comment all these years about the subtleties and nuances of life without ever straying to a polarized stance.

Think about it: Most of us either love or hate something. That’s most apparent in the media, where debates and roundtables will feature guests with completely polarized views — the neo-conservative debates the bleeding-heart liberal; the pro-choice advocate debates the priest; the anti-war activist debates the general. The problem is our brain doesn’t necessarily operate within absolutes. Not always, anyway.

Rooney? His mind never does.

Sharp as an arrow after all these years, I try to catch Rooney’s segment every Sunday evening because he reminds me it’s OK, if not healthier, to just like or dislike something. Rarely will you hear Rooney say he loves or hates something. He operates within that 25-75 percent window from which most of us are outliers. His standard of deviation never strays far from lukewarm, and that’s probably why he’s going strong at 91.

Rooney’s taught me it’s important to appreciate small things, and certainly no waste of time to call attention to them. He realizes those who don’t like his commentary can certainly tune out or turn him off, and I suppose the same goes for my blog.

I was thinking about Rooney when a friend of mine invited me to an upcoming discussion between Frank Black and Carl Wilson. Black is a musician best known as lead singer of alternative rock outfit the Pixies. Wilson is an editor and critic for the Globe and Mail (of Toronto) who wrote a book called Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste, which discusses how Dion is one of the most polarizing recording artists ever. (People either love or hate her music.)  According to the Facebook invite I received:

They’ll have a dynamic, irreverent discussion about the changing meanings of “alternative” and “underground,” the relationship of indie to mainstream, emotion in music, and how what we like defines, creates and possibly distorts who we are.

Now, given my limited knowledge of these individuals, both should have the predilection to use words like “love” and “hate” quite a bit. (Given the nature of the discussion, I would imagine we’ll more likely hear “fucking love” or “fucking hate,” actually.)

Could this discussion take place were Rooney a part of it? Yes. However, it might not be as lively to the audience, because we’re hoping these two great minds butt heads a few times or harmoniously praise or revile the same things. Rooney wouldn’t take the bait. He would say, “I don’t see why you’re getting so worked up about things. Celine’s music is perfectly fine, but you won’t find her work in my record collection.”

It’s not my style to operate within Rooney’s range of contentment. There’s no way I could go on writing about things with such harnessed feelings. Unfortunately, my feelings (and so my writing) runs hot and cold, rarely in between. What I will take from Rooney now and remember long after he passes is its OK to muse over the way you like your coffee every morning or grumble at the way jeans fit so tightly after just being washed. Those are the little things that make up the brunt of our lives, anyway. They’re frequent, but still infinitesimal and not worth getting too worked up over.

I hope when Rooney passes the producers of 60 Minutes are tactful when thinking his replacement. They should settle on someone full of like and dislike who everyone can love or hate, just like Rooney.

What Tiger Woods’ Apology Means To Me

Tiger Woods (with caddy Steve Williams) has never been shy about crying on the golf course. Can we expect the same water works during tomorrow's apology?

Tiger Woods is coming out of hiding tomorrow for an 11 a.m. EST press conference where he’s expected to address his troubled past for the first time and discuss his future plans.

That means nearly three months will have passed since we last heard from the world’s most famous, er, infamous athlete. During that span, there’s been countless mistresses who’ve come forward, wild rumors reported and several endorsers giving the peace sign. Friday is Woods’ first step to earning back the adoration of the general public and fans like me.

OK, maybe adoration isn’t the word. Friday is Woods’ first step to earning some forgiveness.

This is a tough one for me. Prior to what went down last Thanksgiving, I was all-in for Tiger Woods. Favorite athlete? Hell, he was one of my favorite humans. The guy embodied excellence, hard work, grace, determination, relentlessness. His golf swing? A master stroke, like Picasso at the easel or Mozart at the piano. To watch Tiger Woods was a privilege.

Was.

I’m a diehard golf fan and I love the professional game. I need someone to cheer for on the PGA Tour, and frankly, it’s always been Tiger. He was, after all, the reason I even started golfing back in 1997, the year he won his first Masters. Tiger made golf cool, and even inspired the latest generation of pros who are now taking over the tour. I’ve been trying to follow guys like Anthony Kim and Stewart Cink, but they’re just not…Tiger.

Now, I don’t respect Tiger, but maybe I don’t need to. I’m not trying to watch his family life when the majors are on TV. His marriage, his family, his transgressions — they’re all part of his private life. The problem is when I look at Tiger, I want him to be as good as the hype I was fed growing up. And it’s not like I went out of my way to assume he was a good guy. That’s just the line I was given by his management company, his charity work, and Tiger, himself. There was no reason to believe otherwise.

I have no idea what he’ll say tomorrow at this press conference. I don’t even know what I want to hear. Obviously, he’ll say he’s sorry. He’ll say he’s not perfect. He’ll say he’s been working on his flaws, that he respects the privacy he’s somehow found despite the relentless media and paparazzi. He’ll probably cry, speak to his imperfection, mention he’s a constant work in progress. I doubt he expects anyone to forgive him tomorrow.

I was texting my good friend Luke over the weekend about Tiger. We were in agreement that Tiger’s actions were only disgusting because he was married and had the kids. If that’s the lifestyle he wanted, he never should’ve started a family and put on the front of Mr. Dad. I said I could go back to being a fan but he would have to show me some serious humility and that he was a changed man. His demeanor would need to be entirely different. No more swearing tirades and throwing golf clubs on the course. No more cookie-cutter answers with the media. He would need to show some transparency, prove to me he has a heart.

I’m a bit ashamed this whole story affected me the way it did, as I’m now a 25-year-old man. I never wanted to be a fanboy, but it sort of worked out that I grew up with Tiger and felt his life was a model for success in every way imaginable. That model was a facade and I took it hook, line and sinker.

I look at it now as a crisis of faith. Who can I really trust? I’m not much a religious man, but I think Tiger speaks to the dangers of false idols and hero worship. Here forth, he’ll just be a golfer for me. He never should’ve been more in the first place.

Note: If anyone wants to throw together a montage with clips from Tiger’s apology tomorrow, I’ve got the perfect song:

So, what do you expect from Tiger’s apology tomorrow? Can you ever be a fan again?

UPDATE: Text of an alleged Tiger Woods’ apology has been leaked, but deemed false. You can read it here. I’m not going to lie – I would’ve gagged at the God-heavy finish. Tiger hasn’t been known to speak of his religious beliefs, so this would seem fake.