For reasons I’m not entirely sure of, I decided last Thursday to start impersonating a group of trending environmental activists called the Alt Us National Park Service on Facebook.
Backstory: a twitter account for the Badlands county branch of the American Government-owned National Park Service was forced to remove three tweets citing statistics on carbon emissions. Almost immediately, up sprung the ‘Alt’ National Park Service account(s), lashing out at Trump with climate change zingers and hard facts. VICE and Buzzfeed and every other large vaguely new-media entity covered the story within hours.
And then: the legitimate Nat Alt National Park Service account deleted itself and wiped everything clean before re-emerging with no followers. Mystery hung in the air.
Whether or not that account and the ones that followed truly are being managed by environmental scientist government rebels, I don’t know. Or care, really. What’s important is I realised they hadn’t made a facebook page at the time, so I acted. Overnight, the likes came trickling in.
What I can tell you is the ‘Altusnatparkservice‘ facebook page claiming to the be official home for the “resistance” sure as shit isn’t run by government anyone, because it’s run by me. If your first question is “why,” here’s a puck. You can slide it. Go play roller hockey.
I have given false hope to over 3000 desperate, frustrated Americans this week. Here’s how I’ve grown:
5. Other Imitators Are Idiots
The first moment I realised I had made a sound investment here was by looking at the quality of my competitors – the other imitation accounts. Here we need to discuss quality over quantity – they got more likes than me, but I was able to craft an identical brand to the original twitter. I stayed focus on the climate change facts, and I was rewarded. People started tagging me, telling their friends that I was in fact the real Alt Nat Park Service account.
I was giddy. Things began to blur.
Nobody else had gone so far as to pretend to be the original account. Why, I have no idea. That sort of thing usually happens immediately. So, realising I was onto a good thing, I continued to craft my brand. Posting various news articles on new data and climate studies. At one point, I actually felt kind of good about it.
So did Americans.
4. Lol, Americans Tho. You Gotta Be Joking
I am the hero you deserve. If 4000 years of poetry and song tell us anything, it’s this: avoid melodious half naked fish women lurking on the rocks, and people will buy any product that brings them comfort.
I don’t really have any moral convictions from the get go, but I was able to avoid all moralising on the ethics of Snake Oil, especially well when I realised that these people weren’t liking the page to follow environmental news, they were liking the page to show their tokenistic alignment with an idea that would bring them self comfort. These corrupt capitalist pigs are always exploiting the lower classes for their material gain. The time has come. Bury up the rifle from its hiding place under the vegetable garden and take to the streets. Eliminate resistance wherever you find it. GO!
Look at these dweebs who thought they were hackers.
3. Beware Graphic Designers Who Try to Outsmart You
All visual artists are trash.
My first big risk moment came when the original designer of the Alt National Park Service logo messaged me. The Alt Nat Park had put a call out on twitter for a new logo, and one Angela S. was the winning contestant. Her design is an upside down arrowhead with a wolf and mountains in the design, which mimics the National Park aesthetic.
I had originally stolen it and deliberately not attributed her, knowing that the unnecessary attention could burst my bubble early on.
Luckily: Angela S is a fellow snake. She messaged my page originally inquiring about her right to promote the logo on some merchandise, but immediately, I began to smell something fishy.
Then I realised: she was doing what I was doing. She had set up a fake Alt Nat Park Service account on twitter, pretending to be the real one, but just posting links to her own webstore where the shirts would be printed off in some unclean factory in China with ink that lowkey breaks trade regulations.
I put up a disclaimer warning users to be alert, saying we did not sell merchandise. Her twitter account quickly lost traction anyway.
2. Idiots. Every last one of you. Utter fools.
Behold, the Hall of Shame:
Haha, serves you right for believing.
How will you ever defeat climate change if you can’t verify your sources?
I call this one Star Wars 7: Maureen Gets Lost in the Isle of Folly
1. I AM The Alt National Park Service
I awoke in Yellowstone in a daze. Below me, the warmth of an ancient volanco. The strangely refreshing mist of sulfurous geysers.
My breakfast was unusually delicious. The sky: brighter. The ground below me seemed healthier, more willing to embrace the nutrition of earth. Surely that could never go wrong.
I will go on until I am exposed. Now that I have gotten a taste, I cannot stop. I will continue to imitate a possibly nonexistent team of activist scientists until I am finally forced into exile by the Black Sea, writing scriptures until I die of pneumonia like Ovid, or more likely, until I get bored and find a porn site that interests me again.
Until then, I will continue to follow the real account, making up the story as I go along. So far, only one person has asked if I am legit. I deleted the message.