The story of LA rock band Threatin, which broke through social-media and pop-culture circles in the post-election news cycle, is indeed the story of our times.
Threatin boasted tens of thousands of Facebook fans, worked through a booking agency and promoter, had a million YouTube views and a solid touring record — according to all online sources — before booking a tour through European clubs, guaranteeing advance sales.
In case you missed the turn in this story: Threatin turned out to be a guy named Jered, who played all the instruments on Threatin’s songs, faked live footage of the band, bought more than 38,000 Facebook likes and fabricated a booking agency by the simple acts of building a website and creating an email address for it.
So nobody — literally nobody — showed up for his first couple shows, though the next few have attracted a few looky-loos because of the sheer audacity and boneheadedness of the move.
It must have taken Jered Threatin years to pull this caper: writing the songs, recording them, staging the videos, making up the stupid name.
Then he created social profiles and outright purchased tens of thousands of friends, likes and views, all before booking the European tour: calling the clubs, recruiting a band, making a poster and logo.
Dude made a logo!
Imagine if he had poured these hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into his music instead of creating an invisible army of bots whose sole purpose is to help him live his lie.
It’s important to navigate these gaps between our digital lives and the actual world, to recognize that things online are not always as they are, as they say, IRL.
Most of us already know that even real people don’t show up at Facebook events.
Perhaps Jered never got that far in his thinking, positing the mere fact of Threatin’s European tour as a success, categorizing the lack of a single European fan as a mere inconvenience.
Or — and this is terrifying — he was one step ahead, counting on notoriety from articles like this one to jump-start his career.
Perhaps his shows this weekend in Italy and Denmark will be packed, and he will convert them all to the way of Threatin.
But probably not.
Sure, more people know about Threatin today. But users can differentiate between good content and bad, no matter how many Facebook likes it has.