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We frankly hear the line “I am authentic” from artists like Lady GaGa and other celebrities. Are they authentic or calculated personalities?

In fact, marketers and social networking coaches are preaching that to succeed on Facebook and Twitter, we must all “be authentic”.

A proposed panel at next year’s South by Southwest interactive conference promises to teach attendees “how to be authentic and human without embarrassing yourself.”

Artists, politicians, reality television stars, and celebrities are obsessed with authenticity.

“What you can’t do is be told by a social media guru to act authentic and still be authentic,” said Jeff Pooley, an associate professor of media and communication at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. He said authenticity today is more accurately described as “calculated authenticity” — a k a stage management.

““The best way to sell yourself is to not appear to be selling yourself,” Professor Pooley said. Politicians do it. Celebrities do it. And you, reader, do it every time you tap out a status update on Twitter, Facebook, Google+. ”

Nicki Minaj, the hip-hop singer has adopted theatrical alter egos with names like Roman Zolanski and Nicki Teresa.

“I’m definitely playing a role,” Ms. Minaj explained in BlackBook magazine. “They don’t pay to see me roll out of bed with crust in my eyes, and say, ‘Hey guys, this is me, authentic.’ They pay for a show.”

The New York Times

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