Tom Anderson
(October 2007)

Tom Anderson, the co-founder of MySpace and the first friend to anyone who creates a MySpace profile, claims to be 32 years old on his MySpace profile. That's what his Wikipedia entry says too. But now some research by Julia Angwin, a Wall Street Journal reporter, has revealed that Anderson has crossed that ephemeral line between youth and middle age. He's over 35, it appears, though by how much is unclear. He might even be (gasp!) 40! The blogosphere is buzzing about it, but what does it all mean?

It means, the Scoreboard surmises, that the creator of a youth culture web phenomenon like MySpace thought he would have a better chance of success if he was thought to be somewhat closer to being a youth. Maybe Anderson is right, although bending to that kind of silly bias also perpetuates it.

Lying about one's age isn't exactly the same as pretending that you have a Masters from M.I.T. when you're really a seventh grade drop-out, but it still constitutes resume dishonestly, and in the context of Anderson's business, resume padding. We wouldn't be very tolerant of the male publisher of a women's magazine who pretended to be female, and I predict a lot of angry and disillusioned Daily Kos readers if Markos Moulitsas is exposed as a registered Republican. The fact that Anderson's deception is trivial (does four years really signify that much?) and almost certainly unnecessary doesn't change the fact that it is intentional deception. And intentional deception for any reason calls one's trustworthiness, honesty and integrity into question.

After all, person who will tell a trivial lie to get a trivial advantage is a greater risk to tell a great lie for a significant advantage than a person who hasn't lied at all. Sure: he might just be vain, and the lie but a tiny lapse of judgement.

Or maybe he's just a liar.

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