of yo-yos and chicanery :: what i learned from “K-Strass”

May 28, 2010

This guy has some serious guts.  Or a social disorder.  Either way, he’s kind of my hero right now.

Kenny Strasser (who sometimes goes by Kevin Strassberg) is a mystery.  One thing is certain… a yo-yo master he ain’t.  However, through a fake website, some fallacious “testimonials,” and a phone call from his “agent,” Kenny/Kevin  “K-Strass” was able to dupe his way onto at least six morning news showsin the last month.  Claiming to work for a non-profit organization raising environmental awareness, K-Strass was billed as a yo-yo master, warming the hearts of children and adults alike with his amazing yo-yo spledasticality.

I love it. “K-Strass” is a total fabrication.  And a total genius.

I think the video above is probably enough food for thought on this beautiful Memorial Day weekend, but it did spark this reminder in me… What you see of someone on the internet is what they want you to see.

When asked how the Programming Directors of all of these news organizations could be taken so hard, several of them mentioned the Zim-Zam Yo-Yo website.  Yep.  Seems legit to me.  That’s some hard core investigative fact checking there, boy.

Here’s where it hits home…  The other day I updated my status to say something about taking a bunch of extra kids to Isaac’s soccer practice “just for fun” so mom could get a break.  In no time at all, I was getting digital back-pats on Facebook and Twitter.  Just as I had planned it.

The truth is, I was tired out from a day at work.  I had my one-year-old with me.  If I took the extra kids with to soccer practice, I could bum him off on the older brothers and sit in a chair on the sidelines at practice.  THAT was maybe my primary motivation for bringing them with.  Laziness.  So the “what a great dad” comments rang a little hollow.  I had to come clean.

Anyway, all this to say that we now live in this fishbowl (by choice, and it’s not all bad) of social media.  I actually embrace the opportunity to live transparently (to a degree) through on-line tweets, posts, pictures, and status updates.  But I recognize how easy it is to “tweak” the truth to my advantage.  I mean, who wouldn’t, right?  The temptation to glaze over the worst of our character and put highlighter on our good side is always there.  If you have an online presence, it’s there for you, too.  The choice.  To be as real as possible.  Or to create a new you.  A shinier you.  Photoshopped life.

Well, Kenny… or Kevin… my bright yellow hat’s off to you.  While you first may have  fudged the details JUUUUUST a bit regarding your yo-yo prowess in order to get a booking, you have shown us the reality of your “skills” in all of their splendor.  You have been transparent.  Kinda.  For that, we laugh at you.  Or with you.  Or at least near you.

As for me, I’ll try to be as real as I can be, so that I don’t have to worry when you meet me in person whether I can keep up the facade in real life.  While I sincerely appreciate the genius that is “K-Strass,”  I could never pull it off.  Hopefully, all ye who know me best will hear my real voice on these here interwebs.  Truthfully, the people that have had the deepest impact on me through their online presence have been the ones willing to reveal their not-so-shiny, not-so-polished, not-so-skilled side once in awhile.  I want to have the courage to follow their lead.

Bloggers, tweeters, Facebookers, friends… who’s with me?


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“of yo-yos and chicanery :: what i learned from ‘K-Strass'” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.


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Psalm 24:7 & Luke 10:42 >> Like David, and Mary, I'm in pursuit of my one thing. I'm the Pastor at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Montgomery, IL. Pastor, teacher, writer, communicator, designer, and drummer. I definitely got the better deal in my marriage to Amy. And I couldn't be any more proud of my five amazing boys. Deeply grateful.

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