Sean “Justin” Parker On His Involuntary Fame


Sean Parker was just on a panel at eG8 Forum where he said a bunch of very interesting about entrepreneurship and the future of music. 

But the last question the moderator asked was, of course, about The Social Network where Parker is portrayed by Justin Timberlake as a Mephistophelian character which vaulted him into involuntary celebrity. 

He gets asked his question often but each time his answer changes as he refines his thinking on what must be a unique experience few of us can imagine. 

We thought it was so good that we want to print it in full (transcribed on the fly by us, so almost certainly not word-per-word accurate):

There’s certainly a certain irony in the fact that I was a founder of Napster and of Facebook, two companies which played a significant role in ushering in this transformation of media and the emergence of social media. Economically and financially, I’ve been one of the greatest beneficiaries.

The irony lies in the fact that I’m also one of the victims. … I was abused and maligned by the media, largely by the internet media. Largely by unaffiliated bloggers with no standard of journalistic ethics who created this caricature of me. I watched as this character emerged week after week, whose antics were in some ways as entertaining to me as anyone else. I had my identity commandeered by the blogosphere and Twitter and Facbeook.

So there I was, both greatest beneficiary and victim of this shift.

My first instict was to withdraw. But what I realised was that my salvation was to embrace it: to publish more. We live in a world where reality is fiction and vice versa. In America, celebrities live entire fictional lives, and that life to readers of tabloids is more real for them than reality.

My coverage for three years was almost entirely fictional, and it was scary, but at the end of the day I embraced it.

These media are only destructive of privacy if you opt-out of them, not if you embrace them.

After this answer, the moderator closed with: “Thank you, Justin” to great laughter in the audience.

Since Parker seems to believe (rightly!) that bloggers should have journalistic ethics, we should note where we went down on these issues in the past:

  • The 10 Most Glaring Lies In “The Social Network” →
  • The REAL Difference Between The Real Sean Parker And The “Sean Parker” From The Movie →

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