Dec, the CEO of Rockit Ranch Productions, is no stranger to self-promotion, with his own blog and a Twitter account that keeps his peeps up to date on the latest goings on in his personal life and his sprawling empire of restaurants and nightclubs.
But here's the thing about Twitter. It can be a great promotional tool, but there's nothing to stop someone from setting up an account and pretending to be someone else. And that's exactly what happened to Dec, when someone created TheRealBillyDec -- a Twitter account posting tweets that more or less mock the real real Billy Dec.
As Mary J. might say, Dec inspires a lot of hateration because of his local celeb status and success, combined with his willingness to tirelessly promote his endeavors. The tweets from @TheRealBillyDec could be described as sarcastic at best, with one post crossing the line when it linked to a Web site showing male genatalia.
It was mildly amusing for those following the fake account over the past few weeks, and some might even say it was losing its novelty until Thursday, when the real real Billy Dec -- through his assistant -- sent an email to the people following the fake account, asking them to unfollow. You follow? The email claimed that the "authorities have been alerted" along with Twitter.
Now when you say "authorities," we assume that means the po-po -- although we're hoping Chicago's finest have better things to do than search for Twitter impostors. The email also said they "didn't want the writer to be alerted till Billy shows up on their doorstep."
On Friday, the real real Billy Dec upped the ante by sending a tweet offering a $1,000 cash reward for whoever can identify @TheRealBillyDec.
Creating fake Twitter accounts is nothing new. Shaquille O'Neal called his Twitter account TheRealShaq because of all the fake accounts in his name. Locally, fake accounts have been set up for Tribune food writer Phil Vettel, the Sun-Times' Pat Bruno, and ABC7's Steve Dolinsky. Some people in the know have hypothesized that the same person may be behind all of those fake food-related accounts, including Dec's.
The pressure seems to be getting to @therealbillydec, because on Friday night, he switched to another Twitter account -- @fakebillydec -- and seems to be having even more fun with the developments over the past couple of days.
Shouldn't we all be so lucky that someone would care enough about us to go out of their way to impersonate us? Sure, it's easy for the rest of us to say until someone attacks us directly. But we wouldn't even be writing this story had it not been for the real real Billy Dec's public offer of a cash reward.
The most interesting scenario we've heard is that perhaps the real real Billy Dec might have created the whole scenario as a publicity stunt. Hmmmm. At the end of the day, we suggest everyone just quit the holleratin' up in this dancery.
Requests for comment from the real real Billy Dec through his assistant were not returned.