The bizarre nature of the recent revelations of internet postings of Whole Foods CEO, John Mackay reminded me of something that I noted back in December but had never run on SFN.
If you aren’t familiar with the Mackay case – the public company’s CEO used an anagram from an alias for nearly eight years to post messages on Yahoo Finance message boards that bashed competitors and praied everything from his company’s quarterly financial performance to his own haircut.
This Mackay situation harkened memories of an interesting situation that played itself out on the internet message boards of Texas A&M last year.
Robert Gates, the nation’s new defense secretary, confirmed through a Texas A&M spokesman Friday that he occasionally posted messages anonymously on the Web site TexAgs.com while serving as the university’s president. The poster known as “ranger65″ revealed Thursday night on the site that he was really Gates.
As ranger65, Gates commented on a variety of topics in different forums – sports- and non-sports-related – within the site. They ranged from opposing moving the Aggies’ annual game with Texas Tech to Dallas to supporting the Corps of Cadets to discussing the university’s plans for the Memorial Student Center hotel and its lawsuit against the Seattle Seahawks over the 12th Man trademark.
The posts referred to Gates in the third person and often used the phrase “I’m told” before delving into details about the issue at hand.
I ran across this back in December while on A&M’s unofficial official athletics message board. This link should take you to the original post where Dr. Gates outs himself.
Given NC State’s administration’s outright fear and loathing of the Internet, I found all of this refreshing to read this. In a nutshell, the outgoing president of Texas A&M — outgoing in order to be the next Secretary of Defense — not only was not afraid of the Internet, he participated in it in an almost Shakespearean fashion; interacting with alums and fans.
I guess that it is worth noting that both of these stories originate from Texas. Mackay is based on Austin and Texas A&M is only about 90 minutes down the road in College Station.