The lives we live online — and off

Dear internet,

You think you know the real Nick Lioudis, but you don’t. You don’t see anything wrong with me when you tweet about my love of hockey and living the NYC college life. But you find it odd when I go off the Twitter rails, reposting a heroin-fueled Cookie Monster or accusing all Bernie Sanders supporters of living off the government. I’ve really done it now, haven’t I, internet?

Except, I haven’t done a thing: It’s that you had the wrong Nick.

My account wasn’t hacked. Still, I’m a victim of a strange case of mistaken identity, and I’m related to the perpetrator. My 22-year-old cousin, whose Twitter fingers are as loose as his relationship with discretion, is dragging me through the social media mud under an account in our shared name. And I’m paying the price.

For the record, I am a 32-year-old, self-deprecating soccer fan who is a passive social media user. I’m more interested in trading tweets with stapler manufacturers than political barbs with Russian trolls. Unfortunately, my Twitter identity, @nickkonstantine, doesn’t even register in internet searches for my real name.

Further complicating matters: Aspects of my true self are entangled with my cousin, resulting in some cringe-worthy discoveries. For instance, I was a business journalist, so his retweets of Bloomberg News would not dissuade would-be employers from believing they were taking a glimpse into my mind. But eyebrows could furrow when those tweets are scattered among inappropriate retweets of President Donald Trump, as I found out in a job interview.

Cue the profuse sweating.

I’ve been dealt the same fate as fellow Greek George Papadopoulos, who received a full dose of Twitter rage by having the same name as the former Trump campaign adviser.

Could reckless drive-by-googling damage my career or dating life?

Bizarro Nick and I don’t often see each other, but when we did two months ago, I gently addressed our social media conundrum, evidently to no effect. In fairness, it’s his name, too, and I suppose my prior reluctance to engage in social media is to blame for my low-ranking Twitter handle.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t do anything to quell my digital anxiety. Social media is no longer merely nice to have for a working writer. It’s a crucial requirement. While one potential employer thankfully asked about the tweets, I am concerned that others might have tossed me aside because of mistaken identity.

I realize you may be disappointed with this version of Nick Lioudis. I apologize. Unlike my younger namesake, I’m more mature, pretty boring and like to keep my personal life personal.


The Other Nick Lioudis

Nick Lioudis is a multimedia editor and a writer based in Brooklyn.