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Is she, or isn't she?

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Janet, I mean.

I'm talking about the online persona widely thought to be, perhaps be, have been, or have never been a representative or employee of Exxon Mobil.

Last week, those following events in the Twittersphere (is "-sphere" the only suffix we can think of for these little environments?) were following what appeared to be another story of the Web 2.0 coming out of a blue chip, Old Business dinosaur. In this case, Exxon Mobil, which was taking to Twitter in the form of "Janet at ExxonMobil," from Irving, Texas.

"This is something very new for us and we're trying to make for a pleasant experience," Janet wrote in response to a fellow Twitter user's welcome.

It sounded like a great story: Big, scary energy company lightens up, engages customers, critics and the world at the same time using a breakout Web 2.0 technology.

Er -- not so fast. Janet's not actually with Exxon. Or at least, isn't an official representative of the company. In fact, Exxon Mobil's own PR people weren't aware of her until the Houston Chronicle (or other bloggers -- it's unclear) contacted them to ask about her.

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