Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Fictional followers on Twitter
So I've been on Twitter for about two weeks now, and I only use it sporadically. It's best utilized by people who like to text, and that really isn't me. The company has disabled the TRACK function, which is too bad. During an ongoing news story, you can find out things that are going on in real time by typing TRACK Mumbai or TRACK Gaza or even TRACK Oakland during the demonstrations and riots from last week. Of course, you have to sift through a lot of stuff if you do this.
So for right now, I get to find out what's going on with Splotchy and CDP and a few other folks when they decide to put something up on Twitter, but like me, these are not people addicted to texting, which I'm convinced is actually a good thing.
Anyone can ask to follow anyone they want, though the person being followed has the right to block the follower if they so choose. Last week, I read news about the TV show Mad Men, one of the few shows I watch regularly. The third season will begin airing this summer, but AMC has still not come to terms with the show's creator Matt Weiner. I posted a tweet about this, and apparently someone was watching at just the right time. While you cannot TRACK, you can read EVERYONE, which gives you the last fifteen tweets or so from the entire system. Because I wrote about Mad Men once on Twitter, someone named bettydraper from Ossining, NY in 1962 started following my posts there. I glanced over her stuff, and it was clear it was someone writing in the character of Betty, the blond pictured on the right. This is either an obsessed fan or someone being paid to do this by the show's creators as a marketing tool, and I expect it's the latter because of how well the messages stay true to Betty's character on the show. I decided to block bettydraper. A few days later, I am being followed by peggyolson, the auburned haired woman on the left. Again, it's someone writing in character, typing the things Peggy Olson, up and coming copywriter, would type in 1962, but magically connected to the 21st Century technology in 2009.
I haven't decided exactly if I find this clever or creepy, but it's an interesting marketing ploy. Since I asked a Grace Kelly lookalike to stop following me, I'm obviously leaning towards creepy. I hope whoever is typing in tweets as bettydraper and peggyolson are getting paid for their work, because whether it's 1962 or 2009, every dollar counts.