Oops! Trolling The Wrong Twitter Handle
March 19, 2013
Radio's heritage learning conference, The Conclave, was just the latest Twitter handle to experience lots of people talking about them socially– but strangely, it was the wrong Conclave! The tweeting came from a group of fired up Catholics talking up their Conclave – the one involved in selecting the next Pope - using the radio organization's "@Conclave" Twitter handle:
This chatter was going on for weeks, when it somehow dawned on someone that the "@Conclave" Twitter handle had nothing to do with their Conclave:
The good news is that the radio Conclave saw what was going on, got a kick out of it, and reached out to their "new Catholic friends" to confirm they were actually a radio conference and organization.
So as these conclavin' Catholics moved on and starting using #Conclave to communicate with their tribe, I thought this story could serve as a simple reminder of how social media assumptions can embarrass anyone and at any time.
This issue of using the wrong Twitter handle happens all the time.
Before the November election last year, Republican Richard Mourdock trolled an innocent guy on Twitter during the Indiana U.S. Senate campaign. Mourdock and his team simply assumed their opponent, Joe Donnelly, used the Twitter handle "@JoeDonnelly" and not only started "tweet-slapping" him, Mourdock's supporters joined in, too.
Had they done a little due diligence and taken 60 seconds to check things out, they would have learned that "@JoeDonnelly" is just a guy with seemingly no political ambition and 19 followers.
But instead, the Mourdock campaign ended up committing an unforced political error that eroded the credibility of their campaign.
Using the wrong Twitter handle (especially from high visibility brands, celebrities, and politicians) can chip away at your believability in the social space.
Even when we're tweeting personally, mistakes happen. And they can lead to the intended receiver never seeing the message.
After Rachel Nichols announced she was leaving ESPN for CNN/Turner, many of her colleagues and fans sent her good will tweets. But she never saw them. That's because Rachel's Twitter handle is hard to understand. She uses two underscores in her handle when it looks like one, so well-wishers tweeted the wrong Rachel Nichols all day long.
And beyond flubbing other people's Twitter handles, sometimes we even forget our own identities. Meta World Peace (the NBA player formerly known as Ron Artest) recently gave a shout-out to his own Twitter account – incorrectly.
It's not the end of the world when people or brands make these mistakes, but it can cause embarrassment.
Perhaps the misconception is that everyone uses their own name on Twitter.
But only one person can "own" a name. So take the time to look in Twitter's search box for the real person you're tweeting.
For example – as I collect the Twitter handles of the radio pros speaking on my panel at The Worldwide Radio Summit 2013 in May, I start by typing in their names in Twitter's search box like this:
To the left of the search will be options to check out and select from. This one was easy – I know Dan Mason, I saw his mug and then clicked the picture to determine his Twitter handle:
As you see, Twitter directed me to @djdan1033 which is different than his name. His profile easily tells me it's him - but it's not always this clear.
Many times people or places just don't show up using Twitter's search.
When this happens, you can Google (or Bing, Yahoo,) a person's name with the word Twitter following it - or check their website. If any of that doesn't work, odds are there's no handle to use because they don't have an account.
Using incorrect Twitter handles can happen to the best of us. But the embarrassment can usually be prevented. Do a little search next time you're not sure about someone's social identity to be sure you get it right.
In the end, radio's Conclave didn't mind the extra chatter that showed up in their Twitter "@" box for a few weeks. After all, they said, a little prayer could do the organization some good.
The radio Conclave agenda is coming together. And I'm please to tell you that for the fourth consecutive year, Jacobs Media will be kicking off the agenda with "Summer School" on Wednesday, July 17th. The Conclave is a great event and serves an important industry purpose. And I promise there will be no white smoke.
Tweet me anytime, @lorilewis
Thanks to Conclave's Bob Shannon and Pamela Muldoon for bringing this story to our attention.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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