A year ago I did something pretty stupid. I was following the New York Film Critic Circle‘s Twitter page as it announced the winners of the 2011 NYFCC Awards. I noticed their Twitter name was @NYFCC2011, and I thought, well, that’s an unfortunate name, because in a year, they’re gonna have to change it.
I checked if they (or somebody else) had reserved @NYFCC2012, but to my surprise, it was still up for grabs. So I grabbed. I’m not sure why, really. I was kinda thinking “Better me, who, if asked by the NYFCC would gladly give it to them, than somebody with, I don’t know, other intentions.” But, like I said, it was pretty stupid to begin with.
Anyway, of course I forgot all about all that until this morning, when I started getting e-Mails saying “Hi there, NYFCC2012, so-and-so is now following you on Twitter.” And soon people in my timeline started writing about the 2012 awards being announced soon, and some linked to my, unauthorized account.
The NYFCC’s website listed @NYFCC as their official Twitter page, so I figured I’d use my fake account to retweet their posts announcing the winners, and I changed the avatar image to the NYFCC logo to get rid of that boring egg.
Winners were scheduled to be announced at 10 am EST, so when the time came, I sat in front of the computer, refreshing the NYFCC’s site and waiting for the official Tweets to come in.
About an hour later, word in the Twitterverse got around that the first award (Best First Film to “How to Survive a Plague“) was announced, and a few minutes later as much showed up on the website, but @NYFCC (and @NYFCC2011) remained silent.
With nothing to retweet, and a whole slew of new followers thinking mine was the official account, I started tweeting. I kept it short and formal, “Best First Film: David France (HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE),” nothing more, nothing less.
Replies, retweets, favorites and more followers ensued. So I kept announcing the winners as soon as I heard of them (mostly from this account). The official NYFCC website was updated with winners, eventually, but they took their time with it, and the official Twitter channel continued its radio silence throughout.
So don’t think I wasn’t tempted to mess with people (“Best Picture: THE ARTIST, again, we just love it that much!“), or use this new-found, undeserved attention to promote my own stuff. But I refrained. I’m just too much of a nice guy, I guess?
And besides, I did enjoy the experience. If anyone’s looking for someone who has nothing but time and doesn’t mind sitting in front of his computer all day to tweet out stuff, I’m game. (Academy? You know where to find me.)
So what now? I’ll gladly hand @NYFCC2012 over to its righteous owners – although of course now there’s no need for it anymore. (I just checked, and @NYFCC2013 is already taken, I’m not sure by whom.)
Sasha Stone is right, of course, the Critics Circle should just use @NYFCC from now on. I’ll gladly use the 2012 account to direct people to it as soon as I see any sign of life from the official account.
And one more thing. A few blog posts and news articles (like this one) are linking to @NYFCC2012 as “the NYFCC’s Twitter feed” or “the official Twitter page.” It was never my intention to fool or mislead anybody, but it’s interesting and a bit alarming to see how fast people have just accepted my feed being authentic, without the NYFCC (or Twitter) ever declaring it so.
I’m sure if somebody else had registered the account before I did and posted made-up awards announcements or spam it wouldn’t have taken long to discredit it and people would have quickly been directed to a trust-worthy feed. But still, if I can successfully pass as the New York Film Critics Circle, I don’t want to know what more crooked individuals are capable of.