Dancing With The Stars Tweet Fiasco. Is This Seven’s New Social Media Strategy?
Leslie Nassar of social media monitoring service TweeVee TV has revealed that some of the tweets seen on the first episode of Dancing With the Stars episode last Sunday came from suspicious accounts. Is this Channel Sevens new social media strategy?
The SMH reports:
He was watching the broadcast at home when he detected something odd about the tweets displayed at the bottom of the screen. “I noticed that some of the ones selected were from Twitter accounts that were very, very new – no followers, very few tweets,” said Mr Nassar, who operates the social media monitoring service TweeVee TV.
The tweets were all enthusiastic about the Channel Seven show. “Nathan bowls a maiden over,” guffawed @FrankStreet11, who had earlier tweeted: “DWTS begins tonight … can’t wait!” Another new user, @Tamo-Mamo, could barely contain her excitement at seeing the contestant Dan Ewing perform. “Dan is the MAN!”
Earlier she tweeted: “Ronan [Keating] on #dwts … can’t wait,” and was complimentary about Brynne Edelsten’s dress: “Where can I buy Brynne’s frock?”
A quick scan of tweets not chosen for display revealed that many were negative. “That made me dig a little deeper,” said Mr Nassar. “I discovered that some of those Twitter users were created within an hour of each other – between 2.36pm and 3.32pm – on Sunday afternoon.”
Five out of 17 tweets broadcast came from “unusual Twitter profiles”, Mr Nassar said. The Sun-Herald sent messages to all of them – @bri-anna55, @FrankStreet11, @Gabbzb09, @Tamo-Mamo and @octterfly. As of last night none had replied. And as of yesterday afternoon, the accounts have been inactive since the broadcast – apart from a single one-word tweet about the weather sent from @Gabbzb09 on Friday, just before midday..
“I don’t know what happened … whether there was ‘sock puppetry’ in play or not,” said Mr Nassar, who tweeted about the suspicious activity during the show. “A rep from Seven followed [my Twitter stream] @TweeVeeTV pretty quickly after the first observation, though.”
James Griffin, a partner at social media consultant SR7, said all the evidence showed the accounts were bogus. All the tweets contained a hashtag, a Twitter device making it easier for people to view related comments. “It’s extremely uncommon for the first tweet of a user to contain a hashtag,” Mr Griffin said.
It was also unusual, he said, for a user to “go to the effort to sign up, tweet three comments and abandon the account”.
When The Sun-Herald approached Channel Seven for comment on Friday morning, a publicist for Dancing with the Stars declined to address questions about the authenticity of the accounts, saying: “Yahoo!7 and the production team selected a range of tweets with the #dwts hashtag based on what was trending and put them to air as is standard industry practice.”
She added: “As everyone knows, it’s the nature of Twitter that there are any number of accounts used by any number of people.”
But Mr Nassar is sceptical – and he should know a thing or two about phoney Twitter accounts. In 2009 he was unmasked as the man behind the popular identity Fake Stephen Conroy, a parody account inspired by the federal Communications Minister of the same name. Mr Nassar said he had been sacked by his employer Telstra but reinstated almost immediately.
Social media tip from me if you are going to set up fake fan accounts, set them up a few weeks in advance and chat about a few other topics as well. Popular topics on twitter are the weather, what you are eating/cooking for dinner, or just tweeting about yourself. Then when you have lulled your followers into a catatonic state from boredom, zing them with a few zippy Dancing With The Stars tweets, and they will probably be grateful for the change of topic.
In other Dancing With The Stars news, Brynne Edelsten said she felt like quitting the show last week after Josh Horner and Sonia Kruger’s comments. Also Josh said he is not going to change his judging style.