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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.

TweeVeeTV tweets can be followed here.

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.

10 comments

1 SaintsDeano { 05.15.11 at 10:29 am }

That was pretty naive of Channel 7 to think they could setup fake twitter accounts and get away with it. Good investigative work.

2 smauge { 05.15.11 at 12:54 pm }

Why does the TweeVee link have a line though it?

3 brain dead dave { 05.15.11 at 2:32 pm }

Dancing With The Stars is Manu-factured.

I don’t know the answer to that one btw smauge , but when I went to that link, I got a 404 error message.

4 tee_gee71 { 05.15.11 at 7:05 pm }

It seems that Ch7 is embracing the “it’s on Twitter” as a form of validation for their programs, much like when fact checking, someone would say “it’s on the internet”; with the arguement “it’s on the internet – therefore it must be true”.

Must like the latest promo for “No Ordinary Family” say “It’s one of the hottest things on Twitter” – shame that most of the traffic in the past week is how the show has been cancelled in the US.

5 smauge { 05.15.11 at 7:30 pm }

Oh hubby will be spewing! He’s been enjoying that show.

6 Reality Raver { 05.15.11 at 7:41 pm }

Yes Leslie Nassar did some great research there.

7 Shelsta78 { 05.15.11 at 9:20 pm }

This is so typical of large corporates – they don’t bother investing in a SM strategy because the execs don’t see the value – they think it’s a fad or something. Why set up fake accounts when you can use the so called ‘stars’ to generate the hype they’re after – like @mattscravat etc. and haven’t they realised by now that people paying out the show is actually as valuable as good comments on twitter?

8 john schliff { 06.19.11 at 6:55 pm }

MR mc of dwts please have a shave ,grubby!!!

9 john schliff { 06.19.11 at 6:59 pm }

MR mc of dets ,please have a shave , grubby!!!

10 Twitter and TV: Q&A and other shows « gelp { 08.15.11 at 9:42 pm }

[…] Australian shows have attempted to use onscreen tweets with less success (My Kitchen Rules, Dancing with the Stars, Can of Worms). One critical difference between these shows and Q&A is that they are all taped […]