For most of us, being impersonated isn’t that big a risk. Well, outside of identity theft, but someone in Eastern Europe trying to buy a bunch of gaudy jewelry online using my credit card doesn’t really seem like impersonation. Also, the joke’s on you, Miroslav, because my credit limit’s like $400. So obviously enjoy not getting those anklets.
At any rate, yeah: there’s no one out there authoring similarly undisciplined but not-actually-by-me blog posts under my byline. At one point, I think someone impersonated Joel Hunt and/or Rog in the CSTB comments section (I might also be imagining this), but that’s about it. Not so for Shaquille O’Neal, the ball bearing-eyed giant currently winding down the pre-law enforcement portion of his life in Phoenix. A fake Shaq was maintaining a fraudulent Twitter account. The New York Times‘ Howard Beck details what happened next.
The faux Shaq account was discovered last week by Sports Media Challenge, a consulting firm that works with O™Neal. Kathleen Hessert, the firm™s owner, was initially thrilled. She had been pushing O™Neal to Twitter with fans. She found the oddball references to the Pythagorean theorem and the Big Cactus to be very Shaq-like. œIt was a very good impersonation, Hessert said.
A closer inspection revealed the forgery. The ersatz O™Neal, for example, claimed to be sending tweets from the bench during a game ” a virtual impossibility.
That was the point, said the man who created the account. Ward Andrews, the 33-year-old Suns fan behind ShaquilleONeal, said he included the occasional outlandish claim as a tip-off. œAll the longtime followers, over 500 followers, they know it™s a joke, said Andrews, who owns a Phoenix design and marketing agency. œI really didn™t have any intent to pull people™s leg. It was just to entertain.
In response to Hessert™s complaint, Twitter pulled the plug on ShaquilleONeal this week…Hessert said she was just trying to protect the O’Neal brand.
This brand? This one? Anyway, having Shaq fire up his own Twitter feed — it’s here — was probably a pretty sharp marketing idea, although it’s perhaps inevitable that his “tweets” (ugh – ed.) are a good deal less interesting than the fake ones. In the same fringe-y way in which so many Twitter feeds are interesting, though, Shaq’s updates work as a peek inside the mind of someone who really doesn’t think about much.
Yes, Twitter is kind of designed to make everyone seem like that, but Shaq’s da-da recitation of his lunchtime sandwich orders manages — like everyone else’s — to be both transcendently dull and weirdly hypnotic. With Shaq, though, it’s in part because of his typos and tendencies to spill over the Twitter character count. This update, which is a spillover from a previous one, is probably my favorite. As the tail-end of a goofy, Shaq-ian punchline, it’s not much. By itself: still kind of the same, but genius if you squint hard enough. Thanks to Sam Frank and Jim Laakso for finding this.