As with all transformative technology, Twitter has created and nurtured many unexpected offspring. While everyone uses Twitter in different ways, for me, one of the most creative, enjoyable and informative types of feed is the fake celebrity persona.
I’m not talking here about people who pretend, usually with malicious intent, to be a well-known person or company, but rather the setting up of transparently fake accounts which parody the celebrity in a suitably gentle, lighthearted way.
There are many of these feeds out there: The Queen has one that has been up and running for years, giving followers a glimpse into what Her Majesty thinks about current affairs (It’s realistic enough to be credible; outrageous enough to be funny). Feeds also exist for fictional television characters: PR guru Siobhan Sharp , the loathsome but mesmeric star of the BBC’s ‘Twenty Twelve’ comedy series, tweets regularly using her outrageous ‘PR speak’.
But, for me, one of these feeds has transcended its entertainment value – it’s become a trusted news source.
The feed in question is that of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Spanish speaking alter ego, @elbloombito. Mayor Bloomberg is famously awkward in his delivery of the Spanish segment of his press conferences and public announcements. During Hurricane Sandy there were many such announcements and I became hooked on ‘Miguel Bloombito’s’ take on the news in his unique form of Spanglish.
Not only were the tweets funny (at least to New York residents with a decent grasp of Spanish) but they were also quite accurate. And when they weren’t, they tended to make a wider political point.
I now go to Miguel Blombito for my travel advice. I was delighted to read last week that my Subway line of choice has reopened thanks to @elbloombito’s magically informative tweet: “Felicidades! El LL train esta que backo en servico! La vida Lhota!” (Lhota refers to the head of New York’s public transport body, Joseph Lhota).
“Comedy” feeds aren’t always funny – humour is a personal thing – but I think the influence of these feeds should serve as a reminder that comedy communicates more than just the joke itself. I’m not saying that companies should set up comedy feeds, but rather that they should think about how they might use humour to communicate more broadly – from advertising (where comedy is prevalent) to public speaking and new channels, like Twitter.
Right now, I’m vamoosing to ver el postings de Bloombito, to see what’s up.