In a previous post, I relayed the story of a prominent CEO client of mine whose name was unceremoniously commandeered on today’s popular microblogging platform. (Is there any other?)
I was asked by my client to try to put the kibash on the rogue Twitter handle. I appealed directly to two of Twitter’s three co-founders and…they responded(!) Within 30 minutes, the account was suspended. (I guess if you control the switcher, you own the channel.)
Since that time (and prompted by a lawsuit from St. Louis Cards manager Tony LaRussa), Twitter’s powers-that-be instituted a system wherein the most noteworthy Twitterers are anointed with a “Verified Account,” which (somewhat circuitously) brings me to the point of today’s post.
Did you see that PaidContent:UK story about the London-based web designer Moonfruit‘s efforts to game the Twitter trending list? This is the list on Twitter’s home page of the most popular topics of the day as measured by the number of tweets.
Moonfruit enticed its followers (and their followers and their followers) to insert the hastag (#) Moonfruit to be eligible to win one of ten free Macbooks. The Twitter promotion proved so popular that #Moonfruit usurped #MichaelJackson and #Iran on Twitter’s Trending Topics list. It was akin to Skittles transforming its website into a Twitter stream.
Yet, suddenly, mysteriously and without warning #Moonfruit disappeared from the list. Apparently the standards & practices department at Twitter (yeah right!) decided that it’s not nice to fool Mother Twitter. The Moonfruit blog took issue with a post titled: “Twitter censors Moonfruit? What does it mean for the future of Twitocracy?” Moonfruit’s Wendy Tan wrote:
“So if Twitter had come to us and said, ‘guys, enough is enough’, then we would have worked with them to limit the campaign, or complied with whatever they were demanding. However, if they have pulled the trending without explanation or communication, this sets rather a different tone.”
Hey look. It’s their sandbox, so they can decide who plays in it, right? Anyway, getting de-trended on Twitter is probably better than getting de-friended on Facebook. The Moonfruit promo gets another 15 minutes.