Twitter vigilantes hijack the Daily Mail

In the wake of Mike Butcher’s expropriation of culture minister Andy Burnham‘s identity on Twitter, I’ve come across news of another hijacking. 

Last weekend, the Mail On Sunday attacked the phenomenon of celebs using Twitter. In response, someone has created a fake dailymail_UK username on the site. The result has been a small avalanche of tweets directed at Britain’s finest mid-market tabloid.

Some of them appear to be mildly satirical:

@lfeatherstone <- is yet another politician wasting YOUR money on twitter. BRING BACK HANGING! 

Tomorrow’s front page “COULD CURRY GIVE YOU CANCER?” Also inside: Free Chicken Tikka for EVERY reader.

@adamamyl We don’t hate the gays. They just make us feel… a bit queer. Except the lesbians. They’re great on the front page. Fit ones only 

Elsewhere, the blogger known as Seldom Seen Kid posits three potential reasons for the Mail‘s apparent hostility to t’interweb (and Twitter). 

1) Their editorial guidelines ask their journalists to find stories that are poking fun at, or finding something wrong with, the new generation of communication devices ie, not newspapers, as sales slowly decline. . .

2) The audience that the DM are trying to reach are uncomfortable with new technology, so instead of encouraging them to embrace it, they find that it is easier to let their audience believe that it is detrimental to our society.

3) The Daily Mail are very good at SEO (search engine optimisation) and the quick hits that they will get from the links on blogs and other websites will help with their Google page ranking

At Digital Lifestyles, Simon Perry has a further suggested explanation:

The real reason that the Daily Mail want to run down Twitter is that a large proportion of their Web site and perhaps paper (haven’t seen it for a long time so can’t comment) is based on what the celebrities are up to.

If Twitter is used by ‘celebs,’ the public will be able to follow them directly. Without the papers. Or dis-intermediation as it used to be called way back in the Web 1.0 days.

No doubt about it: Twitter’s supporters are strategically insightful. But potentially they’re guilty of over-elaboration.

Surely the Mail‘s long-established habit of sneering at the web simply represents a collective effort by the its journalists to hit one of Mr Dacre’s best-known sweet spots? If there’s more to it that, I’d be intrigued to know. . .

PS: At the moment, dailymail_UK has 31 followers. Interestingly, a majority of them appear to be Guardian journalists.

PPS: It looks as if Twitter have caught up with Mr Butcher’s impersonation of Mr Burnham. More’s the pity.

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