In the midst of all this budget deficit business, this message popped into the Twitter search for ‘deficit’:
“Interesting,” I thought. I hadn’t seen anything about the governor using the short-message service. You, the sharp News Cut reader, need no hint about the significance of 2012. I sort of dismissed the number; we all remember what it was like to have firstname.lastname@example.org accounts, right?
Then I read this Twitterer’s bio:
It had to be a fake. Then things… disappeared.
Shortly after receiving an e-mail from Twitter telling me that TimPawlenty2012 was now following me, the account ceased to be. Grab your tinfoil hat.
If this was someone purporting to be Tim Pawlenty, it’s highly unlikely that Twitter closed down the account. Support requests are notoriously slow, and fake Twitter personalities exist for many high-profile people. If you’re creating a fake Tim Pawlenty, you’re likely doing it for the exposure, not to cultivate two dozen followers and close up shop.
The messages are a typical slice of what you might expect out of a communications lackey — success stories, challenge-tackling and politically conscious messages of bipartisanship. If this someone really was Pawlenty, and Pawlenty really was a “potential presidential candidate,” it would make sense to test drive a few Web 2.0 tools before ramping up a campaign, especially when the political posturing for potential President 45 has already begun.
Click on the image below to see the full feed, minus one status.
While we can probably assume the account wasn’t actually being staffed by Tim Pawlenty himself, if it was someone within the governor’s office or political circle, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that this person would have inside knowledge of Pawlenty’s political aspirations.
Of course, none of this is really new, but it is news if it’s straight from the horse’s Twitter.
What do you think, Twitter users? Real or fake?
I’m waiting on a call back from Pawlenty’s communications people.
5:07 p.m.: Pawlenty Communications Director Brian McClung responds via email.
No. Our office is not associated with any such Twitter account.
8:30 p.m.: Twitter Pawlenty wasn’t disappeared after all. The account has been moved to twitter.com/TimPawlentyMN. The question remains. Who’s office is associated with the Twitter account?
I’m waiting on a message back from TimPawlentyMN.
The person behind the account says he/she is “just someone from Minnesota giving updates on behalf of Tim Pawlenty.” Mystery solved then, I guess. At least it was a fun distraction from the budget news.