How do you spot a fake celebrity on Twitter? Ask these questions and you might discover your favorite English actress is a bald 50ish guy in Des Moines!
1. How many followers does the person have? This is an initial check, but not a very good one. Thousands of people follow @joshwhedon and @josswhedon, which are obvious fake accounts for Dr. Horrible, Buffy, and Dollhouse director/producer Joss Whedon. (These accounts haven't be removed, but they also haven't been updated since March.)
2. Who are they following? This is also not a perfect check, but if they are following spammers and lots of fan Tweeple, or are not following people they work with (actors on their show, fellow band members, producers, etc.), it may be a fake account.
3. What do they say? Since many celebrities use Twitter to promote their latest projects or engage with their fans, if the "celebrity" never mentions his or her current work, it may be a fake account.
- Is the celebrity discussing topics in which he or she is supposed to be interested? The fake (and deleted) account @iamgeddy, which was supposed to be RUSH bassist/singer Geddy Lee made vague mentions of their past tour, but never talked about wine or baseball, two subjects he is well known to enjoy.
- To whom are they replying? The fake (and deleted) accounts @mikeweatherly and @pauleyperrette (actors on the show NCIS) were replying to one particular fan, recommending people follow this fan, and talking about phoning this fan. Could it have been true? It's possible, but not in this case. (See the fan site www.mikeweatherly.com for more details.) Pauley Perrette recorded a short video at the end of May stating clearly she is not and will not be on Twitter or any social networking site, except for this MySpace page.
4. Is there a link to the Twitter page on the celebrity's official website? This would be proof the Twitter account is real, but it doesn't mean the celebrity actually Tweets. He or she could have an assistant helping them.
5. What do other fans say? Fans have been led astray (see item #1), but if several fan websites agree that the celebrity's Twitter account is real, then it probably is. Don't rely on just one website, because that fan may be the one who set up the fake account!
So, who really are celebrity Tweeters? Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Oprah, and Ellen Degeneres are some of the bigger names that have Twitter accounts.
I choose to follow a group I call "One Degree of Joss Whedon" and members of the Stargate franchise. It's been interesting seeing the exchanges between the various actors, writers, and producers. See my full follow list at twitter.com/TotemMedia.