An odd trend of the past couple months is that of gimmick accounts breaking character.
If you’ve witnessed any of these themed accounts suddenly dive into political declarations, you know what I’m talking about.
Quite frankly, it’s some of the worst marketing I’ve seen on Twitter by a long shot. That might seem like a weird take, but bear with me.
See, when you run a gimmick account, but decide to bait-and-switch your followers by posting about unrelated real-world issues, you’re saying that your personal endgames are more important to you than providing value for your fanbase. It’s fundamentally no different from companies like EA including highly unpopular lootbox features in their games.
But it’s more pathetic than that, even. Imagine running a successful gimmick account, but being so useless at marketing that none of that traffic makes it to your personal account and nobody cares who you are. Your only claim to fame is a Twitter account that posts memes or funny pictures or anime girls dancing on Thursday to Hall & Oates. And while that’s actually valuable to people, it’s a problem for you.
Fuck the cops, especially those stationed in MN. George Floyd did not deserve dying for a faulty check. Ahmaud Arbery did not deserve to get hunted down by racists. #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/xa4trJ7Ief— Out Of Touch Thursdays (@ootthursday) May 28, 2020
Now imagine having some commentary to make on current events. If you use your personal account, it won’t reach anyone. It’s your gimmick account that has all the followers. Why not use that? Sure, it alienates your followerbase, but that’s not as important to you as making sure the most milquetoast political takes imaginable reach as many people who didn’t ask for it as possible.
Then imagine doing all that: Alienating your followerbase to expose yourself as the exact kind of toxic person ruining Twitter for everyone, and not even making making money off of it.
That is to say, these gimmick accounts make themselves into social media laughingstocks and alienate fanbases only for social media rewards. Likes and retweets. The people running these accounts let themselves fall into a trap.
We talked about this before. Social media success is based on providing value. When a user sees an account that regularly posts cool stuff, that’s value provided. It’s one more cool thing to see on their timeline.
But here’s the kicker: No doubt some of those people follow those gimmick accounts specifically to get away from politics and current events.
And when those accounts suddenly chime in on whatever real-world hot-button topic is going on, that’s value removed. Shame people for unfollowing these accounts all day and night, but they have a right to remove things they don’t want to see from their feed.
Comments on how “important” it is to address this issue or that or how “entertainment shouldn’t be neutral” is a deflection, pure and simple. The real issue is that people are desperate to look good on Twitter, but personally don’t have an audience. So they usurp the audience built around something entirely different, just to make a statement nobody in that audience asked them to make.
We all get how inauthentic it is when Brand Twitter makes political statements. What we need to understand is it’s just as inauthentic when gimmick accounts do it. And about twice as dumb. Because at least Brand Twitter is still making money. Gimmick accounts, on the other hand, only profit in the form of likes and retweets.
It’s just as inauthentic, twice as dumb, and three times as pathetic. It’s a good case study on how to be awful at marketing and, in turn, awful at influencing people.