The Power of Parody Twitter Accounts

By Sida Li Late last month, an Egyptian Cobra went missing from the Reptile House at the Bronx Zoo. In the ensuing media frenzy, someone created a Twitter account for the cobra that now has over 240,000 followers. There are many parody Twitter accounts out there that pose as celebrities, businesses, and fictional characters. According to Twitter, “users are allowed to create parody, commentary, or fan accounts (including role-playing)” as long as there is no “clear intent to deceive or confuse.” Impersonating another entity can lead to suspension.

These parody accounts can be beneficial or harmful to the entities that they pretend to be depending on the situation. Here are some of my favorite parody accounts, categorized by how helpful or harmful they are to the celebrities, businesses, and fictional characters that they pretend to be:

The Bronx Zoo Cobra: Very helpful. This account amplified the media buzz surrounding the cobra’s escape and encouraged more people to visit the Bronx Zoo. Of note, the Bronx Zoo’s real Twitter account has tweeted at the parody account.

Darth Vader, Batman, Lord Voldemort, and other fictional characters: Helpful. These accounts might not be squeaky clean when it comes to political correctness, but they’re funny and don’t do anything too crazy. In fact, these accounts help support the characters they parody by referencing current events (like @darthvader mentioning the Superbowl mini Darth Vader Volkswagen commercial).

Fake Rahm Emanuel and other politicians, CEOs, and celebrities: Harmful. These individuals are easy targets due to their high public profile. Accounts in this category don’t usually portray those they parody in a good light. Lately there has been a crackdown on parody Twitter accounts which impersonate real individuals. Fake accounts for Stephen Colbert, Michael Bay, and Megan Fox are just some of the ones that have been reset or suspended.

BP Global PR: I think we can all guess which category this one falls under.

What parody Twitter accounts to you follow? Share your thoughts in the comments!