Monthly Archives: August 2008

The Twit-Pire Strikes Back: Mad Men on Twitter

The Cast of Mad Men

The Cast of Mad Men

The frustration that often comes when I try to explain to my friends and family the usefulness of Twitter stops here. Actually, probably not, but please take a moment to contemplate just how powerful the more than 1,200 8,7000 followers of @Don_Draper can be. To recap, Early last week, feeds from certain characters from the AMC show Mad Men began to show up on Twitter and interact with other users – and of course, their numbers of follower’s sky-rocketed.

The updates on each feed are genius: perfectly tailored to each character in language and content and often talk about plot related activity. They give their followers a feeling that each plot twist is actually happening between each episode.

For example, last Friday @Don_Draper, all of whose updates are as ambiguous and guarded as his character is, put out an update saying “@Joan_Holloway is going to tell me who my new secretary will be” when we were looking forward to last Sunday’s new episode The New Girl, in Which Don gets an attractive new secretary.

For a list of characters on Twitter, check out Ben Kessler’s initial blog post here.

Monday Morning: Finally up-to-speed with the second second season (though waiting to watch my Tivo-ed recent episode until that night), I was pleasantly surprised to recieve a notification that @Betty_Draper was following me. We proceeded tweet about housewives and mothers embracing technology and asked if she’d checked out Blogher – a tech-savvy group of like-minded women, I promised her.

Later that day, I briefly reflected, with my co-worker @greerkarlis, how “nerdy” it was that we were so obsessively following these characters even though we knew (or believed at the time) that they weren’t the real actors themselves but rather someone hired by AMC.

That’s where we were wrong.

That night, Ben Kessler informed me that the feeds of Don Draper, Peggy Olson and Joan Holloway were suspended by Twitter. The mystery was on. Within a half hour, MG Siegler of Venture Beat had written a post about it and had contacted Twitter who responded within an hour that the Mad Men character feeds were, in fact, NOT written by people affiliated with the show or AMC and the network didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of someone not affiliated with the show, posing as these characters.

But as Siegler pointed out in his post, everyone who’s been following these characters KNOWS it’s not the actual actors updating them. We don’t follow because we’re starstruck. We follow because they spice up our feeds and more importantly, tide us over until Sunday night when there’s a new episode. In other words, it couldn’t be better for AMC. Not only is the individual or team behind the Mad Men Twitter activity putting out relevant content, they’re doing it in a space that so filled with facts, this bit of fiction was sure to attract a strong following.

Perhaps that’s why, after 24 hours of uproar from Twitterers, AMC allowed the Mad Men updates to continue. One of the smartest moves their marketing department could have made and, as the Reuter’s article says-, Don Draper would approve.

UPDATE 1: If you’re a visual learner, this post might be good for you.

UPDATE 2: Here’s a new site by the creators of the Mad Men feeds addressing the situation.

*Image courtesy of Vanity Fair.