Canada Markets closed

The @RussianMeteor War Against Twitter Parody Accounts Is Futile

Rebecca Greenfield

Taking a bold stand against the bane of Internet jokes that are bad Twitter parody accounts, writer and comedian Jake Fogelnest has registered the account @RussiaMeteor just so that no aspiring (but not actually) funny person would take the handle to parody today's cosmic events in Russia.

Hello, this is @jakefogelnest. As a public service, I have registered this Twitter account to prevent another parody account.

— Russia Meteor (@RussiaMeteor) February 15, 2013

An anonymous Twitter user — possibly also Fogelstein, given that both use the same photo and call the move a "public service" — created @Russia_Meteor with a similar single PSA tweet: "Don't make fucking parody Twitter accounts of current events. Stop. Consider this a public service." The move has the anti-parody account crowd cheering, with "hero" not an uncommon invocation. One blogger called it "god's work." With an oversaturation of obvious jokes coming from get-followers-quick users who jump on pretty much every news story centered around an object and/or animal without a human voice, an actual comedian squatting on a news handle is, indeed, an heroic gesture. But it's also futile. 

RELATED: Twitter's Hands-Off Approach to Tweeted Terrorism

Despite Fogelstein's best efforts of, a Twitter search pulls up a handful of other "funny" people who had the brilliant idea to create yet another account for an inanimate object related to a big event:

RELATED: Lyme Disease, Bubonic Plague, and Chris Rock's Hat

Minus that promoted Xerox account, seven people still attempted the parody account this morning. It's not working, and it certainly never will — actual comedians have better things to do. Of course, more people might try Fogelstein's little trick the next time a news event prompts the creation of these bad handles. But for every @RussianMeteor there are an infinite amount of plays on that handle. (Thanks, numbers!) Just look at the 15 different Marco Rubio water-bottle accounts that Buzzfeed found after his instantly infamous sip during his State of the Union rebuttal: 

RELATED: What Everyone Can Learn From the BBC's New Social Media Guide

A lot of people on Twitter have found parody accounts played-out, so to speak, for a while now. Gizmodo thinks the big winter storm "Nemo" killed them. But, really, users have been complaining about these things since last year. Instead of launching a hopeless shame and/or PSA campaign against them, maybe the complainers should take a lesson from their own playbook: Twitter is what you make it. Often, when curmudgeons complain about "how terrible Twitter has become," the platform's defenders argue "it's not Twitter, it's you." That applies here as well. If you don't like Twitter parody accounts, don't pay attention to Twitter parody accounts. That way, and only that way, can we have a real answer to a sadly necessary humor question of our digital times: If a Twitter parody account tweets and nobody is there to see it, does it really exist?