When Colin Barnett joined Twitter in November 2014 (@ColinBarnett) he was immediately denounced by the OTHER Colin Barnett, or @PremierofWA, as a fake. In fact, it is the other way around. @PremierofWA has been a parody (though not the only one) operating since February 2010.
— Colin Barnett (@ColinBarnett) November 17, 2014
I will not respond to claims of a Twitter ‘parody’ based on this account. They are the lowest form of wit.
— Colin Barnett (@PremierofWA) November 17, 2014
But who is behind the Twitter account described as a “leading statesman and gin consumer dragging WA towards 1974?”
Well, one Twitter stalking tool suggests the account is linked to another sitting member of Parliament, which is … interesting. How linked? Well, you put in the Twitter handle of the sitting member and out pops a tweet from @PremierofWA.
While it could all be a mistake, or a case of careless email usage by a Labor party staffer, it might not be.
We won’t say who the sitting member is or how we found the connection, but that’s the risk with social media — if you do put something up that you might later regret, the internet never forgets.
Parody accounts can be one of the best things about Twitter. They can be funny, incisive and can cut self-importance down to size.
They can also be painful. The sudden fame of @BPGlobalPR, created in the wake of the Gulf oil spill, shows a company’s media missteps can be magnified through parody. For high profile leaders, though, there’s another risk: mistaken identity.
@PremierofWA has been @-ed by many people in error, including protesters, journalists, the Department of Parks and Wildlife (and even us).
So if you are worried about being impersonated (and who isn’t) Twitter can help you ‘verify’ your identity.
That’s something the real Premier has done with a blue and white verification tick, a process that has become easier in recent months.