Dear @MarkMcGowan. On behalf of the people of Western Australia, we apologise. After all — what did you ever do to deserve getting so much attention from so far away? Your only crime, Mr McGowan, was to be a social doppelgänger: with almost, but not quite, the same Twitter handle as @MarkMcGowanMP.
You have to feel for the not-so-lucky twitter peeps who share the same handles or names as politicians. Every four years or so, they get mistaken for someone else by any angry member of the public looking to vent their spleen. Early Twitter adopters fortunate enough to get @FirstnameLastname as their twitter handle, might not feel so #blessed if they share their name with a Member of Parliament. Take for instance @MarkMcGowan. He’s not the Leader of the Opposition; he’s a Glaswegian fellow who regularly gets tagged in twitter posts relating to @MarkMcGowanMP — even occasionally by the WA Labor party.
— WA Labor (@walabor) October 26, 2015
Last we checked, @MarkMcGowan had locked his Twitter profile so that only confirmed followers have access to his complete profile. It’s hardly surprising, since he’s been mistakenly tagged nearly 100 times since 2011.
Other Twitter doppelgängers include @LizAharvey — not the deputy Premier but the associate director of sales at a hotel in Chicago. There’s @SeanLEstrange (the Sydney personal trainer not the Minister for Small Business).
There’s @StephenDawson, the graphic designer in Canada, not Labor’s Upper House member @DawsoMLC.
There’s @MiaDavies, a politically motivated Londoner with plenty of protest pics in her timeline, not the Nationals’ deputy.
And there’s @TerryRedman. Unlike the Nationals’ @TerryRedmanMLA, she’s a female writer and editor in Montana. We are sure she’d be a big fan of the Pilbara, nonetheless.
— Pilbara RC (@PilbaraRC) November 29, 2016
Mistaken identity on Twitter happens all the time. Why, we did it ourselves last month when we meant to tag in @JohnQuigley2017 but mistakenly tweeted a photographer in Maine instead. Oops.
— Cannings Purple (@CanningsPurple) February 8, 2017
It can range from the funny — like when Donald Trump retweeted the wrong Ivanka instead of his daughter — to the absurd. One WA candidate went on the attack last year claiming Labor’s Paul Papalia was hiding from scrutiny, when, in fact, he was just trying to tweet to @PaulPapalia not @PapsMLA. The lesson is simple: ALWAYS check the Twitter handle, even if you think you know it well. And if the name appears in black in your final tweet rather than as a hyperlink, you know you have it wrong.