The Twitter phenomenon is something that has profoundly impacted the way people digest and view sports today. For years, NBA free agency was a blip on the radar, a series of events that you read about in the newspaper or online and didn’t lend too much credit too.
But since Twitter began, “sources” and “people close to” certain superstars have become some of the most important people in the sports world. One writer who has made a big name for himself breaking trades, hirings, firings and draft picks on Twitter is Yahoo! Sports writer Adrian Wojnarowski. When someone is as good at breaking news as Woj is (#WOJBOMB), there are bound to be some copycats making fake accounts trying to “break” false rumors.
Usually, 99% of these get completely ignored. But one account was able to fool plenty of basketball writers with a series of realistic yet totally made up breaking news stories. The now-suspended @WojoYahooNBA account was able to pull a fast one on multiple NBA reporters looking to break news. The real Woj (@WojYahooNBA, if you aren’t following go do it immediately) had nothing to do with the stories that were going up, but sometimes people just don’t care to completely check a source.
So who was behind the whole thing? According to SB Nation, just a couple of bored teenagers from Florida.
What goes into trying to make an effective fake Woj tweet? Did you try to emulate his style, or keep the news plausible, etc? The Deng one was fairly realistic and did fool some people who were probably pretty embarrassed about it. I assume that was the idea all along?
Just try to keep it as realistic as possible, make sure you include some hashtags, too. I looked at a few of his tweets just to get a feel for who was being mentioned quite a bit, and then we went forward with that and tweeted about Deng, [Lance] Stephenson, Larry Drew, etc. We did want the tweets to blow up all over Twitter, and people fell for it. It was meant to be funny, and it didn’t look like many fans took it too hard. We got a few RT’s from some established NBA writers, and we didn’t mean for it to get that out of hand because I know they don’t have time for those fake tweets.
Was this fun? Kind of a basic question, I know, but I honestly have a hard time even imagining what it’s like to troll so many people simultaneously, and when I think about it I mostly feel weird.
It was ridiculously fun. We couldn’t stop laughing when the tweets started getting so many RT’s. It got to the point where I couldn’t open my Twitter app. I guess it just goes to show you how gullible some people are. It’s absolutely crazy. We noticed NBA accounts were tweeting that Stephenson was signing with the Bulls, which was obviously one of our fake tweets. RealGM had some forum members that thought the Deng signing was real. [Yahoo! Sports’] Marc Spears and [NBA.com’s] Sekou Smith RT’ed us as well and that’s when things really went crazy. I can definitely see why people would get annoyed, but this was honestly one of the funniest things I’ve done on Twitter.
I mean, sure I guess. I’ll never understand why some people feel the need to draw attention to themselves this way, but watching some of the reactions these fake tweets caused was pretty great.