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Screengrab via Yuri Victor

Man asks rest of internet to tweet as him while he’s on vacation

What could go wrong?


Miles Klee

Internet Culture

Posted on Sep 2, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 2:48 am CDT

In an age when posting the wrong thing on social media routinely gets people fired, dissolves marriages, or just incites an angry mob, you can never be too careful about your internet presence.

Or can you?

Yes, that’s Yuri Victor—a designer and developer with Vox Media—telling the internet to tweet for him while he’s off doing something presumably more fun than tweeting. It should prove a fairly interesting experiment. We already know from Sweden’s national Twitter account, which is controlled by a different Swede every week, that things can quickly get… intimate. 

So what happened when Victor flipped the switch and gave the whole world the chance to tweet as him? You may not be terribly surprised.

Ah—so you can’t just tweet anything. And you can’t attach images or video, which spoiled my plan to tweet a semi-nude selfie of Geraldo Rivera. So instead I tried to disguise a link to the image, writing “I don’t usually think of shock polls, but wow.” This didn’t show up on Victor’s timeline either. I tried one last desperate gambit, but alas—it, too, failed to take. 

After this, I got a note from Victor’s site that read, “whoa that’s a lot of amazing tweeting for one day. gonna take a break for a while,” which could either mean that I had run afoul of his filters once too often or just that the application itself has been overloaded. Or, perhaps most likely:

Regardless of the security checks, plenty of people had already succeeded in tweeting weird stuff where I’d failed. Kudos to these surrogate tweeters:

So it turns out the answer to the question “what happens if you let all your friends tweet for you, so long as you place commonsense limits on the content they can post?” is: You start to sound kind of like a bot.

But hey, it sure beats becoming some kind of grotesque Nazi sex addict, which is what usually happens to internet properties given over to group influence. Victor’s experiment has been pretty innocent by comparison:

Is have some fun indeed.

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*First Published: Sep 2, 2016, 4:25 pm CDT