What do you call an impersonator on Twitter? Mick McCarthy has an answer…

What do you call someone who impersonates someone else on Twitter?

No, I’m not about to introduce the word ‘twimpersonator’ on you.

Straight-talking Mick McCarthy, however, does have a word for people who impersonate others on Twitter.

He uses the word ‘cock.’

Really.

Talking about the perils of Twitter, as reported by the Guardian, he says:

“Someone said to me: ‘I’m a contact of yours on Twitter.’ I said: ‘You aren’t, mate, because I’m not on Twitter.’ He said: ‘Are you not, I’ve been talking to you for the past two years!’ I said: ‘Well, you are cock like the bloke who is doing it.’ Dear oh dear. I think cock is appropriate for someone who impersonates me on Twitter.”

On a more serious note, McCarthy also blames a Twittering footballer for a transfer deal collapsing. The offending player was Greg Halford, who tweeted that he’d seen Steve Sidwell in the stands. The next day, Sidwell signed for Fulham.

Halford’s Tweet read:

“With Steve Sidwell in the stands, read what you like into that.”

McCarthy now says:

“I think what really should highlight that [I won’t discuss transfer targets with the media] is we had Steve Sidwell at the Chelsea game. Some twit tweeted it and it became common knowledge. He is on the running machine here and having a fitness test the following day and his agent gets a call from Mark Hughes and he goes and signs for Fulham. Do you think that had anything to do with the gravepine or that Twitter line? I think it probably did.

“Players are going to get themselves into trouble over Twitter, I can tell. I can’t ban it and I’m not going to try. But they have to be careful what they say on it about the club and its policies. If they put a team selection up, which I’m sure some disgruntled numpty will at some stage, they will be in trouble.”

There’s a lesson in here for journalists too. It’s good to talk, but not too much, especially where stories are concerned.

4 comments

    1. Of course. I should have done so in the piece. Talking about stories generally should be part and parcel of the job, but it’s always worth thinking ‘Should I be talking about this now?’ For example, could your tweet about your splash tomorrow tip off a rival to the extent that they could get it?

      1. I guess it depends what you value more. The scoop or getting feedback on a story before it’s live. I guess that depends as much on the publication as the story itself.

        As an idealist and not a newspaper person I like to think that the story begins long before a “finished” article appears. But if your revenue depends on scoops you’re more likely to be protective.

  1. I think you’re right, but it was also ever thus. Even before it was easy to discuss a story before the finished article was put forward, journalists were opening up the story for people to comment – it was just much more tightly controlled. People who the journalist assumed could add something to the story – the policeman, the councillor, the people on the street being used for a vox pop – were brought into the story before it was released to everyone in print, on TV or on the radio.

    Has social media changed that? To a point – but if you debate a story or crowdsource elements of a story on Twitter now, you’re only involving those people who have self-selected themselves to follow you. It’s useful, of course, but is it that much better than before? Maybe.

    Thinking about it, I can’t think of any examples of journalists really talking about a story before it goes live in a way which could change the direction of the story.

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