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Tweet tweet


Gazette staff June 20th, 2012

Chicken-Fried News is as addicted to Twitter as the next idiot with calloused thumbs and too much time on his or her hands, but these days it’s tough to tell which tweets are on the up-and-up and which are of the made-up variety. Twitter has become an irresistible outlet for parodies of people in the news.

Credit: Brad Gregg

One such faux Twitter account appeared shortly after Mustang-based Tate Publishing inadvertently found itself a viral sensation when an audio recording surfaced of its CEO, Ryan Tate, firing 25 employees — but not before calling them “stupid” and “morons.”

Like a snarky phoenix rising from the ashes, @TaintPublishing emerged to unleash such gems as, “Remember: if I sue you, everything you do for the rest of your life is mine. So don’t flush the toilet. That’s my poop now.”

In an email interview with CFN, the imp behind @TaintPublishing insisted, “My dad was a Taint. My grandpa was a Taint. Both my great-grandpa and great-grandma were Taints (it was a different time).”

He offered little about his real identity. “Am I Ryan Tate’s alter ego, Tyler Durden-style?” he asked — rhetorically, we presume. “Frankly, I don’t know, and I don’t like newspapers asking me questions! So you’re fired!” We got a warmer reception from @AubreyMcLendon, the Twitterer who appeared shortly after Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon became ensnared in controversy over personal loans, hedge funds and the like.

“I remember reading an article calling the Aubrey a ‘rock star CEO’ and thinking that I’ve never heard or seen him do anything I would say fit in with the ‘rock star’ lifestyle,” @AubreyMcLendon told CFN. “I wanted to make a sort of affable, out-of-touch exaggeration of my perception of him.”

His tweets — “If you knew how much CHK spends buying lawmakers, you’d frack your pants,” for example — have resonated with more than 1,400 followers, which includes CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer.

The ersatz Aubrey said many of his followers are Chesapeake workers. “A few people don’t realize it’s a parody account,” he said. “I received a direct message from an employee asking if I could help his nephew get tickets to one of the [NBA] Finals games. I had to tell him I gave them to Lil Wayne, then told him it was a parody account. He unfollowed me.”

Social media also has allowed for a fair amount of anthropomorphizing, from the siren testing on Saturdays (OKC Saturday Noon Whistle on Facebook) to favorite dishes (@RococosCrabCake on Twitter). But none have caught on like @HardenBeard on Twitter, which proclaims to be the beard of Thunder guard James Harden.

More than 13,000 Twitter users follow the bogus beard, a group that includes the bearded one himself. “Sometimes when we argue he tells me to get out of his face,” @HardenBeard told us. “[But we] can’t.”

The two guys behind the tweets hinted to CFN that they might just be two “really Caucasian” graduates of Harden’s alma mater, Arizona State University.

“But we put our Thunderpants on one leg at a time, just like everyone else,” @HardenBeard said. “The only difference is that when we Thunder up, we do it as a big, hairy beard.”

 
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