Friday, July 20, 2012

Mistaken Twitter Identity

Ah Twitter. The writer/librarian's best friend and worst enemy at the same time. On the one hand it's a place to network, pick up professional/writerly tips, build a platform and generally have fun. On the other, it's a place to waste valuable time, read, and indeed write, eye-itchingly mundane tweets and, if you're a school librarian like me, block the occasional teenage girl from your school who thinks it's a good idea to follow you...

twitter-logo by spainvictorcompany

(Photo taken from Flickr account with a Creative Commons Licence)


The last few days, I've noticed in my news feed random people complaining about something upsetting I've apparently written about scientists. After clicking on the link they provided, I got taken to this Irish times opinion piece about how meddling scientists are apparently devaluing the meaning of human life by developing a cure for cancer. 

Who's the person writing this inflammatory piece? Why, it's a certain Joe Humphreys of course. You'd think people would realise that there is clearly more than one Joe Humphreys in the world. Furthermore, I tend to disagree with the writer of the article, but won't go in to the reasons why here.

Anyway, the reason for this mistaken identity soon became clear. The Joe Humphreys who wrote this, assistant news editor at the Irish Times, is known on Twitter as @Joe_Humphreys_. I'm known as @joe_humphreys. I'd initially thought it was a simple case of people forgetting to use capital letters, but within minutes of me initially posting this, a very kind fellow tweeter (@shirleyannmcm) pointed out that the other Joe Humphreys had, in fact, also got an underscore at the end of his name.

So people forgetting to add the underscore, and that's understandable enough, were directing ire meant for the other Joe Humphreys at...me. Fortunately, all people who did were reasonable, intelligent people and when I pointed out their mistake they offered their sincere apologies. But it has got me a bit wary: what if I get more aggressive tweets that are not even meant for me next time? Could be unnerving.

Has anyone else experienced anything like this?

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