Friday, April 03, 2009

Will the real Terry Francona please stand up!

About a month ago someone started following me and my fellow Red Sox fans on Twitter. His handle was @TerryFrancona and we wondered if he was the real deal. He sounded real, but it wasn't clear. Then he went on a hiatus for a while (during spring training) and now he's back. He's amassed a pretty good number of followers

Now another Terry Francona has joined as @real_tito and I'm wondering WTF? I understand it's fun to goof around and impersonate someone for a little while, but with public celebrities (and I think Terry qualifies) it seems out of line.

I'm wondering what you think of all this and also who is the real Terry Francona? I don't want to talk with a fraud.

17 comments:

Andy Katz said...

Interesting, Jim. I was wondering the same thing. I sent a direct message to @Real_Tito inquiring about his identity. "This is not really the real Tito....is it?," I said. The response, "As real as it gets andy." Take that for what it's worth.

SoxPinkPony said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SoxPinkPony said...

Curt Schilling (@gehrig38) bought into @TerryFrancona enough to @ him, albeit not realizing @'s are public. I wonder if Curt just took the name at face value or if he checked with the real Tito first? Also, how long until Curt realizes the power of Twitter and starts daily updates of whatever is on his mind?

However, @Real_Tito seems to have a more authentic sound to his tweets, can't imagine Terry Francona using the phrase "ready to hang with my Twitter peeps."

Christine Perkett said...

I hope Tito will mention Twitter and his real handle - if either are him - in a media interview. That's the only way to really know. I am hard pressed to believe that when @Real_Tito started following me this morning that it was him. Why? Because I had just Tweeted about getting opening day tickets (anyone got any to share, btw?!) and a few minutes later he was following me.

Not that Tito isn't brilliant but is he really searching on Twitter for folks mentioning Red Sox at 8:30 in the morning? Maybe... but who knows. Maybe more likely if he has a social media director ghost tweeting... or if the account is faux.

I can't wait to find out. Terry, please tell us :)

Eric Glazer said...

I am not buying either are real. Reviewing @TerryFrancona and certain things feel out of character, including the avatar ...in many ways Twitter feels out of character for Tito...I am guessing both are frauds.

BTW, we still need to figure out who the heck is @TedsHead!?!

adamcohen said...

I recall something Warren Sukernek shared awhile back with brands on twitter - the way to verify they are real is to have a link from their homepage. I think the Sox (and any pro sports team, for that matter) should do the same with any player/coach/exec account. If it's linked on Redsox.com it's real - until then it's as real as @tedshead.

Bryan Person said...

This is a real head-scratcher. I'm guessing the early line from @TerryFrancona about his "Twitter peeps" was fed to him by someone -- maybe one of his players?

Tough to know for sure, really, on either of them.

@SoxPinkPony: Do we know that @Gehrig38 is actually Curt Schilling? Has he mentioned it on his blog?

Jim Storer said...

@bryan - head-scratcher as in @tedshead scratcher? do you have something to tell the group? :-)

Chad Northrup said...

As much as I'd love to believe either account was authentic, I have a hard time imagining the real Terry Francona using Twitter or any other social network to connect with fans. I just don't think he'd devote the time away from managing the team to something like this, and as Curt Schilling admitted- Terry is NOT a technology guy. I got more suspicious after seeing that @Real_Tito had protected his updates (why in the world would he do that??)

Unfortunately I don't think we can base our authenticity assessments on who Curt follows either. I know that firsthand because he became friends with someone named Dustin Pedroia on Facebook, so I immediately assumed that account was legit and did the same (even though I remembered reading quotes from the real Dustin saying he doesn't even use the web). Then last month I noticed a strange name appearing in my newsfeed and realized that "Dustin Pedroia" had outed himself as some random guy living in Natick. I felt somewhat violated, but mostly I was kicking myself for being naive enough to give this random person access to my address, photos of my family, etc. This made me re-think how quick I am to associate myself with so-called celebrities, especially in the Facebook world.

I think the main thing we need to ask ourselves is what benefit a celebrity achieves from joining a network like Twitter. If it's someone who is known to engage and have fun with fans like (Shaquille O'Neal, Ashton Kutcher) that makes sense. But when it comes to Tito, I'm just not sure what his motivation would be. So put me in the "cynical but hopeful, waiting for confirmation" camp. :-)

Bryan Person said...

Let's be honest: Both of these are obviously inside jobs. Both Terrys are only following a handful of people, and Adam Cohen, Jim Storer, Aaron Strout, Kyle Flaherty, and I are on both lists. Seems like more than just a coincidence, wouldn't you say?

Bryan | @BryanPerson

Tim Walker said...

I'm with those above: the only way to be sure is to get some sort of non-social-media verification that it's true. It's like how newspapers won't report someone's death as certain until they have some kind of non-media verification of it from an authoritative source.

Andy Katz said...

@BryanPerson...Schilling did mention @Gehrig38 on his Facebook feed.

Derek Peplau said...

I've always treated the whole celebrity tweeting thing with a healthy amount of skepticism since it's quite easy to pretend to be someone else: you just need to get to the twitter handle first. Some actual celebrities ARE on Twitter, and this has been proven, but whenever a new one shows up, I kind of wait to see if they're borne out to be the real deal.

I still follow some that I know are NOT the real person (@CobraCommander, for example isn't even a real person IRL, but is still entertaining because he tweets in character).

Schilling I think may have assumed more than he should have done as to the identity of @TerryFrancona, but I also think it's possible he may have been taking a pot shot at Tito knowing that it wasn't the real Terry and also knowing full well that he was sending a public reply and not a private one. Curt seems to be fairly tech and internet savvy, but then again, he hasn't (till recently) had the time that most of us have to spend on the web and familiarizing ourselves with common UI design elements and best practices. So what we have is two scenarios I think:

1. His public message to @TerryFrancona was indeed unintentional and he did indeed believe it to be the real Tito and was trying to DM him and ended up with a public message that should have been private. Controversy ensues.

2. He KNEW it wasn't the real Tito, and was trying to wind that person up (as well as the real Tito who may not even be on Twitter), so his @ reply was intended to be an @ reply and his protestations about not knowing how to DM were tongue in cheek. Curt is just messing with us.

I personally believe #2 is what happened. I have a tough time believing Tito really cares about technology enough to be on Twitter. He seems like a pretty busy guy; being the manager of the Boston Red Sox is an extremely time consuming, pressure-filled job. Lots of people demand his time and there's very little down time. He's getting to the ballpark early in the day and leaving in the wee smalls...and that's just when they're at home!

I'm trying to envision Tito being interviewed about this whole thing and the only response I can imagine is something along the lines of (read in Terry Francona voice): "to be honest guys, I've barely got time to read my email and maybe check the weather. I don't know about all this Twitter stuff, but I'm sure Schill will explain it to me. I don't have that kind of time on my hands. I've got to worry about winning ballgames, not telling a bunch of people what I had for breakfast in Cleveland that morning."

Eric said...

I don't think it's so far out of line for Tito to be Tweeting. We all know Lester taught him how to test message when he was undergoing treatment. Twitter isn't that much more advanced. Although if #terryfrancona isn't the real him and he tricked Schilling, kudos.

KFFBOS said...

I don't believe for one second any celebrity that is on Twitter until you can no doubt prove beyond a shadow of a doubt...and that list is truly small.

The funny thing to me is that people seem to get so passionate about these people for no good reason. Speaks to the cult of personality I think.

/kff

Warren said...

Perhaps one of our PR experts with connections at Fenway can find out if @TerryFrancona is an official Sox account. If anything, I would think that it is ghosted, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/27/technology/internet/27twitter.html?_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss

And @AdamCohen thanks for the reference in your comment.

Deborah said...

Is it really Tito (or "T" as we used to call him in high school).
"T" on Twitter? Highly unlikely.