Under normal circumstances, those who witness a lovers' spat are often left feeling awkward and as if they intruded on an incredibly private moment. But somehow everything changes once Twitter gets involved — especially if the bickering parties are the grammar gods behind the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook and their counterparts, the funny bunch who runs the @FakeAPStylebook parody Twitter account.
It all started on Feb. 14, better known as the most romantic day of the year, when the @FakeAPStylebook account tweeted that "[d]espite widespread confusion, the proper spelling is 'Valentimes Day.'" The folks behind the official @APStylebook Twitter account couldn't resist issuing a correction: "Despite @FakeAPStylebook guidance to the contrary, it's Valentine's Day, St. Valentine, giving your love a valentine."
These seemingly innocent tweets quickly escalated into something straight out of a Twitter-friendly romantic comedy.
@FakeAPStylebook encouraged bystanders to disregard @APStylebook's corrections before suddenly wondering why on earth the account wouldn't be its Valentine. "Is it that floozy @ChicagoManual again?"
@FakePewResearch — a parody Twitter account for the Pew Research Center, an organization known for providing data on public-opinions — chimed in to suggest that "7 out of 10 respondents called @ChicagoManual 'a home-wrecking Jezebel.'" @APStylebook rushed to defend @ChicagoManual and ... well, you can check out the full transcript of this ridiculously nerdy lovers' spat below.
But before you scroll down, consider this: The characters in this exchange are the Twitter accounts of two official and well-respected organizations and two silly parody accounts. Yet they all interacted with each other and entertained the crowds.
As ZDNet writer Ed Bott pointed out after seeing me tweet about the whole incident, this "is how a parody [Twitter] account is supposed to work." And it's also how an organization should deal with its parody counterparts on social media services.
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