News & Politics

Tweet Beat: Will the Real Dean Heller Please Stand Up?

Compiling the best congressional tweets of the week, we’re often struck by how many of them are either (a) incomprehensible, (b) overly personal, or (c) unbelievably dull. But given the attention paid by staffers to their members’ online presence and the usefulness of something called Google News Alert, we never assumed that any of them were phony.

Until today, when we were contacted by an anonymous blogger, who let us know that thanks to last week’s Tweet Beat post, his five-month tenure impersonating Republican Representative Dean Heller of Nevada had finally come to an end. Anon Guy—or AG, as he prefers to be known—signed up as Heller in December when he read an article about politicians using Twitter and checked to see if any of his local members were doing it. When he found Heller’s name still available, he signed up, figuring he’d be eventually be contacted by staff who’d want to take the account over.

When this didn’t happen and Heller started gaining followers, AG figured a blank page might make Heller look weird. So he started Tweeting. As “Heller,” AG wrote tweets that were innocuous and official enough that they didn’t arouse suspicion, even when Heller was featured by Tweet Congress and the Las Vegas Sun as a tweeting representative. Alas, shortly after Heller was featured in our Tweet Beat roundup last week, someone noticed the phony page and Twitter froze the account. “It was kind of a relief,” says AG, although he figured he’d be contacted by either Twitter or someone from Heller’s office before it happened.

Instead, Heller has a brand new (authentic) Twitter page, although he has far fewer followers than he used to. And his tweets are still pretty dull. Heller’s staff declined to comment. Presumably they’re too busy scouring the Internet to see what else they’ve missed.

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