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Why the ‘fake’ tweeter is often the real deal

Twitter has given us many things — daily gossip funnelled through 140 characters, ceaseless self-promotion and, thanks to parody accounts, quite a lot of LMAO

Why the ‘fake’ tweeter is often the real deal
Parody Twitter accounts are often better than the real thing. Image: Getty

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Fake Twitter accounts (distinct from spam) are often better than the real thing, featuring everyone from ‘the Queen’ (@Queen_UK) to ‘Lord Voldermort’ (@Lord_Voldemort7). Because many travel tweeters tend to be big show-offs (look at me on top of Kilimanjaro/discovering some hipster bar in Brooklyn!), parody accounts can come as a welcome relief.

A round-up of our favourite fakers has to begin with @TlfTravelAlerts, source of ‘sporadic Tube, rail and bus updates for London. Not really real, really. At all.’ Its line of surreal whimsy (Tube trains and lines have distinct personalities, most of them dysfunctional) and dark, nihilistic musings on the daily commute manage to capture the spirit of Tube travel with both disdain and affection. Here’s a taster: ‘The Jubilee line has been befallen by a dull sense of mundanity in the face of the horrific and ceaseless march of time. Minor delays.’

Another transport-themed work of Twitter genius is @untitledairlane (formerly @unitedairlanes). Hundreds of disgruntled passengers have tweeted complaints to what they thought was United Airlines (which has the Twitter handle @united), resulting in such memorable responses as: ‘@sarahlouisedob, Oh sh*t, did you eat the food? You’re not supposed to actually eat the food.’

Then there’s the downright obscure @Travel_WM, a spoof account of National Express West Midlands. It has more followers than the real thing, with tweets in response to complaints about delays that have included: ‘Sorry to hear our service made you late! What route was it? If you do get sacked, we’re recruiting for our Bus Washing team!’

More parody accounts
@shitlondon — A distinctly off-message travel guide to the British capital.

@Henry_Wellcome — The founder of the Wellcome Trust has been tweeting since 2011… despite having died in 1936.

@HornimanWalrus — Dark, miserablist tweets from a stuffed walrus, ironically the unofficial figurehead of the cheery Horniman Museum.

@Big_Ben_Clock — Set your watch to GMT here, where the time is tweeted through a series of ‘bongs’.


Published in the April 2014 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)