I might know who started the @BronxZoosCobra Twitter account.
Like everyone else I have been watching the Twitter account of @BronxZoosCobra with interest. As a person who does a lot of campaigns and work in social media and PR, these character accounts are always interesting to watch rise and fall. And like you, I have wondered, “Who is running the @BronxZoosCobra account?” I think I am pretty close to getting to the bottom of it. If you want the story, read on here, if you want to skip to my theory, head down to “The Investigation.”
As you might have heard, the Bronx Zoo is missing its Egyptian Cobra. Someone, used it as an opportunity to start a humorous Twitter account about the snakes exploits in New York City.
These types of accounts are nothing new, but they capture the interest of the public in ways others can't. Throw in a mystery and it is irresistible. Witness the @BPGlobalPR Twitter account and all of the press coverage it generated last summer.
As for @BronxZooCobra, SKYY Vodka already been trying to reach the person running the account and offer an endorsement deal (smart). How much is an account that has gained approximately 150,000 or more fans in just 4 days worth?
So, I pulled a few of my search tricks to see what I could find out about the origin of the account and I think I have a pretty good idea who started it. The bad news is that this person was already Tweeting under an assumed name. But I am pretty sure that with what I have so far, any good investigative journalist (or motivated person with more time than I have) could get to the bottom of the mystery fairly quick.
Last night Adam Schoenfeld. from Simply Measured, a new social media measurement tool sent me a report showing some data about the first 87K followers of the account (opens in Excel). It made me want more data so I could mine the first hours of the account. I turned to Google an its Realtime tool to get a timeline of all mentions.
This is where I quickly hit pay dirt. There is a pretty extensive community of Adam Lambert fans, former American Idol contestant. All of them use Adam Lambert in their Twitter feeds and basically talk about him all day. They are mostly women. Many of their tweets are protected. Here is @AuntieVenom, who calls herself Kween Cobra. She styles her account after a music video Lambert did with snakes.
I believe that @AuntieVenom is @BronxZoosCobra.
Let me unravel it for you
- It seems that the person running this account changed the name of the existing @AuntieVenom Account to @BronxZooCobra (This account was changed again a little later, notice the missing “s”?). This is pretty easy to do.
- Her first tweets were still in her old @AuntiVenom voice, to a friend @styleandchiche,. who is in New Jersey. This may the person that is most likely to know the real name of @AuntieVenom, but who knows.
- Pretty soon, her existing Adam Lambert community started ReTweeting her new crossover voice. The tweets were funny, and I am sure everyone was amused.
- Then some of her friends/followers commented on the name change.
- She responds playfully
- Somewhere between March 27th in the evening and March 28th in the afternoon, the accounts name is changed again to add the “S. ” I honestly don't know why except when you go to the original @BronxZooCobra, it says the account was suspended. So, perhaps she was notified it was about to be suspended and used the same process, as mentioned above, to jump ship with all of her new followers? Or perhaps she started over? I think this was the first tweet after the change (notice there is no avatar).
- @BronxZooCobra adopted her current avatar.
Need More Data
@BronxZooCobra has esssscaped again. To catch up we need more data.
Would love to see more data from my my friends over Simply Measured or Radian6 (who capture the Twitter pipe in their monitoring tool) to get a good idea of when exactly each of these conversations occured. I love the Google tool, but it is a blunt instrument and hard to find stuff in there (read: needle in haystack)
Also, would also be cool to see how all these Adam Lambert fans are connected which might be up Spiral16's alley (would love to see it as a test). The ones that I saw in the search that caught my eye included:
These were most likely @AuntieVenom followers. A search right at the inception of the @bronxzoocobra account on the 27th would probably do it.
Also, if you are reading this and have advanced research skills, go for it! Looking forward to what comes of the research. It was a fun exercise using the tools I had on hand.
UPDATE: @AuntieVenom comes out of protected status for an hour or so and after many denials, admits to being the one who started @BronxZooTweets. However, not to running the newer @BronxZoosTweets account. I honestly have no way to prove otherwise. As I said, we need more data and I need some big guns here! We need a detailed look at all three feeds to see if anything triangulates.
In this tweet she says that switched back to @AuntieVenom from the @BronxZooCobra name. However, if you head over to the Twitter page for the first account, you will see that it says it is suspended. Which is a specific state reserved for accounts with TOS or other issues (read Twitter procedures here). Only thing I am sure of is that we don't have the whole story yet. Please add anything you know to the comments.