Twitter: your best friend during exam time, your handy iPhone app, that thing you have no idea how to use. TV presenters, sports stars, actors, ‘yer ma’; almost everyone is using it, even Lord Voldemort.

Indeed when you tire of reading about what your friends ate for lunch, novelty tweets are the perfect remedy, even if on occasion they may prove a tad disturbing. They range in category from the real to surreal, from shitmydadsays to Charlie Sheen.

Charlie McDowell’s ‘Dear Girls Above Me’ is a collection of responses from the beleaguered occupant of the apartment below to the ramblings of two loud and ludicrous LA lassies: ‘Dear Girls Above Me, “Hey Claire, what day is it?” Oh no, please don’t sing–“It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday.” It’s Thursday!’ McDowell’s novelty account has proven popular enough to land him a spot inTime Magazine’s top 140 Twitter feeds.

Yet his success seems meagre when compared with that of Justin Halpern’s shitmydadsays. Within months of tweeting his father’s rather raucous comments about life, love and everything in between, Halpern’s feed became the inspiration for a CBS-produced sitcom. $#*! My Dad Says stars Star Trekand Boston Legal veteran, William Shatner, as Halpern’s disgruntled daddy.

On the world wide web, the line between fantasy and reality has never been drawn and Twitter is no exception. Hundreds of novelty accounts have popped up online featuring satirical impersonations of famous figures.

Pope Benny XVI provides ample entertainment on Theological Thursday, when he imparts his religious wisdom: he’s still pushing for the reintroduction of reincarnation apparently. The Real Rob Mugabe will keep you posted on current affairs and has been doing so for quite some time. To remind the world that it was International Women’s Day, he tweeted: ‘I’m listening to that wonderful song about female empowerment, Kelis’s Milkshake.’

Luke Skywalker tweets his Darth’s thoughts through shitmydarthsays: ‘Egypt: if you can be defeated by rebels whose only powers are Facebook and Twitter, you deserve to lose your empire.’

Lord_Voldemort7 has been tweeting up a storm in recent months and just picked up a Shorty Award. Lord V received the award for Humour in Twitter’s answer to the Oscars and was quietly pleased: ‘I’ve won a Shorty Award. As with my other trophies, I’ll turn it into a horcrux & hope people take that “I died laughing” thing seriously.’

Though they do inspire a slight worry for the mindset of their creators, this particular brand of novelty account tends to hit the nail on the head when it comes to humour. Harmless fun or verging on psychotic? You decide. Just remember, Charlie Sheen’s account is actually real.

(University Observer, April 2012) 

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