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Digital Marketing: Who's behind that twitter handle?

OK, I will admit it - I thought I was following an actress, but it turned out to be someone else of the same name.  Luckily I didn't make a fool of myself!  (One of the nice things about working in show business is one soon learns people are people.)  I was following out of curiosity.

So this led me to the question - how do I know the person behind that twitter handle is that person?  After all, while my name may seem unique - it isn't… in fact one person with my name is a criminal (makes security background checks for software development jobs so not entertaining.)

One way to insure twitter handles would be for the actual person, shows and movies should include those handles in the credits.  In the least, include the twitter handles on the show's web site.  This may seem like an extra effort - until one realizes that television and press appearances are not the only way to stir up publicity.  There are many times when actors and participants of a show are online during a show to interact with the viewers, as well to give advance notice that the show or movie is coming out!

However, including twitter handles in credits and the show web site does not yet exist in many contracts.

Of course, often these participants have facebook pages as well their own web sites.  Of course, facebook pages can be a little iffy as nearly anyone can make one.  Web sites quite often cost some money and so there is a barrier to fraud there (albeit, not a large one.)

(Kris Williams includes a link to her twitter handle under "Contact Info.")

So another way is to identity handles of people based on other's recommendations.  For example, @SyFy often includes the twitter handles of people in upcoming shows.  It would seem the SyFy network would come down hard on anyone using their obvious trademark - so this gave me belief it was a valid handle.  

(Craig Engler, a SyFy executive vouching for other's twitter handles.)

Of course, this makes a nice cascading effect as one would figure those handles vouched for by a valid twitter handle would be careful about other handles they recommend (usually by personal contact, as actors on the same show would.)

(Note: I have thought of creating a verification and vouching system for twitter handles.  Perhaps this is something I should pursue?  It seems twitter has stopped doing the "blue checkmark" validity process.)

So, this describes multiple ways of obtaining verification:

 - A twitter handle on the very show or web site associated with a product, service, or person.  It is very likely the organization that controls the web site would validate the twitter handles.

- A twitter handle by way of another twitter handle that has an interest in sharing valid handles - such as producers and distributors.

- By recommendation of twitter handles likely to know personally the other people whom might have handles.

- By facebook pages, especially pages well known and vouched for may have links to their twitter handle.

- By web sites owned and operated by a company associated with the person associated with the handle or that person's own web site.  (Be aware though, that some web sites are "fan sites" and may not have the right handle associated!)

Feel free to pass this story around to others who may benefit in link and email form (just be sure to include the author!)

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Scott Augé is the founder and president of Amduus Information Works, Inc., (http://www.amduus.com) a company that provides marketing technology.  Scott can be reached at sauge@amduus.com, his twitter handle @ScAuge, and his linkedin.com page http://www.linkedin.com/in/scottauge.