Dear Conan O'Brien, I Feel Used
By Zach Dionne Posted Mar 11th 2010 05:30PM
Pop-Ed: Conan O'Brien's doing a comedy tour? Yeow! But did he use his Twitter to sucker us all, getting half a million followers to feed into one big, sneaky promotional device?
Conan took to the Twittersphere two weeks ago and amassed a tremendous following at an alarming pace. It was the event-like nature of his tweets that made his page the talk of the Internet -- blogs were fashioning entire posts to recap Big Red's individual tweets. When Conan chose to follow one solitary person on Twitter, everyone -- us included -- was chomping at the bit to talk to her, to hear how Conan's avant garde Twitter strategy had changed the gal's life (no foolin' -- it actually changed her life).
For two weeks, no one knew what Lindsay Lohan scandal was coming up next, or what new miracle would postpone Lil Wayne's jail time, or what Heidi Montag was going to say about her boobs, but we all knew one thing: Conan would tweet once per day, and it would make us smile. Probably even laugh. It felt like Coco had found a new way to keep us plugged into his singular sense of humor, and even if the one-tweet-per-day routine had carried on a while with no signs of a TV show, we would've been alright with that. It was kinda nice.
That all came crashing down today. The Wizard of Oz is not so wizardly at all; he may merely be a funny guy on Twitter, beckoning us further and further into the land of laughs until -- BOOM! -- "Hey, ya wanna buy some comedy tickets, son? Good, 'cause I'm gonna tweet alllll day about it, and tack 'half-assed' jokes onto the end of what are truly only promotional blasts."
Go ahead, tell me "it's just Twitter." The fact remains that Conan seemed to have chosen to do things differently, to show us a new side of this site we love. I mean, c'mon, Conan -- I followed the spinoff Twitters for your squirrel, your beard, your ATM card, your Sharpie and your stinking Ford Taurus -- only to end up feeling like it was a long con for you to swindle me into your comedy tour? Granted, you're a funny, funny man, and I want to see your live show regardless, but this "I'm going to do Twitter a tad differently except, oh wait, I'm really not" bit has left a bad taste in my mouth. Comparatively, he's done no more self-promotional wrong than anyone on Twitter, but five tour-related tweets in as many hours tipped the balance.
Even if Conan takes his Twitter back to the way things were (and I'm sure he will -- I'm sure his feed won't become an exclusively self-promotional spot), it'll never be the same. I feel used.
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