Well, I’ll be frank with you from the start. It wasn’t exactly the first page. Or any page if I am to be true to myself. It was all a result of a prank which no one cared to verify about. And it ‘might’ have had become news too even before people would have cared to find the truth behind it.
It all started with a few of my friends – @rameezhere, @dubliyublog and @fuzzhead045 trying to get #OccupyUniCal to trend, to proclaim our open frustration towards our University. I too joined in the fun and came out with all sorts of jokes about the University (most of which were actually true!). For example the case when a guy passed the exam without even appearing for it and another guy passing the exam when he copied from his friend’s paper and both of them had different electives! All the stories, if jotted down, would be worth a novel!
So then, coming back to the ‘almost’ TOI story of #OccupyUniCal. Here’s how the events turned out over the past couple of days.
22 March 2012 – 11:50PM I sent out the following pic, supporting #OccupyUniCal
23 March 2012 – Full Day Me and most of my active friends on twitter sent out hilarious tweets supporting the hash-tag #OccupyUniCal
23 March 2012 – 11:30PM With an “evil grin” on my face and a prank in mind, I upload a photoshop’d pic, with the tweet –
“Looks like #OccupyUniCalDID Trend for a while!! Kewl!! Anybody noticed??”
24 March 2012 – 6PM By this time most of my active friends on Twitter had either Retweeted or atleast seen the above pic.
24 March 2012 – 7:31PM A correspondent from TOI tweets me and my friend @dubliyublog saying –
“I’m reporter of Times of India. Want to do story on unical. Reply asap. 944xxxxxxx”.
Needless to say I was ROFL and LMAO!! Since I lost my net connection at that exact time, I was not able to reply back to him.
24 March 2012 – Around 10:30PM I text messaged the correspondent apologizing for the delay in response from my side. He tells me he would call me the next day and get the story from me. Soon enough, I reply to his mail explaining to him the whole situation as just a prank with the concept of the prank actually meant as an initiation to actually encourage more people to tweet about it. I also ask him whether he would be able to make any news out of the first pic (The pic on top).
25 March 2012 – 5:29PM Not hearing anything from the correspondent (whom I sincerely presume was out for a sensational and not sensible news), I post the following tweet with the given pic-
The Story of how trended in a single day with just about 40-50 tweets!!
Then began a chain reaction of @Replies on Twitter to all my friends :D. Couple of them see the lighter side, couple of them do not. But hey, all’s well that ends well! At least for me things turned out to be pretty good! I got more clicks on my Tweet than I have ever had and a TOI reporter even contacted me for the news! Sheesh! What more could I ask for? 😀
But all the same, this ‘experiment’ did teach me an important factor about the Social Audience- in the rush through to consume information, many people fail to check, or at least think about the genuineness of the news they read. People are so interested reading things they “want-to-read”, that at times they even stop thinking for themselves! How else can you explain to me that people believed a hash-tag trended with just 90-100 tweets by 7-8 users?
Well, I am no one to judge anyone. I intended my prank to actually be a prank and nothing else. But finally it turned out to be more of a kind of Social Experiment.