Back in the era of television when people watched this crap (as opposed to the crap they watch now) there was a television show called To Tell the Truth. There were a couple modern remakes of it which failed, but the bulk of the show went from the late 50's to the late 70's. The show featured a panel of celebrities attempting to correctly identify a hidden contestant. This contestant was accompanied by two fakes who pretended to be that same person. The celebrity panelists questioned the three contestants and the impostors were allowed to lie but the real person had sworn "to tell the truth." After questioning, the panel had to identify which of the three challengers was, in fact, the real person. Then the announcer would say "Would the real ______ please stand up?" Some shenanigans would follow while each of the three people pretended to start standing up, before finally, the real person would stand.
Which brings us to Twitter, which is the newest version of this game. There are many variants ranging from the real Danny Sheridan buying loads of fake followers, to the fake Sarah Phillips conning ESPN into a job by pretending to be a hot sports chick. Eventually people catch on, and the owner of the Twitter account (or that owner's followers) are outed as fakes.
The newest contestant in this game is the best high school basketball player in North America – Andrew Wiggins – who, coincidentally, followed me on Twitter earlier this week. I wasn't too surprised to see this, as I cover Florida State basketball for the largest free site on the web, and am followed by a few current and former Seminole players and coaches. It is largely believed that Andrew Wiggins will decide between Florida State and Kentucky for the locale of his one year in college.
But then the following day, his best friend Xavier Rathan-Mayes (who is also a Seminole target, and both have fathers who played at Florida State – a stepfather in Rathan-Mayes case) followed me. But something didn't look right about his account. So I clicked on it, and realized that his Twitter username had changed. I know this, because I had just been scanning his timeline due to the news about Jim Calhoun retiring, and UConn is thought to be the leader for his services. And then I noticed that he only had a couple hundred followers. Hmmmm.
So, back to the Andrew Wiggins account, and the follower count (10K +) seemed about right, but still, something was fishy. Luckily about 4 seconds of work on Google was able to solve this mystery.
The real Andrew Wiggins account still comes up first in searches, but for how much longer? The fake account has only been around for a few days and already is approaching the follower level of the real account (15K +). The real Xavier Rathan-Mayes account seems safer, as he has more than 20 times the followers of the fake account.
Are the fake accounts being run by the same person? It seems logical as their choice of usernames was consistent – @AndrewWiggins22 and @RathanMayes11.
Will the real Andrew Wiggins please stand up?