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The time a celebrity with 3M followers mentioned me on Twitter

Do you dream of being a celebrity or influencer? Careful what you wish for.

My name is Paolo Amoroso and I'm on Twitter as @amoroso. My last name is the same as that of a few major celebrities such as an Italian singer, at least one football player, and a politician.

From time to time my Twitter profile receives reactions intended for the celebrities, as the users unintentionally mention my handle or don't remove it when replying or quoting. Up to last year, in these cases I got at most several dozen reactions.

One year ago today the wildly popular football celebrity Alex de Souza, who has 3 million highly-engaged Twitter followers, unintentionally mentioned me in a tweet instead of a football player by the same last name.

All viral hell broke loose.

De Souza tweeted overnight. Opening TweetDeck the following day, I was greeted by thousands of reactions, mostly likes, but also dozens of retweets including some by users with over 100K followers.

The TweetDeck notifications column seemed a special effect straight out of The Matrix, with new items countinuously dropping for a while. Scrolling down the notifications page on the Twitter website didn't show all the reactions and I bumped into an error or two. I could no longer access my previous notifications and it took me days to clear the extra ones.

I muted de Souza's profile as well as those of the users who retweeted him. Things seemed to improve and the dust settled. But my Twitter notifications remained broken and unusable for a while.

All this because of a single tweet. I can't imagine what celebrities and influencers face daily on Twitter.

If you think this drive-by engagement may have brought some advantage, all I got were fewer than 20 new followers who misunderstood who I am. My online properties linked from the Twitter profile got no traffic at all. I'm sure there's some lesson here on how walled the social gardens are, how overlooked the open web is, and how few links the users click.

Also, there's zero overlap between my interests and the world of football — I'm possibly the only Italian who doesn't follow football.

Having been Twitter-famous for a day, I considered getting a limo or something. But I ended up mothballing my Twitter profile in complete obscurity.


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