Know your character. Your Twitter account has to have a consistent personality, but not necessarily the same exact persona as the famous person, or thing you intend to satirize, explain Penenberg. "To do it right is like being a method actor: You have to get inside the head of a famous person but with a twist; the post has to be funny and insightful." A fake Bill Walton that exactly mimics the real Bill Walton won't cut it.
But the account can't veer too far from the essence of its target. You have to find a balance, something that pays respects to the character, but also gives the account something special, explains the Tweeter behind The Bill Walton. "It's important to stick to the roots of the real Bill Walton, his love of nature and Guinness, his outrage when a big man doesn’t slam it hard in the paint, his love of the Celtics, his catchphrase ‘Throw It Down,’ but it's more important to offer a semi-fictional version of the man to give us room to grow creatively."
Maintain mystery. To differentiate the account from your personal handle, you have to make people forget the identity of the real Tweeter. Having a very unique voice is one way of doing this, or many faux handles don't reveal the person tweeting. "I love that we have no idea who is behind them, and that’s part of the fun," TracySefl, a Democratic strategist, told The New York Times' Ashley Parker. "The fact that people are facilitating those conversations anonymously is in many ways completely anti-Washington, where you have such a name-obsessed culture, and now some of the most pointed observations are coming from people who don’t have real names. In that regard, it’s even more perfect."
Not only can anonymity make the character more believable, but it can also elevate the status of the account, as the @MayorEmanuel saga proved. For 5 months before the Chicago election, a man tweeted as the front-running candidate, attracting almost 50,000 followers. He refused to reveal himself until after the election, only making his tweets more alluring. He finally came out as Dan Sinker to The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal.
Find a voice. People want to read entertaining or thought provoking Tweets, explains Madrigal. "People loved @MayorEmanuel first and foremost because it was funny. Sure, there were the giggles and guffaws that come with inappropriate swearing. But I think the humor of the feed as a whole had deeper roots." The beauty of taking on another persona is that you get to act a part, explains The Bill Walton. "And the best part, you can actually have a "voice": to thousands of people in the growing Twitterverse. Chase your twitter dreams!"
Do your research. The people most interested in following a faux Twitter account, deeply understand the inspiration for the fake account. So should the people who craft these fake personalities. "The tweets that seem to stick the best are inspired by the AP Stylebook, Strunk & White, or other grammar and writing guides. Some of us actually sleep with the AP Stylebook under our pillows," admits Fake AP StyleBook, who has over 200,000 followers. Similarly, The Bill Walton tweeters explain that they have studied Bill Walton's nuances on YouTube and fan sites.