Don't be fooled! The unverified Twitter account @JoanDidion is not real! When wading through the world of Twitter, where fake news and photos and Twitter accounts abound, it serves a reader to quadruple check before assuming anything is real—or else things might get embarrassing. While @JoanDidion bears the full name of the award-winning author, it has no bright blue verified check-mark, tweets a lot of non sequiturs, and is not, in fact, Joan Didion. These are the kinds of things you have to look out for before making any presumptions about anything in the Wild West of information-sharing that is Twitter. Unfortunately, today The Wall Street Journal did not do that, which provides the following useful cautionary tale for the rest of us.
The parody account, run by Erik Stinson, as its Twitter bio says, made some jokes about quitting Twitter and The Wall Street Journal picked up the story reporting: "Joan Didion Tweets About Quitting Twitter," which is unfortunately and embarrassingly, false because the account is a fake. That post on the Speakeasy blog has since been taken down, but you can see it below in its entirety:
This Storify they made of the tweets was posted below that text, too. The article has since been updated with a new, more accurate version: "@JoanDidion Parody Account Tweets About Quitting Twitter."
After reading through the original, the mistake becomes even more mind boggling because the author, Rubina Madan Fillion—a verified social media editor for The Wall Street Journal (oof)— makes clear she read the Twitter bio, which states that an Erik Stinson runs the faux account. Anyone who follows @JoanDidion, or who has read through her archive, can see that most of her tweets are jokes, including the ones Stinson has posted following the mix-up:
i would never use twitter, obviously— Joan Didion (@JoanDidion) July 11, 2013
WSJ... lol....— Joan Didion (@JoanDidion) July 11, 2013
Also, this is Joan Didion we're talking about. In any case, Fillion and the WSJ shouldn't feel too bad; these things happen to the best of us. But if you pay a little more attention, it doesn't have to happen to you.