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What Happens When a 15-Year-Old Manages the Twitter Account?

TempFor Southern Rail in the U.K., an intern taking over the Twitter feed was a welcome reprieve from angry customer tweets. Eddie, the 15-year-old intern put out a call for people to ask him anything. And they did.

Temp Temp 2Eddie answered each. The answers to the questions at right were 100 duck-sized horses and rollerblades for feet. (Note that he corrected the grammar and punctuation for the first one.)

A few users got snarky. About the rollerblade response, one wrote, "And you'd get there faster than on a @SouthernRailUK service too." Another tweeted, "Nobody wishes to troll a 15 year old [sic], but Eddie should be made well aware how lives are being ruined by GTR." To this, a regular member of the train company's  Twitter team responded, "We're showing a 15 year old the wonderful world of work today. Appreciate if you could lay off the abuse for a bit."

Image source.

Discussion:

  • The organization could have shut down the questions or left responses to the regular employees. Did they do the right thing? Why or why not?
  • How is this situation different from and similar to other hijacked hashtags?
  • As far as I see, the tweets are fun but not mocking. What do you see as the difference? If they were more mocking, how should Southern Rail have responded? 
  • In the book, we talk about an authentic social media voice. How do Eddie's tweets measure up?