“Proud to be British,” tweeted an understandably ecstatic @dannyboylefilm just as the director’s Olympic opening ceremony drew to its triumphant close.
The simple yet succinctly heart-warming comment flew across the Twittersphere in a flash, lapped up by his legions of fans both old and new. “Congratulations on an extraordinarily brilliant opening ceremony. It was a privilege to be there,” responded BBC broadcaster and former England footballer Gary Lineker. “Thank you @dannyboylefilm,” said Martha Lane Fox, the UK government’s “digital champion”. Even Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour party, hopped in. “Thanks for that fantastic opening ceremony,” he wrote.
But the problem was, it wasn’t Danny at all. The account owner admitted some days later that it was just a “fan account” - before disappearing into the ether, presumably having collapsed under the weight of thousands of Twitter users shouting: “How could you make us look so stupid?!”.
The truth is we had little evidence to back up the idea that it ever was Danny, aside from an enormous number of followers and some well-timed celebrity re-tweets. But in the age of Spoof 2.0, that was enough. All it takes is a moment of supposed realism for something - anything - to take off.
Just ask British cyclist and newly anointed national hero Bradley Wiggins. Many probably still believe Wiggins enjoyed a piercing dialogue on Twitter with Piers Morgan, in which the former newspaper editor turned US TV host said he was “disappointed” the gold medallist had not sung the national anthem while on the podium.
The reported retort: “I was disappointed when you didn’t go to jail for insider dealing or phone hacking, but you know, each to his own.”
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