Twitter is the place on the net to have fun with publicity, as a brilliant new Halloween stunt, featured in The Sun, proves beyond doubt.
“Twitter users will get the chance to communicate with departed showbiz stars this Halloween — in the world’s first online séance,” proclaims the paper. “Tweeters can choose which of their deceased idols they want to talk to, pick a question — then follow the ‘Tweance’ in real time using the social networking site.”
The ‘Tweance’ has been cooked up by Angels Fancy Dress, doubtless keen to move some spooky costumes this October. Mundane considerations aside, they clearly have an almost psychic understanding of the way the web works and, more importantly, the way people engage with social networking sites; they have drawn in all the triggers needed for a publicity windfall – celebrity, the chance to communicate with dead celebrities and the opportunity for millions to nominate who will be spoken to and to see all the answers coming out in real time.
They’ve brought in “top psychic” Jayne Wallace, who has already “contacted the spirit of Jade Goody in a séance organised by The Sun” – she “will quiz four late stars nominated by Twitterers between 10am and 12pm on Friday October 30”.
Whatever you think of psychics and the possibilities of contacting the dead, there is no escaping the fact that there are plenty of people out there who believe – and no doubt that they will be following this Tweance religiously as well as nominating their favourite dead celebrities and sending in questions. This could go right round the world.
What excites me most about this is the way that Twitter is being used to break new ground. I ran the first ever Twithibition, an exhibition of great publicity stunts at the Edinburgh Fringe, in the summer. This Tweance is the next step towards making Twitter the communication channel of choice for the world, a place where things can happen instantly and effect real change whilst you watch. It’s thrilling.
All I need to decide now is whom to nominate…