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Social Media for the Sophisticated, Seasoned & Scared

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Online Magazine strikes gold thanks to Twitter prank

You remember the show "Punk'd" and how you thought they had some of the best pranks? Or if you are little older, perhaps, you remember "Candid Camera." Well those aren't the only shows that played jokes on unsuspecting individuals and captured it all with hidden cameras. There are a host of shows that you can name.

Well this prank wasn't recorded by hidden camera but it was just as good. In the tradition of pulling pranks on brides and grooms, this one will definitely go down in the history books. And it sure to give self-proclaimed professional prankers a new batch of ideas. Recently a best man pulled the mother of all pranks and did so by allowing a newly wed couple believe the statute of limitations for executing a prank had expired. Naively, the couple entrusted the best man to house sit while they embarked on their honeymoon. Little did they know that this was the opportunity that he’d been waiting for. The best man rigged their bed to record any activity and transmit the reports via Twitter using the handle, @newlywedsontjob. The report logged weight, durations and descriptions of the activity. Before long, @newlywedsontjob had more than 22,000 followers.

In December, the prank caught the attention of Staggered, an online magazine geared towards men, that offers pre-nuptial articles and advice. Wanting to get in on the action, Staggered aggressively pursued the Twitter user, called Anon Bestman, in hopes of getting an interview. "At first he didn't want to do an interview so we asked about sponsoring the account, which he eventually agreed to," explained Andrew Shanahan, Staggered's editor. Everytime the newlyweds were on the job Staggered paid a fee. As a condition, the magazine also made him promise to give an interview when he was going to reveal the joke to the newlywed couple, which he did. When the interview went live, the best man tweeted it and traffic on the magazine's site suddenly spiked.

This was a major feat for the magazine which had only launched this past August. Once the interview link was posted to Twitter, more than 7,000 people tried to access the magazine's site simultaneously, which crashed the site. Fortunately for them, Staggered's hosting company was able to move the site to another server, which had the site back up within 10 minutes.

Thanks to Anon Bestman and the newlyweds, Staggered was able to introduce their brand to thousands of new readers. Not bad for a start-up that had only been running for 4 months, huh?

How did the newlyweds react to Anon Bestman's prank? You'll have to follow him on Twitter to find out. He plans to reveal his prank to the couple on the groom's birthday which is February 26th. So until then, you still have time to follow the action (if that's your thing). Ironically, the last tweet was Friday, Feb. 12th but I hope for their sake (of course, definitely not mine) we see some action activity today. After all, it is Valentine's Day.