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Imagine if you got a barrage of angry tweets every time a particular celebrity did something stupid.

This happened last week, when the UFC fighter Jon “Bones” Jones was stripped off his title and suspended indefinitely after a colorful few months. He tested positive for cocaine before his last fight, after the results were made public he apologised and went into rehab… for a single night. Then, most recently, he was arrested over an alleged hit-and-run incident.

Understandably, @JonJones on Twitter has been receiving a lot of messages. Unfortunately for fans, their messages didn’t get the intended recipient, because the former champion’s Twitter handle is @JonnyBones.

The Jon Jones who isn’t currently facing a criminal investigation was kind enough to chat to me about his experience in this case of misidentitweet.

Welcome to the Article… JON JONES!

The Jon Jones who controls @JonJones is a “tech geek, art outsourcing manager and cat fancier”, who works for Epic Games. What he isn’t: a former UFC light-heavyweight champion.

When the news of the hit-and-run broke last week, Jones started receiving around 3500 tweets (or at least notifications) per day, with about 5000 tweets in the hours after Bones was stripped of his title. Over the years, Jones reckons he’s received 70,000 tweets – all in three to five day bursts, whenever the other Jon Jones does something newsworthy. As is all too common Tweeting While Female: Harassment, and How Twitter Can Fix It Tweeting While Female: Harassment, and How Twitter Can Fix It Twitter's abuse problem is real. Here are some examples, along with expert opinion on how Twitter can solve this. Read More , many of the tweets haven’t been pretty.

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Instead of feeling sorry for himself, or turning off notifications and waiting for the craziness to blow over, Jon engages with almost all the tweets he gets.

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To Jon, it’s all a big joke.

It’s absolutely hilarious, and at this point, I love it. It’s like this weird traveling circus that keeps setting up in my front yard by mistake, so I just decide to go with the flow and play a clown for a couple days. I have absolutely no control over when it starts or stops and I never know when it happens, so I just have as much fun as possible with it and enjoy making people laugh.

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It’s not just random people tagging Jon: industry publications like Sherdog.com have even made the same mistake.

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Running With It

To keep it fun, Jon has set some strict rules for himself.

1) I will never seek attention myself, so I only respond to what comes to me.

2) I agree to virtually anything anyone asks and see where it takes me.

3) I will never ruin this by trying to make money off of it.

4) I will shut up and disappear the instant people stop finding it funny. I can’t imagine a faster way to kill it than becoming crassly capitalistic and fame-seeking with it.

According to Jon, most people ignore his humorous responses. Those that do reply “almost always laugh and apologize when they realize how silly the whole thing is”. There is also people who get more passionate about the situation: some love it while others, as is the norm on the Internet, get irrationally angry Worse Than Hitler: Why Do Flamewars Happen? Worse Than Hitler: Why Do Flamewars Happen? Why are flamewars so common on today's web, and is it really a new phenomenon?  Read More .

The people who love it have gone so far as to create a Good Guy Jon Jones Meme, while the people who hate it accuse him of having stolen the @JonJones handle and demand he give it to the fighter, who has only ever ignored the issue.

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Jones got more publicity than usual this past week. Big MMA news organisations, like MMAjunkie Radio, have been interviewing him, and he’s now a talking point among fight fans. Jones will keep running with it, saying yes to almost any request he gets and having as much fun as he can.

Then, after a few weeks, his life will go back to normal.

Other Cases of Misidentitweet

Jon Jones isn’t the only case of misidentitweet.  Tested.com publisher Will Smith — who produces one of my favorite YouTube shows Learn DIY by Watching Adam Savage Build Movie Props Learn DIY by Watching Adam Savage Build Movie Props When Adam's not busting myths, he likes to relax by recreating movie props. Watching Adam work is not only inspiring, but you'll also pick up loads of techniques that you'll be able to use in... Read More — has the @WillSmith Twitter account. While Tested’s Will Smith is pretty popular in his own right, it’s probably safe to say that the actor Will Smith is slightly better known.

Unlike Jon, Will doesn’t engage all that often. Instead, he uses Tweetbot Tweetbot 3 for iOS 7: The Best Mobile Twitter Experience Tweetbot 3 for iOS 7: The Best Mobile Twitter Experience If you're a Twitter addict who is constantly checking the micro-blogging network, it makes sense to ensure you have the best possible Twitter experience. That’s exactly what Tweetbot 3 for iOS 7 offers. Read More to filter out the bulk of the messages. Given how famous the actor is, this is pretty understandable.

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One of Twitter’s earliest users, Justin Williams, uses the handle @justin. Unfortunately for him, millennials aren’t the most thoughtful Twitter users These Kanye Fans Don't Know Who Paul McCartney Is, And That's Okay These Kanye Fans Don't Know Who Paul McCartney Is, And That's Okay Kanye West and Sir Paul McCartney collaborated on a new track. You'll totally believe what happened next. Read More  – and many of Justin Bieber’s fans tweet to “@justin bieber” instead of to the correct “@justinbieber”. As you can imagine, this leads to a ridiculous amount of messages every day.

Like Will, Justin appears to be ignoring the fans of his doppeltweeter. His account is now private in a bid, I suspect, to manage the Belieber onslaught.

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@EdwardSnowden is a sports fan from the UK. What he isn’t: an NSA whistleblower Hero or Villain? NSA Moderates Its Stance on Snowden Hero or Villain? NSA Moderates Its Stance on Snowden Whistleblower Edward Snowden and the NSA's John DeLong appeared on the schedule for a symposium. While there was no debate, it seems the NSA no longer paints Snowden as a traitor. What's changed? Read More , although he is often mistaken for one online. Like Jon, Edward seems to find the whole deal hilarious and engages with some of the tweets, although no where near as many.

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Look Before You Tweet

Before Twitter became the popular social media site How Twitter Was Born [Geek History Lessons] How Twitter Was Born [Geek History Lessons] Originally created in 2006 as a short messaging system for small groups, Twitter has since evolved into a powerful communication tool that has dramatically changed how information is shared and spread online. Twitter functions as... Read More we love today, it was mainly a service for geeks. Many user names were locked down in the early few years by early adopter, some who share a name with a celebrity. While Jon “Bones” Jones is a lot more famous than the other Jon Jones, the fighter joined Twitter two years later than the game designer.

Just because someone is famous, it’s no reason to assume they control every instance of their name online. If you’re going to tweet to a celebrity, have a look and make sure you’re using the right handle – or you might be chatting to an English sports fan rather than one of the most divisive figures of the last decade.

Have you seen any other cases of misidentitweet? Let me know in the comments.

  1. Doc
    May 5, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    "Jones was stripped off his title" stripped *of* his title. It would be kind of embarrassing if they "stripped off his title" and he wasn't wearing anything underneath. LOL.

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