a donkey by any other name

When I first joined Twitter, back in July 2009, I was somewhat disappointed to find that the closest I could get to my nickname of choice, was nz_d0nk3y. (IRL my nickname is Donkey – after the annoying talking smart ass from Shrek).

Recently, due to two years of inactivity, I managed to score the twitter nickname I wanted. Now, I am @donkey – the only ‘real’ donkey in the world! Muwahhahhaa! (well, on twitter anyway – and it also now matches my account over at identi.ca).

It’s been an interesting ride since then with all sorts of extra followers – like, apparently real people rather than the obviously fake accounts that new followers invariably are.

This past weekend however, it got even crazier.

A couple of tweets came in from some people I’d never heard of – obviously with a friend called ‘Donkey’. I normally wait for it to die down and then reply to them all with a Donkey quote from Shrek – just for a laugh – which I also did in this case. A little later, I noticed that I suddenly had about ~25-30 more followers which seemed odd.

Even stranger was the fact that they were all young ladies – and all from Canada (Oh, Canada). One of them happened to mention a name that had shown up in all of the tweets I’d received earlier. On closer inspection, this twitter account had nearly 140K followers and appeared to be some kind of celebrity.

Turns out this fellow, Jacob Hoggard had been a contestant in Canadian Idol and had gone on to front a band called Hedley.

Apparently, they have a friend called Sean (who also has the nickname ‘Donkey’), and it was he whom all these people had mistaken me for. The new young female Canadian followers continue to arrive at a rate of a couple a day – a few which I have conversed with (Kirsten; Marylou; Tricia) , all of which seem wonderfully nice and very friendly.

Isn’t it interesting the things that happen when you throw millions of people from all around the world into an online community – shared names, perceived shared experiences, mistaken identities and all…