They say that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
Today Disney is launching @DisneylandToday. However, there was already a Disneyland Today on Twitter.
@DLtoday is the account I started almost four years ago, in 2009 (with the profile picture you see to the right). At the time, Twitter was a much different place – it just beginning to emerge as a popular social network. Facebook was beginning to replace Myspace in popularity. There were no iPads or tablets, nor brilliant guests bringing them to the park to take photos and video. The iPhone 3G was new, and 3G coverage in the parks was abysmal (and you thought it’s bad now??).
Since there wasn’t a lot of up-to-the-minute coverage at the parks, I thought there was a niche I could fill. When deciding what to name my account, I knew it had to be short, so it could be easily retweeted (all RTs were manual at that time, so it was important to have a short name that people could add in front of the message in less than 140 characters). It had to be clear that it was about Disneyland, and I wanted it to convey a sense of urgency and newsiness, since it would be about the latest goings-on at the park. The name I chose was @DLtoday.
Disneyland Today (@DLtoday) February 14, 2012
The Disney social community was much different then, too. There was no MouseWait or Disney Mobile Magic app, so it was valuable to inform people what the wait times were at any given day/hour/minute. There was no Disney Parks Blog, which meant there was a lot less readily available official photos/video out there. This was also before Tumblr and Instagram – taking pictures in the park and instantly posting them from your mobile phone was a new thing, and it was much faster than plugging in your camera and uploading photos from a computer when you got home.
There was a much smaller official presence on social media, as well. In 2009 Disney owned the @DisneyParks account, as well as @DisneylandNews and @WDWNews. The @Disneyland and @WaltDisneyWorld accounts were originally taken by an individual (they sat dormant with no tweets, with a “Contact here if you’re interested” message on it). In early 2010, Disney acquired both of those accounts and began filling our timelines with helpful messages, like these.
Fast forward to today, where just about everything in the Disney universe has a Twitter account, both official and unofficial – from Aulani to the Jungle Cruise, from Mona Monorail to Small World Clock to the abominable snowman to creepy WDW clowns.
Apparently in selecting @DisneylandToday, Disney didn’t go with @todayatDLR, yet another account they acquired (but never used).
When @DCAToday started on June 15, 2012, besides being a little amused by the similarity in name to mine, I was worried that Disney would soon take over my account which I’d worked so hard on and built up to a respectable 15,000 followers.
It’s happened before. The account @Disney was originally taken by an early Twitter user named Cheri Thomas, but Disney seized the handle from her and changed her username to “@Disney___” without any communication on their part. Rude.
That’s not to say that I have a problem with @DCAToday – on the contrary, I like it a lot and I’ve had some very amusing conversations with whomever is sitting in a Cozy Cone, running the thing. I hope @DisneylandToday is just as entertaining.
Social media is constantly changing and evolving. By creating more and more official Twitter accounts, Disney gains tighter control of their brand message. That’s not a criticism – Disney’s PR department is extremely good at what they do, and they’ve got the power to make it happen. In this case, I only wonder what took them so long.
@DLtoday has been a fun experiment and it helped launch me into my career in social media. I still think “Disneyland Today” is a great Twitter name, and apparently, Disney thinks so too. Things are gonna get confusing now, unless I change the name to something else in the future. But I’m grateful that Disney has spared my account.
Stay tuned tomorrow as we officially launch @DisneylandToday. Don't forget to follow the magic!—
Disneyland Today (@DisneylandToday) December 10, 2012
You don’t mess with the mouse. But I’m glad the mouse didn’t mess with me.
Most of the fun I’m having on Twitter nowadays has migrated to my newer account, @DLthings. Follow along for discussion and future updates!