With the month of October coming to a close, many members of the press corps are now changing their names back to normal, thank God; however, many of their “spooky” surnames were quite catchy and creative. Cue the usual, goofy, corny jokes. Names such as “Caleb SkHull,” “Booe! Gabriel Simonson,” “Grim Creature” (Jim Treacher), “Scarin’ Ross” (Erin Ross), “Actually, It’s MehGyver’s Monster,” and others similar to these have taken the Twittersphere by storm.
Many of the aforementioned characters are reporters or writers to some extent. It seems that most of their “takes” for the month of October have been harder to understand while they tweet behind their own chosen pseudonyms. Many of those who follow Twitter regularly for information and breaking news understand this issue. This has not only caused a heightened intensity within the Twitter community, it has also been a catalyst for great confusion among other writers and readers alike. Some reputable sources have completely changed their names to get into the spirit of Halloween.
For example, two well respected reporters for the Guardian, Alex Hern and Sam Thielman, have changed their names on Twitter to “Pumpkin Spiced Hern” and “Swam Thingman,” respectively. Both of these names are utterly confusing to the public who follows them for the information they put out. This leads to the ultimate conundrum: what, or who, is fake news at the moment? Nobody knows. Not even the New York Times! The Times published an article containing the wrong name of a free-expression activist and later published a correction stating, “An earlier version of a tweet in this column misstated the name of its writer. As her Twitter handle correctly noted, she is ‘Jillian C. York’, not ‘Chillian J. Yikes!’ (That is a pseudonym she created for Halloween).” Interestingly enough, many reporters continue to change and edit their names despite the gaff by the Times.
The crux of the issue lies within the fact that no one knows who the heck is saying what. “Spooky Guy Jim” could be the famous reporter Jim Acosta from CNN, or he could just be some spooky normal guy. But say “Spooky Guy Jim” says something about the president. It’s an extreme inconvenience to look up which reporter is which when the reader may not even be sure who they are! So let this article serve as a warning for future Twitterites: stay alert, active and aware during spooky season.