I was the voice of Punxsutawney Phil on Twitter for 5 years

February 1, 2014 — Leave a comment

For five years I was the voice of the the world’s most famous groundhog on Twitter, building a community around the prognosticating marmot and driving Groundhog Day buzz.

Phil’s tweets were shared on-air on The Weather Channel and Good Morning America, covered by The Washington Post and Huffington Post, and published in 1:1 interviews with Urlesque and Mashable.

Punxsutawney Phil Twitter 2009

Punxsutawney Phil Twitter 2010

Punxsutawney Phil Twitter 2011

Punxsutawney Phil Twitter 2012

Screen Shot 2014-02-01 at 9.54.56 AM

screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-9-46-03-am

Every year I would write up a recap post, with a closing paragraph offering the account to the Groundhog Club and/or VisitPA, who organize the Groundhog Day events.

As I detailed in these posts, I wasn’t trying to negatively brand jack the fiesty marmot. People expected Phil should be on Twitter as early as 2009, and by 2014, they assumed he was. Heck, it was a public service! Although each year I explained that I would gladly hand over the keys to the account with no questions asked, I never heard anything back.

Instead, this week the @GroundhogPhil account was suspended with no reason given. I submitted two appeals claims but heard nothing in response. Since it’s Groundhog Day Eve today, and a Saturday, I’m not anticipating getting the account opened in time for tomorrow’s big day.

So, I’m moving on. It was an an amazing experiment in culture, brandjacking and engagement. And an example of why it’s critical companies, brands and individuals proactively stake out their online reputation.

For now, I’ve added this feat to my LinkedIn profile, and for the first time in 5 years, I will not be setting a 5 a.m. alarm to tweet as a groundhog on February 2.

Punxsutawney Phil recap LinkedIn Greg Swan

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