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

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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

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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 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


THE STORY, VIA TWITTER THREAD (2020)

5 YEARS OF GROUNDHOG TWEETS


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Punxsutawney Phil celebrates his fourth year on Twitter, does interview with Mashable

I am the voice of Punxsutawney Phil on Twitter. I didn’t plan it this way, but I’m accepting it now.

As I neared the fourth year authoring the Punxsutawney Phil Twitter account (@GroundhogPhil), I cut my losses on attempts to hand the account over to the Groundhog Club and just went for it.

Read previous year’s posts and subsequent coverage here:

For 2012, it is clear the growing interest in animal based Twitter accounts (see @BronxZooCobra and @NYTChicken) amplified the general public’s interest in chatting with a forecasting rodent via 140 characters or less.

Building on three years of prognostication-related tweets, this year’s momentum was strong and resulted in even more big name coverage of Phil’s tweets. Like doing an interview with Mashable in character, for starters.

Again this year, The Huffington Post, The National Post, local media and weather sites again retweeted and/or referred to @GroundhogPhil’s tweets.

And the data was just tremendous. The RT’s were flying!!

In the spirit of good faith, I again offer up the account to the top-hatted groundhog bunch. However, given they’ve ignored this offer and opportunity for four years now, I’ve decided I’m happy to keep it until Phil predicts Twitter is a relevant audience for their event.

Long live @groundhogphil!