Homer Simpson, the four-fingered father on the cartoon, “The Simpsons,” is an active Twitter member. Simpson, just recently acknowledged by a Mashable article as a “must-follow” account, proves that life exists off the screen. The television screen that is.
On today’s most relevant screen, the computer screen, social media is providing a platform for television immortality. This is made possible through the idea of connectedness, where viewers are transferring what they see on the TV screen to the Internet in his or her own context. It may be through conversation or through the function of sharing. Homer Simpson, although just one character, is a representation of the 21 year old show. In a sense, he is a mini-brand within a much larger one.
Judging by the Twitter verified checkmark, it can be assumed that @HomerJSimpson account is being managed by the show’s writers. The posts, in the trademark idiocy tone, speak to a variety of subjects on and off the show. This shows dimension to the character as readers witness him interacting in a common environment. Some may be skeptical to the idea of a fictional Twitter, but to those familiar with personal branding tactics can recognize how it works.
Homer’s Twitter account runs off on the idea of brand experiences. As illustrated in the article, “Brand Experience,” the experience is constituted by sensory triggers and can be linked to brand loyalty. In the case of Homer’s Twitter, users who follow the cartoon are exposed to the character’s personality through the personalized tweets. Fans are able to relate and connect.The tweets are comical as well, therefore users are more likely to follow the account and re-tweet (as according to The Appeal of Reality Television to Teen and Pre-Teen Audiences). Therefore, the brand is spread organically.
The success of Homer’s Twitter may not directly coincide with an increase of television viewers, but it can be attributed to the successful retainment of fans. The humorous tweets are intended to trigger audiences’ memories as a way to renew a sense of pride and ownership over the childhood experience of watching “The Simpsons.” This is also known as cognitive dissonance. The brand isn’t necessarily increasing its fan base, but it’s certainly maintaining it. This is a key social media solution for keeping a brand alive especially one older than twenty years.