The show The Office has a few characters with Twitter accounts. So does Glee and Heroes. Is it the actors doing those updates in character?
—Ehren, via Facebook
As much as I would love to believe that a robot from Caprica is available to answer all my questions about The Future in an alternate universe, no. There's a real person behind Serge—someone who, I am scandalized to report, has never lived on Caprica and who has, probably, never met the Graystones, much less an Adama.
So might that person even possibly be Eric Stoltz? Well...
There's an actual industry out there devoted, in large part, to blogging, MySpacing, Facebooking and tweeting in the voice of your favorite TV characters. (Heroes' Hiro Nakamura is over on the Yamagato Fellowship page, updating us on his trips back in time.)
The practice usually falls under the marketing campaign for a TV show or movie. To get that ball rolling, the movie studio or production house usually hires an outside company specializing in social media marketing. That company, in turn, may hire freelance writers, or use its own in-house people to channel the character in question.
Some characters' tweets are quite responsive, but other updates can take weeks or even months of planning and approval from several parties, including the social media marketing company, the network and the individual show or movie producers.
In other words, it might be more complicated than you think to write like Rachel from Glee. It also may explain why Rachel from Glee has had relatively few Twitter updates.
So does it pay to tweet like an imaginary person?
Perhaps. Writers may charge a day rate of a few hundred bucks, we're told by sources familiar with these sorts of deals, or get a couple hundred per post, depending on the gig.
No word on the going rate for Twitter updates on Caprica.