In his inaugural address on Saturday, Governor Andrew Cuomo called the New York state government “a national punchline.” And “the joke’s on us,” he said. Over the weekend, the joke was actually just on the new Gov. Cuomo as his fresh official website, which went live this weekend, unveiled his arsenal of social networks: Facebook, Flickr and Twitter. Except the link to the Twitter account, @NYGovernor, lead to nothing; it was not yet registered. “So I signed up, grabbed some images from the Web site and started following people,” Nicholas Fahrenkopf, 24, told the New York Times. Welcome to the big show, Mr. Cuomo!
First Fahrenkopf played his prank close the chest, tweeting some official sounding links like, “Signed my first executive order in order to increase the openness of NY Gov’t.”
But local watchdog NYC The Blog noticed something fishy: “@NYGovernor, did you write the bio on your new Twitter page, (seems in bad taste) and what happened to the @AndrewCuomo account?” At the time, it looked like this:
Then came the jokes. “Apparently there’s a typo on my homepage but to protest budget cuts the workers are dragging their feet to fix it- like clearing snow in NYC,” he wrote. And so on: “Someone asked if @sandrashm makes more than $200K and would benefit from the wealthy tax expiring…,” he said, in reference to Cuomo’s girlfriend Sandra Lee. “[T]hats besides that point. No new taxes!”
The self-inflicted prank even gained the attention of the New York Times, who seemed more than willing to poke fun at the governor on day two:
Aides to Mr. Cuomo said they had originally signed up for the @NYGovernor account but deleted it after deciding to use a different account, @NYGovCuomo. They said that the state’s Office for Technology had been asked to change the link before the Web site went online, but that Mr. Cuomo’s staff learned on Sunday morning that the change had not yet been made.
The link from the official website to the fake page was fixed “within minutes,” a spokesman said. “Oh yeah?” responded the Times.
As of 6:30 on Sunday evening, Mr. Fahrenkopf’s account still had more followers (470) than the real one (285).
As of 8:30 on Monday morning, the real Cuomo has taken the lead with 520 followers to the fake’s 503. Taking back New York, one small victory at a time.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 3, 2011