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You’re Too Slow: How Sonic The Hedgehog Won Twitter



Twitter is like a classic video game. Being successful at it takes thought, strategy, and a smidgen of luck. It’s fitting then that Sega mascot Sonic was the first in the world of games to master it.

His 140 character revolution began when the Sega-sponsored Sonic the Hedgehog twitter account got fresh blood. Until this point, the blue blur’s twitter handle was like most corporate handles, a soulless orgy of self promotion and crappy giveaways.

Then, new management took over.

As great tweeters do, Sonic’s twitter found its personality. The official Sega account now divides its time between chirping developers and fans, sharing memes, and basking in the glory of terrifying fan art. The result is as if some hedgehog-hat wearing fanboy hacked the account.

Don’t let the memes and Big The Cat Fishing 3 teasers fool you, Sega knows what it’s doing. With 140 characters, they’ve helped bring relevancy back to a franchise that’s fallen on hard times.

To the uninitiated, Sonic’s latest outings have been less than stellar. Like a washed-up rockstar performing at an airport-hotel bar, Sonic’s been past his prime for awhile. Unlike Nintendo, Sega struggled to bring its mascot to the next generation of consoles. Fans and critics alike have suffered through games that ranged from kind of average, to unplayable.

Sega was faced with a problem, how to market a game series that’s become synonymous for weird fans, and hilarious glitches. The solution actually came from the hedgehog himself.

Those old enough to remember, will recall how Sega made Sonic different. He was the anti-Mario, a super fast, wise cracker, who took nothing seriously.

This attitude manifests in the social media handle taking shots at various gaming groups. These range from chirps at other franchises, to bullying their actual fanbase. Just last week, Sonic took time out of his tweet filled day to “congratulate” and throw shade at the makers of the poorly received Mighty No. 9.Sample Tweet

Whoever the account is starting a war of tweets with, it’s usually a hit with it’s fans. Other companies have taken note. Accounts for Deus Ex and the Deadpool Movie dabbled in this concept recently. Although Sega isn’t the first to use this personality based twitter concept (Pete Zaroll beat them to the punch) they’re teaching a masterclass on how to do it.

Beyond simple tweets, the account has built up relationships with fan favorite gaming shows and sites. The biggest bond for Sonic’s twitter comes from the team behind the immensely popular Let’s Play Series, “Game Grumps.” The company is clearly not afraid to have shots taken at it, nor are they afraid to bring up past failures themselves. For every ad for the latest Sega mobile game, there are six gifs from Sonic 06.

The question remains, how will this affect sales? Can you sell a game through posting memes and making fun of bad fan art? Or, is Sonic’s Twitter just a good source for retweets? With the next entry in the franchise not far off, this bold marketing strategy will get a crack at bringing sales back to where they were in the 90s. Soon, Sega will have answers to many of the questions just asked.

Regardless of how good the next entry in the series is, Sonic’s twitter game is on point, even if sales numbers aren’t.

Will Barboza is a writer hailing from Kansas City, currently working and living in Chicago. Some of his favorite things include lunch, the Blackhawks, and the third person. When he isn't writing, he can be found selling his childhood possessions on Ebay.

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