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Shaq is Really on Twitter, and He’s Following My Mom

I’ve had an account on Twitter for about a year now. For those unfamiliar with the site, Twitter is a social networking site where people send updates from their computers and cell phones about what they’re doing and where they are at any given moment. There have been plenty of faux accounts where people have posed as celebrities (there was a guy pretending to be Stephen Colbert early this year), so when I heard that basketball superstar Shaquille O’Neal had an account as “The Real Shaq,” I was skeptical.

Turns out, it really is the real Shaq. This story in today’s edition of theNew York Times confirms it. Apparently, O’Neal signed up for a Twitter account because an imposter had been posing as the 7-foot-1 center on Twitter and posting Tweets as “ShaquilleONeal.”

The Real Shaq's Twitter profile image.

In the New York Times article, O’Neal says, “Somebody out there was trying to use my language and trying to speak for me. Rather than have that happen, I thought I’d do it myself.”

Since opening a Twitter account early this week, Shaq has been Twittering like mad, sending updates about every hour. Here are some highlights:

Just wanna say i love kathleen hessert and phoenix suns girl, they introduce me 2 twitter,i love twitter about 1 hour ago from txt

I just got a my las vegas trike fixed by josh at az aces and eights on scottsdale rd about 2 hours ago from txt

Why does shane battier always were that golf masters jacket on the bench, lol about 17 hours ago from txt

Why is steve francis sittn on the houston rocket bench Thingsdat make u go ummmm about 19 hours ago from txt

As of this writing, Shaq has 3,721 other Twitter users following his updates. By contrast, Shaq himself is only following the updates of 49 people -- and my mother, who has a private account and goes by “Tweetypatra” on Twitter, is one of them. That should make my Mom -- who lives in a very small town in Northern Arizona and usually posts Tweets with inspirational messages -- very happy. Rock on, Mom. -- By Niki D’Andrea

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea