Why was fake Warren Buffett Twitter trite advice so popular?
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Why was fake Warren Buffett Twitter trite advice so popular?

Benign to five

The real Warren Buffett did not offer banal advice to the Twitterverse.

The real Warren Buffett did not offer banal advice to the Twitterverse.

Photo: AP

A couple of Saturdays ago a Twitter account called @warrenbuffet99 began tweeting to the world what was variously described by news outlets as ‘‘life advice’’, ‘‘self help’’ messages and ‘‘major words of wisdom’’.

The tweets began to gain momentum and had become a minor sensation when that great paragon of good sense and fine taste, Kanye West, retweeted one and sent the whole thing viral. By the time Twitter shut the account down, presumably because the owner didn’t explicitly admit they were not Warren Buffett in their bio, it had more than $250,000 followers.

What happened? Why did these tweets take off?

If people actually thought it was the famous American businessman (who already has a Twitter account and rarely uses it), they were either exceptionally incurious or a touch dim. The owner spelled Buffett’s name incorrectly, was tweeting numbered lists (often all in lowercase) and in one case used the words ‘‘Here’s what’s cool’’.

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So it must have been the content. The philosophical guidance advised followers to ‘‘adopt a beginner’s mindset’’, ‘‘meditate/pray’’, ‘‘spend quality time with family’’, ‘‘wake up and smile’’, ‘‘have energy’’ and ‘‘take short naps’’.

We can only assume Twitter turned off the lights before it got to ‘‘comfortable flat shoes are always on point’’ and ‘‘chew your food’’.

In among the trite drivel there was, admittedly, some basic common sense and even some good advice.

‘‘Don’t be impressed by social media’’ and ‘‘distance yourself from people who waste time’’ were strong but self-defeating. What could be a bigger waste of time than offering people vapid, obvious and condescending ‘‘life coaching’’ slurry via Twitter?