Dan Treadway has only been to South By Southwest once, and that was two years ago, when he was a senior studying political communications and was writing for both The Daily Texan and the Texas Travesty. But his limited experience at the festival hasn’t stopped him from keeping more than 3,600 Twitter followers in the loop with his parody account, @SXSWPartyzzzzz, on the many fantastic parties that aren’t actually occurring at next week’s festival.
The account, which mocks popular accounts like @sxswparty, provides just barely plausible updates on nonexistent events.
“An unkempt Steve Buscemi will be shirtless while pickling onions on the roof of 21st Street Co-op! RSVP by being spiritual, not religious,” read a March 1 tweet from the account.
On Feb. 26, a tweet from the account advised followers to “RT to RSVP for Animal Collective’s piccolo and whisper-only concert being held in a man-made desert of Cool Ranch Dorito dust on 14th St.”
Treadway, who currently works as an associate blog editor for The Huffington Post, seems to have hit on the humor in the festival’s cooler-than-thou attitude.
“I think it’s impossible not to find it a little ridiculous,” Treadway said of SXSW.
The @SXSWPartyzzzzz account, a little ridiculous itself, has advertised everything from a “makeshift artisan pinata store on Cesar Chavez” run by Microsoft and Etsy to a crowd-sourced documentary on zebra mussels promoted by “Jessica Chastain and hologram Lou Bega.”
Treadway manages the account with fellow UT alumnus Ross Luippold, a former contributor to the Texas Travesty as well as a current associate comedy editor at The Huffington Post. Neither Treadway nor Luippold has publicly claimed the Twitter account, lending an air of mystery to the writers behind the ludicrous updates and Microsoft Paint-quality icon photo.
Although Luippold previously managed a parody Twitter account where he posed as President William Powers Jr. (which, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education, was shut down by Twitter at the University’s request), Treadway is a novice as far as parody Twitter accounts go. His inexperience hasn’t harmed the popularity of the account, which has gained more than 3,600 followers since it was started three weeks ago.
“I honestly never expected anyone to really read it,” Treadway said.
As for the sudden popularity of the account, Treadway chalked it up to a series of retweets by Twitter users with more than 20,000 followers, as well as the conflicting feelings people have about SXSW.
“I don’t know if it’s even a matter of being super funny and fresh. I think the tweets can get repetitive,” Treadway said. “But I think it’s a matter of filling a niche. I think that people love SXSW, but dislike that they like it.”
Treadway attended the festival in 2011 and experienced the full range of SXSW emotions.
“I remember the first day, I was exuberant. It was this whole world full of possibilities,” Treadway said. “And then by Day 5 it becomes this zombie march of sorts. To some extent it becomes this corporate pissing contest for everyone’s benefit, because there’s all these free drinks and free everything.”
But Treadway cuts the festival some slack.
“Just the fact that there’s this place where people can have connections and have ideas and meet up is a very cool thing,” Treadway said.
He did not specify if it would be a cooler thing if Adele really were “launching breakfast tacos from a cannon on the steps of the Capitol,” as a tweet from the account on Feb. 27 suggested.
As for whether he’ll continue the account once SXSW ends, Treadway said it depends on whether he’s exhausted every possible situation and celebrity.
“I’m still striving for the golden moment when a large number of people take a fake event I tweet about seriously,” Treadway said.