Apple’s main Twitter account had some strange activity leading up to their big biannual Keynote event. Most folks who work in social media marketing are familiar with a dark tweet. For those who are not, a “dark tweet” is essentially a paid ghost tweet. The post will be shown to a select audience on Twitter typically including users who do not follow the account. That Tweet is considered “dark” because it won’t show up on the account’s Twitter timeline, or feed and will say that it is promoted material.
Last week, promoted Tweets from Apple were showing up for users. Not entirely surprising after the second quarter with low earnings this year, they’d want to promote their new slate of products and their much-hyped Keynote presentation. Also interesting is that these tweets have somehow gotten around the text indicator that usually appears at the bottom of a paid Twitter post saying that they are promoted, or paid content. If you Retweet Apple’s tweet, they even offered to send you a reminder tweet when the event begins.
Of more interest is some sort of API or feature hack on Twitter’s part. If a Twitter user retweets an Apple dark post, in addition to the tweet showing up in their timeline, they also get a personalized thank you reply, which also cannot be seen on the Twitter account. Retweeters also got an offer for Apple to send you a reminder tweet when the event begins. According to a tech writer, this functionality is not typical open API Twitter response-bot functionality.
On Keynote day, Apple sent out reminder Tweets before their main event. While there was some speculation that they might finally live-tweet their own event, it did not happen. Keynotes are typically live-tweeted by hordes of tech-writers and Apple enthusiasts and this one was no exception.