Champ Superstar, one of the better-known Twitter personalities in New Orleans (@ChampSuperstar), has long been a follower of @Sweden — the northern European nation's official account, which is run by a different Swede each week. Now Champ (who declines to reveal her real name, saying she keeps her Internet persona separate from her day job) has launched @BeingNOLA, a new Twitter account modeled after @Sweden — but for New Orleans.
People outside the city get their idea about life here from sensationalistic national news accounts, the HBO show Treme, or glitzy tourism campaigns, she said. Why not let them hear about it from actual New Orleanians? "Nobody uses Twitter the way we do," Champ said. "A lot of other people [elsewhere] use it for promotion. We use it a lot for discussion," adding, "There are a ton of interesting people here."
Unlike @Sweden, which is run by the country's government, @BeingNOLA is run by Champ (she has followed @MayorLandrieu and a few other official accounts, but says she hasn't gotten any response). She hasn't set any formal criteria for picking the weekly tweeter, but already has an entire summer's worth of applicants lined up. The first volunteer is Chris Boyd, founder of the IT start-up Apptitude and a recent transplant to New Orleans.
"I was really afraid it would just be my friends, but a few people have already volunteered that I've never heard of," Champ said. "I want to get outside the people I follow on Twitter. I want to get people I've never heard of." — ROBERT MORRIS | UPTOWN MESSENGER