What’s the thinking behind the Betfair Poker Twitter feed?

If your Twitter feed is anything like mine, over the past few days it will have started to feature a number of puzzled links to the Betfair Poker account.

People started retweeting it to each other because although it’s clearly an official corporate Twitter feed, instead of trying to persuade its followers that they should be playing online poker, it offers a surreal picture of life in the Betfair Poker office and some curious philosophies.

Betfair Poker: not going for the hard sell

So what’s the thinking behind the account? Betfair’s international PR manager Richard Bloch reveals that the strategy for the account has been developed over six months — although it is only in the past few days that it has really started to take off.

Bloch explains: “It took us awhile to work out how Twitter worked. We realised people don’t want to be bored to tears with links to the website and bombarded with marketing, so we had to mix it up and provide information as well as something interesting.”

Bloch won’t reveal who is behind the majority of the account’s feed, saying he has sworn to keep it a secret, but does admit it is partly the work of an “author and comedian” — with contributions from himself and other Betfair staff. After a slow start, things are really picking up, with the account now overtaking the main Betfair Poker feed (which responds to customer questions and so on), with more than 7,000 followers at the time of writing.

As part of the appeal behind the account is the feeling that it is being written by a slightly unhinged Betfair employee who has been left unsupervised in the midst of a breakdown, will the revelation that it is, in fact, a corporate strategy, make it less popular? Some have said it reminds them of accounts like ‘@Shitmydadsays’ — the humorous rantings of an OAP as written down by his son and turned into a book and TV show.

Bloch isn’t worried that it will. “We won’t just switch it off and suddenly turn it into a selling machine. I don’t think that people want to be sold stuff on Twitter,” he says.

It’s prompted me to start thinking about corporate Twitter feeds and their tone, so if you’ve got any examples of feeds you think are really well done, or are very poor, please do let me know.