Thursday, September 10, 2009

Twittering Tony Hawk Pays Off

Today, Twitter told me Ellen was a new judge on American Idol, Garrison Keillor had a mild stroke (so now he might speak even slower?) and it earned my nephew Mikey a brand new bike from Mr. Tony Hawk.

For real.
Here is my Twitter time-line which lead to a happy fourth grader.
Around 7pm I was perusing Twitter when I saw that Tony Hawk, Pro Skater and video game character (whom I have personally done seriously screen damage too on many occasions) was going to hide his last Huckjam bike somewhere in the 760 area code. Tony likes to stash bikes, skateboards and small woodland creatures around San Diego and then lead his Twitter followers (better known as 'Tweeps' on a scavenger hunt to find the stash.
A little after 7 p.m. this evening he put up the clue: "There is a big "L" in Carlsbad, the first letter of the a place as you drive in. I hid a bike behind it. You're gonna have to walk a ways."
I quickly sent it to my sister over IM and then called her. After she figured out it was the sign outside of the Lego Land entrance she got Mikey in the car and off they went. Mikey kept calling me and I would check Twitter to see if anyone had beaten them to the bike yet. A couple times my sister thought it was too late, but since no one had claimed victory I told her she might as well drive to Lego Land and if they saw Tony Hawk she should have Mikey cry and maybe Tony could sign his forehead or something.
Then Tony posted a clue: "Hint: The L is made of small bricks. That's all you get."
Great, now all the people just hanging out in Carlsbad who just at that time checked their Twitter have the edge on my sister and Mikey who are still four miles away on the 5 South. I called her and told her the clue and she dug deep and found a new sense of purpose in life (not really, but if I didn't pep up the story you would have been out of here two paragraphs ago).
When I looked at his page that is when I realized that having 1,542,026 followers on Twitter must be really exciting but also a bit annoying and overwhelming at times. There were a lot of comments but none who had claimed to have found the bike, we were still in business (I have to say I am really proud of you for hanging in this long!).
Tony posts again: "& I didn't realize they were closed, so you kinda sorta have to trespass. Hopefully that makes it more fun. If U get busted, forget my name."
At this point I start to feel like a 911 operator fielding a call. I call Mikey back and tell him he's going to have to be the one that climbs over fences or run to get this bike because he's only nine and he can't be tried as an adult, again, in the same day. If Lego Land is closed this might be sketchy. In my head all I could see was bad to the bone dude's in their brown paneled vans hanging out by a giant "L" smoking off brand cigarettes, holding clubs and chains waiting to jump anyone who dare beat them to the bike whilst Tony Hawk hid in the bushes and watched the whole thing play out as he filmed it and then sold the footage to some underground website and use the cash for more bikes to hide again, a sad cycle indeed.
Happily that didn't happen.
What did happen is that My sister, Amy and nephew Mikey got there right in front of another car and both ran like they were being chased and found the bike. Mikey promptly got on it and rode right past the nice Carlsbad Police officers that rolled up on the scene. Reportedly second place got a ticket for trespassing..bummer, her sister must not have been giving her guidance from home.
Amy snapped a picture of Mikey on his new bike and emailed it to me and I promptly posted it saying: "FOUND IT! You just make Mikey very happy Tony! Cops came and everything. Score, whoo hoo." along with this message to Tony I attached a link to the happy boy and his bike.
The awesome and kind of scary part was when Tony Hawk 'retweeted' my post and in a matter of minutes the link got thousands of hits. As I write this it has received over 8,000 views and that's hilarious but also interesting. When you have 1,542,113 following your Tweets and you post a link I guess 8,000 of them clicking on it is not that big of a deal. In fact, it's kind of poor numbers percentage-wise. But for someone who on average gets 5 - 50 visits a day to her site, 8,000 views to a picture on her 'twit pic' account in a brief window is to say the least, impressive.
What did I learn tonight?
I learned my sister is an awesome mom for dropping everything on the word of her little sister to go on a scavenger hunt for a bike hidden behind a giant 'L' for her youngest son.
I learned that there are still celebrities that can have fun and do small things that people will always remember. I also learned that having someone with 1,542,113 followers link to your site plays havoc with your web stats.
I learned that my 243 'Tweeps' who follow me deserve more scavenger hunts from me but have to wait until Mikey let's me borrow his bike.
I learned that since Lance Armstrong and Tony Hawk are BFF's on Twitter, that means there is a good chance @LanceArmstrong looked at that link that @Tonyhawk posted and saw the picture and I just want Lance to know if he happened to glance at the picture next to the one Tony linked too, my hair does not usually look like that. I think the picture was taken after a long training ride, I mean a run, I mean I was sweating cause I had just finished off a box of donuts, back off Lance!
So thanks Tony Hawk. You made a nine year old happy and pretty much guaranteed he would have the best Show and Tell story in the class...FOREVER.! "The night Tony Hawk almost got me arrested."