104-year-old Twitter user is for real, sort of. Just thank Geek Squad


Twitter users and tech geeks sure have a lot of time on their hands when they start attacking a 104-year-old Twitter user for being a fraud. That's been the buzz lately after several UK papers wrote articles about Ivy Bean, the oldest Twitter user.

But don't get so excited about reading Ivy's daily schedule, including attending art class, reading the morning paper and beating a nearly blind resident in Connect Four with some cheating. People are screaming that she is just a ridiculous PR stunt produced by Geek Squad for some free press. Well it apparently worked, didn't it?

MinnPost's Dan Haugen tipped us off to this strange story, which has the tech world up in arms about Geek Squad using this poor woman.

A TechCrunch writer accused the Geek Squad of cynically taking advantage of Ivy Bean for PR purposes and questioned whether a 104-year-old would actually type messages such as "Come and follow my feed."
Here is more of what TechCrunch had to say:
What none of these stories told you, however, was that poor old Ivy had not joined Twitter just because it was suddenly the talk of the old peoples home. No. She joined because home PC maintenance company Geek Squad signed her up, propped her up for a photo opportunity and press-released the hell out of it. And frankly I hope they paid her, or at least donated to her favourite charity because this is one of the most self-serving, cynical PR stunts I can remember.
Geek Squad is a subsidiary of the Best Buy Company and is based in Richfield, which makes this all the more interesting here in Minnesota. Whenever we think of Geek Squad, we think of the creeps that dig through your computer porn stash and save their faves for private time later.

Well Geek Squad responded to the allegations, claiming Ivy simply wanted to try the new technology after getting connected to Facebook a couple years back. They say they were simply helping her try some new technology and never hid their association with the woman. And they say she writes her own tweets and isn't some weirdo sitting in Richfield pretending to be an old woman.

We are proud to have reached out to Ivy Bean and get her set up on Twitter. With her permission, we also publicized her accomplishment to encourage other older people to get online.

In fact, I'm happy to share how this all came about. On Friday, May 15th we celebrated "Silver Surfers Day." This promotion started about 7 years ago to encourage older people to get online. We heard about Ivy Bean nearly two years ago, when she tackled Facebook as a 102 year old. We were impressed. We decided to seek her out and see if she would like to give Twitter a whirl. As it happens - she did! Ivy has a genuine interest in connecting with the world outside of Bradford and her residence. She is attracted to the simplicity of Twitter. We were thrilled to set up Ivy, but we were also excited to tell her story. After all, the point of Silver Surfers Day is to get older people online. This seemed like a great way to do it.

Phew. We're so glad we can now follow Ivy's life of pure old-person excitement without any PR guilt. Long live Ivy! Or high five to Geek Squad?