US professor mistaken for John Lewis: deluge of Tweets


John Lewis on Twitter

An IT professor from Blacksburg in Virginia has become a surprise internet hit, after getting mistaken for John Lewis on Twitter, and responding with incredibly good humour. Not even the enormous number of emails generated by the hit Christmas Bear and Hare advert have dented his good nature.

So what are his best responses?

A hit

The retailer's Christmas adverts have become something of a tradition, and thousands of users took to Twitter to congratulate the store on its latest installment last week, Bear and Hare.

However, many of them failed to contact the store, which goes by the name of ‪@johnlewisretail‬. Instead they mentioned the Twitter account of a professor at Virginia Tech, who goes by @johnlewis. After some high profile Twitter users made the mistake, and read his response, the story of one man and his polite Tweeting spread.

Journalist Rosie Millard accidentally mentioned Professor Lewis when referring to her story about the advert. This drew the Twitterverse's attention to Lewis. She said: "For anyone who has seen the @johnlewis ad..and wants to know the story behind it, don't miss my piece in Sunday Times Mag, Nov 10. He responded: "@Rosiemillard Although my back story is fascinating, I'm guessing that you were referring to the ad from the retail store @johnlewisretail."

Soon afterwards the Marketing Week editor said: "A perfect combination of nostalgia, sentiment and a great story." He responded: "I am a perfect combination of those things, but you probably meant the retail store."

Best Tweets

His Twitter account has been open since 2007, but he has only been Tweeting regularly since August this year. His Tweets are almost 100 responses to people who have mistaken him for the store, and are highly entertaining.

Among the highlights are:
  • In response to a Tweet asking about the evacuation of a store he responded: "‪@Angus_Duncan‬ I've never been evacuated. It sounds like it would hurt. Though maybe you were referring to the retail store."
  • "@Stitchless_TV‬ People do enjoy my bum bag, though I think you may have been referring to the retail store."
  • "‪@oddbohemian‬ ‪@TheVintageYear‬ I do look FABULOUS in feathers and grosgrain, but I have a feeling you were referring to the retail store"
  • ‪"@neilmat52‬ I wish I had 3 assistants, even lazy ones. Perhaps you were referring to the retail store. ‪@johnlewisretail‬"
  • "‪@richardbarley‬ I am amazing, and not just at Christmas. Though perhaps you were referring to the retail store. ‪@johnlewisretail‬"
He has since been contacted by the store, to thank him for his tweets. He has also garnered 5,686 followers.

Bizarrely the cases of mistaken identity don't stop here for Lewis. There are also a number of responses to people who have mistaken him for John Lewis the US civil rights leader who tweets as repjohnlewis.

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