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Johannesburg will eventually need to give its badger a human assistant to reply to visitors’ questions for the account to remain relevant and effective in the long term.

“The honey badger: ferocious, relentless, extremely thick-skinned. Perfect for the position of social media manager at Johannesburg Zoo.”

The Johannesburg Zoo is hoping to enjoy a moment in the international spotlight after launching an innovative campaign that features live tweets from its resident badger and mascot, BG.

The twitter account @zootweetslive launched on June 14 and already has more than 8,800 followers. The project aims to promote the zoo as well as news and events to potential visitors.

The zoo’s introductory YouTube video sets the playful tone for the campaign. In its opening, it states:

Meet BG, the world’s first live tweeting badger. With the help of his high-tech enclosure, he’s proving what many twitterers have long suspected: that you don’t need opposable thumbs or a formal education to tweet up a frenzy.

The digital agency Hellocomputer, part of Draftfcb, set up motion-triggered sensors at several spots in BG’s enclosure. When the sensors are activated, one of thousands of pre-written tweets, which correspond to each area of the enclosure, are sent out. The system is wired to limit the number of tweets so followers aren’t bombarded with 15 images of BG snacking or playing.

According to SkiftSocial, BG sends out an average of 5.4 tweets a day and is active seven days a week. Despite the buzz created by the new account, tweets sent via sensors is a system sans engagement. BG sent 76 tweets in the past two weeks, but did not post a single reply or retweet in that time.

Johannesburg Zoo isn’t the first attraction to hand its social media account over to single character. Skift spoke to seven clever critters tweeting for destinations earlier this year and found that a single engaging voice created buzz and boosted attractions’ social followings.

Watch the full video explaining how BG became the world’s first live tweeting badger below:

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Tags: social media, south africa, twitter, zoos

Photo credit: Cameras track every move of Johannesburg Zoo's badger and tweet his actions to thousands of followers. Screenshot / Johannesburg Zoo

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