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Cookie Monster storms Twitter as @sesamestreet gains a following

April 9, 2010 | 11:07 am

 Abby at WH 

Among the guests at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday were a host of characters from “Sesame Street,” including Elmo and Maria, who read a story to the children gathered for the occasion.

One fan favorite did not make an appearance, however.

“Me not invited to Easter Egg Roll at White House,” Cookie Monster explained on the official “Sesame Street” Twitter account. “Me okay wit dat. Me rather get invited to gingerbread house anyway.”

The droll posting, which was retweeted by more than 100 people, was in keeping with the tone of "Sesame Street’s" Twitter feed, which combines trivia about the children’s show with messages from the program’s well-known characters. It’s an example of how the show is aggressively harnessing new media to connect with the parents of its viewers. “Sesame Street” also has a popular page on Facebook and is adding individual pages for characters such as Elmo, Oscar, Bert and Ernie.

But the program’s Twitter account is generating the most buzz. As of Friday afternoon, more than 77,000 people were following “Sesame Street” on Twitter, an exponential leap from just 4,000 followers the account had at the beginning of the year. The program’s tweets generate a sizable number of responses, some from high-profile sources.

The most unexpected came in January, when Cookie Monster tweeted: “Sometimes Moon look like giant cookie. Must look into joining space program.”

A few hours later came the response from NASA’s official Twitter feed: “@sesamestreet Cookie Monster and those interested: Learn about how to join the space program at http://bit.ly/8ZDikz.”

“It’s incredible to me how it spreads,” said Christine M. Ferraro, a writer for the show who has been the sole person staffing the Twitter feed since it launched in November, in conjunction with the celebration of the program’s 40th season. ”I think part of it is that they are such iconic characters and so beloved. I think it’s just a great way to be out there with a level of humor that adults can appreciate.”

Ferraro, has been a member of the show’s writing team for 16 years, said she strives to pen updates in keeping with the personality of the characters.

“Some are easier than others,” she said. “Big Bird, being a bird, there are a lot of tweet jokes built in.”

Daniel Lewis, director of new media communications for Sesame Workshop, said he estimates that about half the show’s Twitter followers are reading out of nostalgic fondness for the characters, while the other half are parents whose children watch the program. Lewis said he keeps the show’s Twitter page up on one of the two computer monitors at his desk so he can monitor the messages directed at the show. “I’m a feedback junkie,” he said.

“Love the @sesamestreet tweets each day,” wrote one Twitter user Friday. “You know they have 77,000 followers. Guess we are all kids at heart.”

-- Matea Gold

Photo: Abby visits the White House on Monday for the annual Easter Egg Roll in a photo posted on "Sesame Street's" Twitpic account. Credit: Sesame Street

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