Is Conan using Twitter to sell himself to Fox?

Not only does he now have eight or more Twitter accounts, but the former "Tonight Show" host is ensuring that every move--including his tour--is Web-focused. Is this a negotiating ploy vis-a-vis Fox?

I don't know who decided that when it comes to the time for a brandy and toke, every American TV should feature a middle-age man with difficult hair sitting behind a desk.

Perhaps it was a middle-aged man with difficult hair who spends his whole day sitting behind a desk.

However, Conan O'Brien, he who made so many feel sad that he was being given a lot of money not to work, seems to have decided that he will become America's most future-focused, Web-aware middle-aged man who sits behind a desk.

Conan first wafted onto Twitter in February and he soon gained a following just for being, well, twitterish. In March, perhaps moved by his Twitter popularity, he finally decided to follow one random woman, Sarah Killen, in order, he claimed, to change her life.

Then he seemed to join Opus Twitteri, enjoying the pleasure of at least 8 separate Twitter accounts. There was @CoCosBeard, for example, a page that only follows the man himself, but makes jokes about Kirstie Alley. There was @ConansFreckles, which has become very involved in a show of muscle with child singer Justin Bieber.

And who could ignore @ConansMonkey, @ConansTaurus, @ConansSquirrel, @ConansSharpie and even @CoCosATMcard?

Oh, and then there's @ConanLiqrBeach. Those who claim to know, claim these are all part of the ginger one's burgeoning online communications empire.

TeamCoco.com in its current state.

According to the New York Times, these mere tweeting escapades helped O'Brien sell out his forthcoming tour that starts Monday in Eugene, Ore., without the need for any kind of 20th century ad campaign. I cannot imagine O'Brien will be sitting behind a desk, but I can imagine that, after each show is over, the Web will be filled with bons mots and brickbats, penned by staffers, on any one of Conan's online outlets.

You mean you have missed his "I'm With Coco" Facebook group? Then you won't know just how much love is being expressed for Guns 'n' Roses' guitarist Slash after he went on Jay Leno's show wearing an "I'm with Coco" button.

Coco didn't create this group. But its almost 1 million fans (or should one now call them "likers"?) tell him that perhaps it's an idea to keep in touch with it. Perhaps you are wondering why O'Brien isn't using ConanOBrien.com. It is owned by a squatter. However, he has created TeamCoco.com, a site that currently is only a vehicle for the tour. But for how long?

The thrust behind this sudden online amusement-bouche is reportedly an ambition to become the first middle-aged-man-sitting-behind-a desk brand to make the Web and TV dance together as one.

Some have wondered whether O'Brien might become a true revolutionary by starting a Web-only show. But the comedian and his handlers are surely, like Hugo Chavez, the sorts of revolutionaries who enjoy large, instant amounts of cash.

O'Brien can't be seen on air until September 1. But let's imagine that he might, just might, be in negotiations with, say, Fox. If he can show how powerful his Web kingdom has become--and how this kingdom might be used to shove the late-night desk a little closer to the 21st century--just imagine what an interesting and revolutionary negotiating tool he might have at his disposal.

 

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