Great white shark joins Twitter and becomes an online star

18 May 2015

Despite Jaws setting back human/shark relations by decades, one great white shark dubbed Mary Lee is closing the gap with her very own Twitter account of 52,000 followers informing us of her whereabouts.

While the shark definitely doesn’t know about its new-found online fame, many are beginning to know of her after one news reporter based on the east coast of the US decided to have some fun with one of the hundreds of sharks currently being tracked by the marine research organisation, OCEARCH.

According to The Guardian, the organisation has had no input into the account, which has tweeted puns and comments such as, “Sometimes we get together to share a whale of a meal. -;()” in reference to one Twitter user asking if sharks spend much time together.

Speaking of Mary Lee and her Twitter handler, OCEARCH’s expedition leader, Chris Fischer, said it could only help in promoting awareness for the organisation and the lives of sharks: “They’re really clever, they really like sharks and they’re on a mission, so we’re just kind of rolling with it.”

Certainly not jumping the shark

Based off Mary Lee’s success, the organisation has now set up two official accoutns for other OCEARCH sharks with @Shark_Katherine and @RockStarLYdia the two latest newcomers to the tweeting shark scene. Meanwhile, the handler of @MaryLeeShark has since spoken to the media, under anonymity, to talk about why they felt the desire to give Mary Lee a shout-out. “The recent explosion of followers has been a lot of fun, but also like a second job. I do everything manually – no robo tweets,” he/she said to the Associated Press. “The best part is that (@MaryLeeShark) plays a role in helping to replace fear with facts by retweeting and commenting on @OCEARCH tweets. I (try) to be respectful of the important work OCEARCH does and have fun at the same time.” Fans of Mary Lee are certainly happy about the account with one follower, Teri-Drake-Floyd, saying it raises much awareness for the species: “People need to think about them not so much as a predator and something to be feared, but more as something that needs to be protected.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic