A US woman, with no interest in cricket, came to regret picking the twitter handle @theashes after she was bombarded with messages about the test match in Brisbane over the weekend.
The Massachusetts woman initially reacted with exasperation when her feed became overrun with talk of wickets, seamers and silly mid-offs. "This is not the account of the cricket match. Check profiles before you send mentions, its[sic] incredibly annoying and rude," said the woman, who usually tweets about taking care of children, knitting and movies.
Over the weekend, the as-yet-unnamed woman began to see the funny side of the inadvertent culture clash, her mood undoubtedly helped after offers to fly her to Australia and other endorsements as well as new followers came flowing in.
@theashes' follower count increased from around 300 to more than 6,000 over a few days while some of her new supporters began a #gettheashestotheashes campaign to send her to Australia. Qantas airlines offered to fly the young woman to Australia but she declined the offer, holding out for a ticket for her partner as well. She has yet to declare a preference for either England or Australia in the test series.
Sensing a commercial opportunity, and in the best traditions of US entrepreneurship, the woman began selling her own commemorative T-shirts over the weekend, printed with the legend "I am not a freaking cricket match", as if there was any doubt at this point. Proceeds were earmarked for the #gettheashestotheashes campaign.
Meanwhile the offers have continued to come rolling in. Vodafone, which is sponsoring the test match series, offered free tickets and a phone while a Ford dealer offered her the use of a car if she makes it to Oz before the test series ends with the close of the Sydney test match on 7 January, AFP reports.
It's likely the whole amusing culture clash first arose after Twitter users used her @theashes handle instead of a #theashes or #ashes hash tags, possibly due to a series of typos or in the mistaken belief that they were copying in an official feed on their messages. One official account is called @FollowTheAshes. ®