“$#*! My Dad Says” and the Power of Twitter

May 20, 2010  |  Twitter

If you’ve been a little disconnected from the Social Media world, chances are you haven’t heard of the latest Twitter phenomenon coming to a TV show near you this fall.  It’s called “$#*! My Dad Says”.  The new show, starring the great William Shatner, is based on a Twitter feed begun by struggling writer Justin Halpern, who explains, “I’m 29.  I live with my 74 year old dad.  He is awesome.  I just write down $#*! that he says.”  And that $#*! is laugh-out-loud funny.  Did I mention?  Halpern’s Twitter feed has more than 1.3 million followers.  Yowsa.  So how did he make the jump from Twitter to Television?  Let me tell you… (More…)

Halpern’s dad has a witty and/or biting and/or hilarious come-back for just about every situation you can imagine.  And each one of these zingers is posted  on Twitter.  Take a look and prepare to laugh.  I’ll warn you in advance… You won’t want to laugh sometimes… the humour often crosses the line.  But trust me… you will laugh… and hard.

What makes it all so fascinating is that this is the first time a television show has been inspired by a concept that started on  Social Media.  The programming execs already know they have a guaranteed audience of more than a million viewers… and word of mouth on Twitter and Facebook is sure to take it viral.   Oh, and there’s a book, too… which is bound to be a runaway hit.

How many more television shows and books and t-shirts and bumper stickers will Social Media spin off?  The sky’s the limit, I’d say.  If you want to see what Justin Halpern’s dad would say, check him out at twitter.com/****mydadsays.

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4 Comments


  1. Oh but yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist… but he seems to slide down the chimney of multinational corporations and media conglomerates more than anyone else. ;-) At least in this case, he also slid down the chimney of Justin Halpern, who is sure to reap bags and bags of cash from his brilliant concept. You have the right idea, my friend! Let’s launch a social media revolt and swear off the TV show in favour of the Twitter feed. I love Shatner, but I agree with you that maybe, just maybe, the watered down for prime time TV version will pack a lot less punch than the wild wild social media west version. I wonder what Justin’s dad would say about that? Ha!

  2. I think it’s another jump on the band-wagon of popularity and make a few dollars while it lasts.
    S**T My Dad Says is a brilliant idea. I have followed it daily almost since the beginning. (I think he had less than 300,000 range of followers at the time) But it does prove that social media plays a huge role in business media. This will draw viewers which will in turn draw advertisers which will draw dollars. And so the cycle goes.
    That’s why it was picked up. Not for it’s sheer brilliance but for it’s sheer ability to exploit popularity perpetuated by social media.
    Congrats to Justin for finding his slice of the pie (and he deserves it) but the reality of it is is that television cannot highlight the twitter pages extremely raw and funny quotes because the f-shot is in almost every one of them.

    I guess your column is on the power of Twitter. And powerful it is. But it also has the power to change. S**T My Dad Says will take poetic license, add the laugh track, “fluff” the live audience for applause and become the same drivel we’ve come to know and snort on mainstream television.

    Once television reaches the levels of social media awareness and honesty instead of trying to take social media’s positive aspects and pimp them out with their own spin as an original idea then television will regain its respect from me. For now, I’ll follow the Twitter page, minus the commercials they’ll be trying to shove down our throats to pay for the bounty they had to give Justin for coming up with an idea to fill a time slot.
    I probably sound tainted….it comes from working in media and finding out daily their is no Santa Claus.

  3. John – You make a great point. Doesn’t matter where it starts, it has to be a rock solid idea. In this case, I really do think the 1.3 million Twitter followers must have held a lot of sway with the TV execs. Can’t you just see the dollar signs dancing in their eyes around the boardroom table? Saw an interview recently with one of the stars of “The Big Bang Theory” suggesting that the critics hated the show when it premiered three years ago. Now, it’s #1. Imagine the head start “$#*! My Dad Says” will have out of the starting gate with all the Social Media buzz! Thanks for weighing in, John!

  4. I agree that already having the followers behind Sh*tMyDadSays probably helped sell this idea to TV, but it IS pretty brilliant – and had it begun as a meeting in a boardroom with TV executives WITHOUT the proven audience, it may well have not made it to TV right away…but I’ve been reading this guys’ stuff for a long time, and whether it’s real, partially real, or completely embellished, one thing is for certain…most of it is really damn funny, and I think – although I admit it may have taken longer without the proof of success on Twitter – it would have eventually made it to TV, anyway…whether on the strantgh of a great-selling book, or on a TV executive understanding the market.
    My point? I guess it’s that it still has to be a good product, no matter where the seed is planted – but it’s great to have the social media options to increase the chances for success.

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