When driver Kasey Kahne hit the cone during a February practice in Daytona, the Twitterverse came to Orange Cone's aid.
"Kasey made a Twitter apology and I added about 1,200 followers in the next hour," he said. "It was insane."
Staying in character
For some, the prospect of interacting "for real" with followers is off the table.
"I am a bit like Banksy. Nobody knows who I am," said the man behind the foul-tempered @PigeonJon bird character, referring to the anonymous Britain-based artist. "If possible, I'd like to keep it this way?" he wrote in an e-mail to CNN.
Apart from that statement, Jon never broke character. Instead, he offered clues to his personality.
"I like Biscuits. I do not like Velcro," he wrote.
The person behind the wildly popular @BronxZoosCobra, which chronicles the "exploits" of a real-life snake that briefly escaped its enclosure at the New York City zoo, also declined to break character in an e-mail exchange with CNN. The account has more than 200,000 followers.
The strangest thing tweeted at the snake, its creator said, was a request for an endorsement from a high school student running for student government. "I endorsed him," she wrote CNN. "He lost. Snake bigotry at its best."
Online alter egos
Many novelty Twitterers with large followings are baffled by their popularity, which has led them to think about the relationship between the Internet and the real world.
"I have a feeling, and I could be wrong, that the people that follow The Orange Cone find it to be more 'real' than some of the drivers out on the track," its creator said. "They can reach out and in most cases get a response. And the fact that no one knows who it is -- which means it could be anyone -- just adds to the mystery and the enjoyment."
Added the man behind KarlTheFog, "I think people in the Bay Area like Karl because the fog was already a character in their lives. In a world that's becoming increasingly personalized, you can surround yourself with a cast of friends on the Internet that match your exact interests and sense of humor."
Being Karl has challenged him to think about sports, pop culture, and politics in ridiculous ways, he said.
"It forces me to be disciplined by sticking to a theme. Since my job isn't creative by nature, it gives me the chance to be as witty as I want."
Other Twitter users say that embodying nonhuman entities gives them the chance to create alter egos. "The Cone gets to say and do the things I think we all wish we could do," its creator said.
The man behind @WeirdHorse, a decidedly oddball stream of musings about, well, horse life, thinks he knows why his 137,000 followers appreciate his quirky humor.
"It's a breath of fresh air because it's not malicious," he said. "It's not forced out by a brand with an agenda or political motive and it's whimsical, throw-away and easy to digest. People respond well to that sort of thing."
Whimsical, yes. But let's be honest: @WeirdHorse may have one little agenda.
"The recent demand for Weird Horse T-shirts and mugs from my site ... has been another perk," he said.
What's your favorite nonhuman Twitter account? Sound off in the comments.