Twittercism celebrates its second birthday today – that’s right, the very first post was made on February 19, 2009, the exact same day this domain was registered.
It was called “Can Anyone Catch Stephen Fry On Twitter? Here Are Five Celebrities Who Could.” You can read it here, and marvel at the general wet-behind-the-ears-ness.
Let’s face it: Stephen Fry’s numbers on Twitter are insane.
Sure, Twittercounter will tell you he’s the #3 most followed user on the network, but the reality is that the two accounts above him – Barack Obama and CNN Breaking News – are not run by a single person. Obama’s account is in the hands of his PR team, and CNN have God knows how many people working on their Internet output.
The reality is that of all the people that do their own updates on Twitter, Fry is #1. This also, by default, makes him the #1 celebrity, as he’s, you know, famous.
What I particularly like about that very-first post is the way it works as a time capsule. Fry’s followers chart is brilliant.
217,232 followers – like that was a big deal. And it was – then. Times change incredibly quickly. At the time of writing Fry has 2.239 million followers – ten times his previous total – but even that is small change compared to the current heavyweights of Twitter. Lady Gaga, Twitter’s current Queen, has almost four times that amount.
And Fry, who was Twitter’s #1 celebrity when Twittercism was born, now finds himself outside the top fifty on Twitter’s most-popular list.
Not that it matters at all. But it is pleasing to reflect.
What I also love about that post is only one of the predictions I made about who might usurp Fry as celebrity numero uno on Twitter has even registered on Twitter. And that was JK Rowling – and she hasn’t posted since September. The rest have, somehow, resisted.
But my absolute favourite part is this paragraph, where I attempt to identify why Fry was doing so well.
So: what do we have? A popular, already well-liked and intelligent comic who not only placed himself on Twitter, but engaged fully in the network and gave quite a lot back to the little people. Obviously Stephen writes well, and this goes a long way. Compare his average Tweet with somebody like Britney Spears or Mike Skinner. I mean, Twitter as a concept endorses the idea of the mundane update, but there’s a limit, you know? (In many ways, it’s become a great leveller of the celebrity; humanising them as we become shockingly aware how many of them cannot separate ‘your’ from ‘you’re’ and ‘their’ from ‘there’).
That closing sentence has proven to be quite prophetic – Twitter is an incredible leveller. It’s about as equal an opportunity as you can get.
I’d also like to add: it pleases me immensely that I’m still in touch with some of the people who were kind enough comment on that first post. That’s really what it’s all about.
Onwards and upwards.
(PS. If you feel like giving Twittercism a birthday present, I’d love to hear about your favourite post(s), particularly anything that helped you out or made you look at things in a new or different way. Not because my ego demands such vindication – far from it. It would simply be both interesting and appreciated.)