This morning shortly after 1 a.m., The Atlantic’s Associate Editor Marc Ambinder reached a pinnacle and couldn’t contain his gratitude. “Follower 10,000! Thank you, whoever you are. More than I deserve,” he tweeted.
Shouldn’t there be some sort of cash or frozen chicken prize for the 10,000th follower? A garbage bin perhaps?
“We do live in a society where people expect things for reaching arbitrary numbers,” Ambinder remarked in a phone call with FishbowlDC Tuesday afternoon. “If I could figure out who the person was I could possibly come up with a prize. But I’m against the concept of a prize. There is sort of a doucheyness of people who artificially try to drum up their numbers. I’d rather not offer prizes. Not to say everyone who does that is douchey.”
A note on his official duties (aside from Twitter fame): Ambinder curates The Atlantic’s political channel and is a contributing editor to National Journal.
“Obviously I don’t find myself all that interesting, so it’s incumbent upon me when you have 10,000 people who are going to read whatever you write instantly, whatever you tweet has to be interesting and add value,” he said. “I’m probably not going to be tweeting about what I’ve eaten for breakfast, or who I’m getting my hair cut next to.”
But who he gets his haircut next to is noteworthy.
A few days ago he was at City Life Barber in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood getting his hair chopped when he looked over to see actor Ethan Hawke nearby. “I’ll have what he’s having,” Ambinder told the barber.
Getting back to Twitter, Ambinder said he took a six-month break, not initially seeing its value.
Nowadays he uses it for everything from finding out what’s going on, to communicating with and acquiring new sources. “It’s a rolling news and analysis, a way to make your life more convenient,” he said. “It’s turning into a way that actually saves me time and obviously promotes the work I do on the Atlantic website.”
Ambinder says he keeps a second Twitter account for friends which he keeps locked. “You have to separate your personal from your political,” he advised.