What does Eminem have in common with the Dalai Lama?
Answer: they both follow zero people on Twitter.
Nobody. Nada. Zilch. And they never have.
Twitter is an open, public network, which means that, because anyone can contact anybody else via the humble @mention (or reply), theoretically, and on paper etc etc, you don’t actually need to follow a single person to allow conversations to take place and the tweets to flow. And celebrities like Eminem, of course, get plenty of attention on Twitter.
But… surely everybody can find somebody they want to follow. Whose tweets they want to read. Who they, you know, like. So, from where I’m sitting, flat-out refusing to follow anyone at all, and clinging to that zero, comes down to one thing, and one thing only: good, old-fashioned arrogance.
These two bad boys certainly aren’t alone in their non-efforts, but they’re notable that, despite very dissimilar paths in life, they’ve taken an identical approach to reciprocation on Twitter. Namely, they don’t do it. I mean, it kind of fits with Eminem’s “I am an asshat” demeanor, so we can maybe excuse him here, although you’d think he could have found somebody out of the 10+ million who follow him who qualified for a +1.
But his Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama? Nobody on Twitter is worthy of his attention? Not a single user could be found to bask in the glory of his gaze? After all, this is the same man who said, quote, “I feel that the essence of spiritual practice is your attitude toward others”. Which, I guess, means blinding ignoring them. Loud and clear, DL. Loud and clear.
Here’s the thing: if you follow nobody on Twitter, when you load up the Twitter.com homepage or your favourite client there’s literally nothing to see. There are no tweets to read. Your timeline is empty. In fact, you don’t have a timeline. You just have a line. The only activity you will see is on your own profile page. Which means that, for those that do this, and “engage” in this non-following pattern of behaviour, Twitter is a 100 percent, one-way broadcasting mouthpiece.
Like I said: arrogance.
Here are the 10 biggest zeroes on Twitter.
- Eminem (10,183,679 followers, zero following)
- Dalai Lama (3,969,710 followers, zero following)
- The Onion (3,689,747 followers, zero following) *
- Rev Run (3,462,299 followers, zero following)
- Stephen Colbert (3,314,597 followers, zero following)
- Robert Kardashian (2,984,494 followers, zero following)
- The Rock (2,593,141 followers, zero following)
- Women’s Wear Daily (2,002,097 followers, zero following)
- Zach Galifianakis (1,739,921 followers, zero following)
- Kathy Griffin (1,394,596 followers, zero following)
(Note: I’ve only listed profiles from real people and brands, not parody accounts or bots. But a polite hat tip to the zero-following Lord Voldermort.)
* The Onion used to follow a lot of people and, I believe, still holds the record for the single-biggest culling in Twitter history.