Twitter has found a way with Edward Snowden—the man of the moment who doubles as a fugitive and is best known as an erstwhile National Security Agency contractor. He opened an account on the micro blogging site on Tuesday from Russia, where he is currently on exile. Within 24 hours, he has reached 1 million followers.
Best known for leaking massive surveillance secrets of the US government, Snowden is clearly not just a speck in the digital world anymore. And his handle seems to be as uptight as he is @snowden. His Twitter bio says: I used to work for the government. Now I work for the public.
The whopping followers’ saga
Right after he opened an account, Snowden attracted 171,000 followers—all within one hour and by the time the day was half way through, this followers’ list grew to 740,000. That speaks a lot about the fan-dom this man enjoys.
Ironically, Snowden is following a single account—the National Security Agency. Snowden even went so far as to tweet, “Meanwhile, a thousand people at Fort Meade just opened Twitter”. Fort Meade is the NSA’s Army base in Maryland.
Snowden’s first tweet read, “Can you hear me now?” A rip off from an advert of a cell phone provider seen on television, Snowden’s first tweet alone saw 25,000 retweets within one hour.
Some individuals who seem to support Snowden believe he is a classic whistleblower who lifted the lid off the excesses indulged in by the American government. However, the latter went on to file charges for espionage against Snowden. The government believes that he leaked intelligence information. Following all this, Snowden left USA in May 2013 and made Russia his home post grant of asylum there in the later part of 2013.
First reactions from Tweeple
The first reactions over social media to the Twitter account opening from Snowden have been positive. According to Thomson Reuters’s proprietary algorithm that scoured Twitter mentions or tweets about @snowden, it was revealed that there were 1,109 positive tweets against just 156 negative ones within the first hour of Snowden’s opener tweet.
Echoing popular sentiment, people around the world including IT analysts Naveen Maudgal from Ericsson, Noida and Anuj Jain from Oracle, Hyderabad, in India have labeled “Snowden as a geek and interesting man, instead of a traitor of sorts.”
During his initial hours on Twitter, Snowden also tweeted and retweeted exchanges with Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist and popular radio talk-show. Incidentally, Tyson had earlier suggested that Snowden must get on to Twitter while interviewing the latter on his show earlier in September.
In fact, now that the tweeting saga from @snowden has begun, we got to know that this man is interested in stuff such as the Martian water discovery as well as his work for the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He did mention his fetish for cat pictures amid so much, though.