SPOILER ALERT: This post has nothing to do with China, or anything of any global significance. Unless you think the meaning of the universe is globally significant. OK, there’s no discussion of the meaning of the universe either…
On a very regular basis, I think of trivial questions that I would love to know the answer to. On a less regular basis, I expend some little time and energy actually looking for an answer to those questions. On the odd occasion, I find an answer that is interesting enough to make a mental note of or actually tell someone about.
Recently I was wondering, who has the most followers on Twitter?
As with many trivial questions, the Internet provides encyclopaedic and hotly contested fora in which one can browse ad nauseam for skerricks of intelligible prose that seem vaguely plausible and maybe, just maybe, weren’t written by a sweat-sticky middle-aged man with corn kernels in his beard hitting ‘Refresh’, with the single-mindedness of a South Korean gamer, on ‘Yahoo! Answers’ at 2:30am.
Indeed, Yahoo! Answers seems at once to be an information-sharing website for the trivially inclined and an e-stage for a richly charactered absurdist black comedy in which each user plays his or her connected but ultimately deeply isolating role. Allow me to illustrate with some questions posted to the website today in the space of sixty seconds:
Teddy: “I need a hardshell case for my Fender Malibu CE. Help?”
TMD: “What do you think about Indian people?”
Kyle: “What is your favourite medium action fishing rod and reel combo?”
Rebecca: “Does Justin Bieber have Facebook?”
Beth: “Why do I keep getting a blister around my conch piercing?”
The Stereotype: “Why are there a lot of short people in mythology?”
Stella: “Is my face oval, long, or oblong?”
Juan: “Is it gay if I check out guys?”
Jill: “Pisces male and Libra female?”
Rihanna: “I need new friends!! Please help?”
My heart is rent into pieces by Rihanna’s desperation. I am shattered by Kyle’s plea for companionship from the lonely depths of technical expertise. I am on my knees with wonderment as Stella self-referentially draws our attention to the ever-evolving connection of signifier and signified, prompting us to ask ourselves, “What is oval?”, “What is long?”, What is oblong?”. I am gobsmacked as The Stereotype forces us to examine our own views of reality, furrow our brows and ask, “Can a construction of allegory, nay, let us be frank, a fictional character, be short or tall? In what units does one measure the stature of the gods?”. I am genuinely unsure of why Beth has pierced her mollusc shell and what metaphorical depths she is plumbing in her lament…
…Where was I? Oh, yes, who has the most followers on Twitter?
Thankfully, I didn’t need to spend any time being addled by the profound ramifications of ‘Yahoo! Answers’ to answer this question. Someone conveniently made a whole website or two to cater to my musings.
To do away with my initial inquiry so as to free the mind for more revelations yet to come, it turns out that the super-mega-star Lady Gaga holds top spot on the followers leaderboard, her every twiccup being immediately transmitted to no less than 9,436,152 Twitter users. In bieberish pursuit comes none other than Justin himself, only 520,000 followers behind and out-tweeting Lady Gaga each and every day. Taking out third and fourth in a near tie is the two-piece cultural tour de force of 21st-century America, Barack and Britney. After which, it’s all American celebs for the rest of the top 10: Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, Ashton Kutcher, Ellen DeGeneres, Taylor Swift, and Oprah Winfrey. We could say a number of deep and insightful things about this top 10 but you can do that for yourself I’m sure.
What really grabbed me is that Australia’s very own Kevin Rudd has staked his own claim to Twitter fame. It’s not how many followers he has (though on that count the Foreign Minister chalks up a respectable 392nd place), nor the fact that he remains (correct me if I’m wrong) the most followed Australian tweeter (yes, even more listeners than Hugh Jackman), but that he actually follows the 18th most people amongst all of Twitter’s millions of users. Ear ever straining to the voices of the Australian public, @KRuddMP follows a hefty 268,050 other users. Wow. What a dude.
Not really sure of how to conclude yet another piece of public-interest analytical gold here at The China Line, I would simply like to note that the incorrect pronunciation of the term utmost as upmost has really been getting on my nerves of late. I feel a public awareness campaign is long overdue.
***It should be noted that while Kevie has more followers than Hugh Jackman by a good 200,000 or so, Jackman finds it unnecessary to follow any more than 31 people himself. He’s just that badass***