When ‘That Person’ Follows You

So it’s 3:02 on a Saturday afternoon and your day’s becoming defined by the soft-baked oatmeal raisin cookie you’re eating and a feeble attempt at escaping a TV One marathon. The whole  weekend is ahead of you!

There are birds chirping in the trees (somewhere). There is brunch to be had (somewhere). There are midday cocktails to be sampled (somewhere). Basically, there’s much more to do than what TV One is offering. After all it’s just reruns of those old school black sitcoms no other network would put into syndication.

One can onlywatch ‘Amen’ so many times. Yes, yes yes, it’s the episode where Thelma gets cold feet before tying the knot with Reuben – A truly pivotal episode in the series’ arc. Things were never the same after that, and everyone in the congregation looked at them differently. It was the turning point your great aunt always points out to you right before she nods into a bourbon-induced nap with her head cocked sideways.

Today, though, there is much more to do. Today is about the triumph of leisure and reclaiming the happiness that you pawn off Monday through Friday for a paycheck. Mind you, it’s the beginning of the month and there’s not much of that paycheck to go around. Regardless, this is your time, and maybe somebody wants to host an impromptu brunch at their house.

In the interim, you’ve been making a day’s work out of what normally keeps your mind occupied while you’re at work: Twitter. A couple of people have stumbled across a few Gabby Douglas .gifs and made them the latest weapons in their games of Twitter shade. The insults may be subpar but the gifs always seem timely. This meme even seems to have photoshopped itself into some of the President and First Lady ones. A side eye and frowned lip, in triplicate, asks “Why you mad doe [sic]?” It’s an instant laugh.

Then, it happens.

The phone beeps.

The e-mail arrives and there it is. ‘@[redacted] [Insert Funny/Slutty Twitter Name Here] You have a new follower.’ You scroll down and it’s him! It’s that person you followed just in hopes that you could gawk at a stray iPhone bathroom pic of them. That person you hoped would be just as attractive on Twitter as they seemed to be from afar, even though you’ve never physically met them.

Oh, but the fantasy of it all. The way you followed months back and had a sexual innuendo-laced chat with a few friends about it the minute you clicked the follow button. Social media has a way of doing that. If they’re famous then we ignore the fact that an intern or a publicist monitors (or completely runs) the account. That’s not important. What is, though, is that they have that all-important blue check and we’ve been assured that it’s really connected to them (read: it’s really them, squeal!). Most of the time it’s not even someone with significant celebrity status; it’s just Twitter being itself and turning the world into a huge high school cafeteria where we ignore why we hated that place and behave like snickering sophomores at the cafeteria table.

On this lazy Saturday, relative poverty doesn’t look bad. So sitting there at the ‘nerds and emo’ table after having gotten the pass note that So-and-So saw you in the hallway; surprise sets in. Then maybe a squeal happens with a contented sigh. Then a brief panic sets in as you look at the note (read: look over the Twitter notification e-mail again), realize it’s their handwriting and wonder how to respond.

Do you post a ‘welcome tweet’ on your timeline? Is it a flirtation? They didn’t send a flirt or “don’t be a stranger” DM, so how do you know it’s not just something they’ve done at random? How did they find you? The questions keep coming as you conveniently forget to notice how much you’ve found extremely non-inventive ways to waste your time. What should the welcome tweet look like? Maybe you shouldn’t mention them in a tweet and just play it cool. So after a few weird rough drafts of a tweet (the writer holds back vomit for having just written that) you send out something real generic like “Yay! New followers @[redacted]” nervously.

Then the issue of what to do with this new follower births even more issues: did they read my timeline? Do they know I like to live tweet C-SPAN just as much as going on a ranting analysis of Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta? Do they know how crass I am and how many conversations on my timeline start with “then he said ‘let me see your dick’…”?

This goes on for a few minutes, and then you get a call from a friend inviting you to gallivant around town and be poor together. You agree, rush off to shower and figure out what in your closet is laundered and wearable. After the key turns in the lock of your front door you get in your friend’s awaiting car. “So what’s going on?” he asks. “You’ll never guess. @[redacted] is following me now!” you beam. Then, out of nowhere, the high school cafeteria chat starts again as you check your Twitter feed.

Joel is a native of Queens,NY raised in Atlanta,GA and currently residing in Oakland,CA. As a new writer and music buff his distinct background informs his unique perspective. This background includes a great deal of experience in the healthcare industry as a medical interpreter/translator and advocate for lower income families. His interests focus on further promoting gay men from all areas of the African diaspora.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=45002402 Jack Iesson

    I laughed out loud. Another well written article. Maybe it’s late but I’m liking these recent pieces. Anyway, “social network” is increasingly becoming a misnomer. We’re becoming far more anti-social as we retreat into our internet personas. Still, it’s better than nothing.