On TLDR #26, we talked to Buzzfeed's Charlie Warzel about what we can glean from people's non-textual online communication. Like their Twitter favorites, their Facebook likes, who they choose to follow on Instagram, and what it means to us common folk when a celebrity interacts with us online.
One enduring mystery of online celebrity interaction is the "Taye Diggs follow." He seems to follow both celebrities and citizens with no real rhyme or reason, and has gone from following a few hundred people to thousands in just a couple months. Not long after our episode aired, he followed me, PJ, On the Media, and TLDR. But why? Is it him? Is he #teamfollowback? Is he genuinely interested in what 45,000 people have to say on Twitter? Is it just some social media manager, or a bot? Well, we have the answer now, and we have Matt Lauer to thank.
Lauer asked Taye Diggs what accounted for his sudden uptick in follows. The answer is not surprising and a little disappointing.
“I mean, I’m embarrassed. Everybody was telling me I need to have more of a presence on Twitter. So I met with this dude that deals in social network, and he said, instead of focusing on always disseminating information, why don’t you focus on kind of using it as a ticker?”
Diggs continued: “So he gave me a bunch of people that I was interested in, from athletes to people in politics and just a whole bunch of people. And then he started following people for me. And now whenever I want, I can just look at my phone and just hear what’s going on with all these people.”
That's it. Not because of my hilarious twitter jokes. It's not because of On the Media's incisive media criticism. It's not because TLDR brings him new insights to the online world he inhabits. He did it because some social media guy told him to. Everything is pointless. We're all just frail meatsacks on a dying planet floating through an infinite void. And the Taye Diggs follow means nothing.