Everyone remembers their first. The slow burning excitement. Wondering with anticipation if your advances will be followed. The anxiety about whether you’ve chosen the right person. We refer to the first person you decide to follow on Twitter.
The first follow is a tiny window into a personality. Comedian Tracy Morgan’s first follow, for instance, was his personal assistant Kenny Pierce—a fitting choice for a man who needs supervision.
Gwyneth Paltrow let love be her guide. Her first-follow is @coldplay, the Twitter account of her husband’s band. Mandy Moore meanwhile went with producer (and Ryan Adams collaborator) Jamie Candiloro.
Bill Gates went with the "smart person’s" first follow: He chose Nick Kristof. Speaking of the Times, Maureen Dowd’s first follow was Tom Friedman, whose first follow was, you guessed it, Maureen Dowd. Get a room. Times executive editor Jill Abramson’s first follow was now-former executive editor Bill Keller. Bill Keller's was neither Jill nor his wife (he got to the bizarre, abandoned account of former Times spokesperson Catherine Mathis before either of them!) but ChanRobt, the Tory Anarchist (whatever that means). All proof that he really is not an expert regarding Twitter.
Oprah went with an obvious first follow, @AshtonKutcher, and yet still managed to surprise by not going the self-obsessed route and choosing @OprahWinfreyNet, or worse, Maya Angelou.
Sasha Grey humiliated herself more than usual and chose Questlove and Dave Navarro as her first two follows.
One infamous former TV star went with Bob Maron, his "media advisor" (aka "Tweet writer") and also a self-proclaimed juggler and watch salesman.
Conan went the absurd route and chose his solitary first-follow at random, a 19-year-old girl named Sarah Killen. ("I've decided to follow someone at random," wrote O'Brien. "She likes peanut butter and gummy dinosaurs.”)
The king of self-absorption, Kanye West, fittingly doesn’t follow anyone. Who has time to monitor a friend feed when you’re busy tweeting profound stuff like: “No seriously … I said my teeth are real diamonds… these are not fronts… I replaced my bottom row of teeth with diamonds.”
The hilariously humorless Vincent Gallo follows no one and is the author of one solitary tweet.
With the 2012 presidential election not that far away, we'd be remiss to mention the first-follows of some of the top contenders. Barack Obama follows thousands of people, so searching for his first follow will just crash your browser. (Friend-harlot!) The same is true of Michele Bachmann, but she does follow @ProfSarahPalin, who is most certainly not Sarah Palin.
On the true history of Paul Revere: "It's a story I like to tell about 3 bad brothers you know so well."
Bachmann is also among the 21 followers of one Hoot Crichton, “rightwing smart ass, self proclaimed oilfield trash.”
Here are some of the other Republican contenders’ first-follows.
Just figured out how this Twitter thingamajig works! And his first was…
Pawlenty went with @JasonMattera “NYT bestselling author of OBAMA ZOMBIES … and Steven Seagal enthusiast.” And then there’s his number two, “Bunny Ultramod, AKA Max Sparber… member of the pop punk band The Ultramods.”
America, I believe we are capable of selecting a national look other than "shlub."
Ingraham, Malkin, Cupp and Bruce… they’re like the Riot Grrrls of pant suits.
You chose Hannity over your own children!? The horror.
Schwarzenegger made your top 20? Really? It should be noted that Newt also follows that other great American actor, Gary Sinise. His second follow, however, was… BABY GOT MAC.
As Ayn Rand is dead, Paul settled on another cold aggregator or words, @breakingnews. Good Morning America pulls in at number two, the sensible choice for gold-standard-promoting, intellectual, news hounds with a taste for witty weathermen banter. Oh, and you knew there’d be some creepy Aryan publication advocating the four precepts of libertarianism: stinginess, guns, superiority, and more stinginess.
I’m not sure about your number ten, Mr. Cain… @binhajib looks a bit jihady and scary.
@NORML? @MarijunaPolicy? The Atlantic? Jimmy Wales? Reason Mag??? This is Republicanism? Where's @MatthewMcConaughey, dude? Well, close enough, his second follow is…
Robert Lanham is the author of the beach-towel classic The Emerald Beach Trilogy, which includes the titles Pre-Coitus, Coitus, and Afterglow. More recent works include The Hipster Handbook and The Sinner's Guide to the Evangelical Right. He is the founder and editor of FREEwilliamsburg.com.