Robin Sloan, a San Francisco-based writer and technologist, is pretty well known in media circles as the former head of Current TV's internet operation. But Sloan's fame may rise to another level now that he has authored what some are calling a milestone in internet history: the five billionth tweet.
Last week, Twitter watchers noticed the service's counter was getting close to five billion, and Sloan appears to have hit the bulls eye with this epochal tweet: "Oh lord." It's our generation's "What hath God wrought."
A Twitter spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the companies tweet-ID system is sequential, which would validate Sloan's feat, but in the meantime, DailyFinance spoke to Sloan about achieving what he calls "the Pentagigatweet."
DailyFinance: How did you feel when you found out you achieved the Pentagigatweet?
Robin Sloan: At first I was confused. I was checking my @-replies and saw a bunch of French twitter users talking about "Le 5 milliardième tweet!"
But once it began to sink in, what went through your mind? Any epiphanies?
Then I figured it out, and confusion morphed into slight embarrassment, given that tweet five-billion was a two-word aside to a fake version of myself. After that, triumph. I mean, i realize it's arbitrary as much as the next guy, but those are nine zeroes! It's nice just to look at.
You're pretty well known in media circles. Are you ready for a new level of stardom now?
I can't say much, except that the pentagigatweet show is going to be like a cross between Project Runway, Top Chef, and Foo Camp.
Do you ever find yourself asking, why me? Why did I achieve the Pentagigatweet?
If it had been a normal tweet like "just ate cheese sandwich, yum" or "check out this New York Times story http://bit.ly/blahblah" then I think I would have wondered. But the fact that it was a tweet directed at a fake version of myself, created in real-time in response to a joke about issues of identity and trust on Twitter? Fate.
Has anything weird or unusual happened to you since you achieved the Pentagigatweet?
I have gotten approximately five billion emails saying congratulations. or, more properly: "congratulations?" I really expect the weird stuff to start after I delete the pentagigatweet, though.
Have you had any contact with Twitter? Did they send you a medal?
No. Honestly, they are probably too busy figuring out how to connect the Twitter API directly to the human brain to stop and enjoy the simple symmetry of a five with nine zeroes.
What are you up to these days?
I'm working on a book, through a site called kickstarter -- it's being funded by a community of backers who are pre-ordering copies. And it's a detective story, all about the intersection between the digital and the occult. So a freaky tweet fits in perfectly.
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