There are famous first tweets, and then there is this one.
At the Central Intelligence Agency, it appears, the debut on Twitter arrives today with a characteristically cryptic comment that is officially a non-comment:
We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.
— CIA (@CIA) June 6, 2014
And then there are second tweets, like the one dispatched from Langley this evening following what can only be described as a successful social media launch: Zero to 250,000 — a quarter-million followers — in about eight hours on Twitter:
— CIA (@CIA) June 7, 2014
The certified account @CIA announced: “We are the Nation’s first line of defense. We accomplish what others cannot accomplish and go where others cannot go. — Langley, VA · cia.gov”
This week, it seems, the agency “expanded its social media presence with the launch of official social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook.” The trademark secretive agency invited the world at its website to join in: “Follow us on Twitter @CIA and on Facebook for the latest CIA updates.”
In the annals of debut tweets, the agency’s ranks with billionaire Warren Buffett’s:
Warren is in the house.
— Warren Buffett (@WarrenBuffett) May 2, 2013
Presumably, Langley will be more prolific than the Oracle of Omaha, who has tweeted just five times since his arrival on social media last year. Then again, the world’s third-richest man doesn’t have to say much — and he gets 839,000 followers.
When former President Bill Clinton made his debut on Twitter, he acknowledged one of his inspiring mentors: Stephen Colbert.
— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) April 25, 2013
Clinton has nearly 2 million followers, though he is following but 10 himself, and Colbert — @Stephenathome — is among them.
For his part, Colbert, with 6.5 million followers, is following but one: Clinton.
The CIA is making friends fast, with more than 36,000 followers on its new account early in the first afternoon of its no-comment commentary, attracting more than 110,000 by mid-afternoon and reaching 250,000 by evening. All within eight hours. (The following would surpass 500,000 by Sunday morning — less than 48 hours after launch.)
At its new Facebook page, Langley, with a nice portrait of the front door at its secret facility in the woods up the river from Washington, had close to 30,000 “likes” by Sunday. And a note of feigned sympathy from one follower: “I cannot imagine the junk the poor GS employee hired to read and update this web page will have to slog through. My sympathies to you. Welcome to Facebook CIA.”
A Facebook CIA-liker in Arizona jokes: “Wait, my phone just rebooted…”
With this outfit, people may be more interested in who the agency is following: 25 so far, including the FBI, Homeland Security, the NSA, the military branches and other intelligence agencies — and the White House.
If they’re following the Russians, they aren’t letting on here.
When they are ready to link in, however, Russian President Vladimir Putin has a strong site up and running @PutinRF_Eng. He has a lot of followers, too. Yet Putin, like Colbert, is following but one person on Twitter — in this case, himself.
Gotta wonder if the CIA was following this one:
— Vladimir Putin (@PutinRF_Eng) June 5, 2014