While whistleblower Edward Snowden has spent the last two years holed up in Russia, he’s hardly been silent. This month, he made an appearance on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s podcast, where he talked about encryption and aliens, among other topics. Now he’s made an official appearance on Twitter, but his first missive is hardly revelatory.
Snowden—whose leaked revelations included intel on the National Security Agency’s cellphone hacking and tracking activities—took his arrival on the social media site as an opportunity to make a cellphone joke. And it wasn’t just any cellphone joke—it was one your dad might’ve made. “Can you hear me now?” Snowden asked, citing the tagline of a Verizon Wireless campaign that has been airing in one form or another since 2002 and that has been the butt of countless jokes for almost as long. Yes, Edward, we can hear you. And boy do we wish you were cleverer.
Snowden’s message may not have been especially novel, but it was popular. Within a half-hour of going up, his missive had been retweeted more than 13,000 times. His account, which Twitter marked as officially verified, accumulated followers even faster, pulling in an audience of almost 70,000 in the same interval, and thousands more with each passing minute.
Snowden himself is far stingier with his willingness to follower others. As Alan Woodward points out, Snowden himself is only listening in on one account, the official Twitter feed of the NSA. And his second Tweet, a public nod to Tyson, suggests that he might want to emmigrate to Mars. Now that’s funny.