It's been just over a week since the CIA's first tweet took the Internet by storm, and their newfound online popularity shows no signs of slowing down. Since tweeting: "We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet," @CIA has gained over 600,000 followers and, at the time of publishing, has a Klout score of 78, good for several dozen free business cards. But hidden amongst the sea of manual retweets from BuzzFeed contributors, is there a more sinister side to this seemingly harmless government agency?
Melanie Parker, an Uber driver from Seattle, doesn't think so. She can't wait to see what else the CIA has in store for its followers. "When I saw the first tweet, I was like, 'Whaaaat? Did the CIA just tweet that?'" Parker said, giving me an incredulous look. "But then I was like, "Hell yeah, they did. Wow. That's a win.'"
Brooklyn bike courier Jordan Nunez told me what he liked about the first tweet was that it referenced the mysterious nature of the CIA itself. "Like, they couldn't confirm or deny if it was actually their first tweet, just like with all their clandestine operations. It was a reference to all the stuff they do," Nunez said, proud to have figured it out on his own.
But just who came up with the tweet in question? No, it wasn't Jason Bourne, from the Bourne film franchise (The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum)! The CIA retained the services of Tgthr, a nearby social media agency. Michael Garneau, Tgthr's founder, believes they are at the forefront of an online revolution.
"First of all, yeah, our name is like the word 'together,' only shorter, and harder to pronounce," Garneau told me over coffee. "And yes, the CIA's first tweet was my idea. And it's only the beginning."
Garneau painted a vivid picture of a world where the CIA dominated not just Twitter, but Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Vine. Truthfully, this writer wasn't convinced. Really? This secretive, extremely well-funded organization was somehow going to infiltrate several huge, public social networks? All aboard the Crazy Express! Next stop, Implausibletown!
And yet, maybe I had it all wrong. I sat down with CIA Intelligence Analyst Bryan Daniels, who set the record straight:
"The CIA, when you get down to it, is [redacted]. And when it comes to Twitter, [redacted], even [redacted] for God's sakes, we're always [redacted]," he told me, shifting in his seat. "We're not some omniscient boogeyman, hiding around every corner. Hell, [redacted] like [redacted] @TacoFucker48?"
Daniels' prescient points stuck with me. It seems Garneau was right—the CIA was one day, eventually, at some point in the future, going to become an unavoidable online presence. And, quite frankly, if that means more epic viral wins like their first tweet, then I say bring it on, fellas!
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