How Bin Laden Can Boost Your Twitter Following

Osama Bin Laden Last night, while scouring Twitter in anticipation of the president's speech, I noticed Marc Ambinder's tweet about the Pakistani IT guy (@reallyvirtual - real name, Sohaib Athar) who had unwittingly live-tweeted the bin Laden commando raid (he lived nearby). When I clicked on it, Athar had 844 followers. I distinctly recall this because my first thought was, "Huh, exactly how many Pakistani IT guys does Marc Ambinder follow?" I still don't know the answer. But if you flip the question around, I can answer with confidence that Sohaib Athar has many, many more American journalists following him than he did 24 hours ago, and lots of other people, too. At last check, he's up to 70,500 followers, a Sheen-like rate of growth.

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Joshua Green is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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