On Monday night, Stephen Colbert hosted former president Bill Clinton on his show and decided to drag him onto Twitter.
There’s now an account for the former president — @PrezBillyJeff. (@PresidentClinton was taken, as was @RealWJClinton, but @PrezBillyJeff was completely free.) Its bio notes “I am President William Jefferson Billy Jeff Rodham Clinton. Stephen Colbert is my BFF.” Its location? “The Clinton Globe.”
The first tweet from @PrezBillyJeff, dictated by the president and tweeted by Colbert, read “Just spent amazing time with Colbert! Is he sane? He is cool!
How do we feel about this?
In the great S-curve of Twitter Adoption, I wouldn’t have guessed that President Clinton would fall behind the pope. President Clinton’s job is to remind us how much better things were in the 1990s. So is the pope’s, but he omits the ’19.’ If Clinton stays on Twitter, and doesn’t change the bio, he would be the first ex-president to run his own parody account. George W. Bush isn’t on Twitter, nor is his father, nor is Jimmy Carter — although his library is. That’s how immortality works these days — get in on your own joke, and you will never starve.
Still, it’s interesting that Bill Clinton is such a late adopter. Twitter has more than 500 million users, although the number of monthly active users is closer to 200 million. And they all were there before Bill Clinton. Chelsea’s been there for a while. Heck, Chuck Grassley was there before Bill Clinton, with his enigmatic tweets about leaving deer for dead. It’s strange to see Clinton as someone on the other side of the digital divide; he claimed, as MSNBC.com noted, to have sent only two e-mails when in office. Two! That sounds absolutely paleolithic. The ’90s really were 20 years ago, not the 10 that I’ve been desperately assuming for the entire past decade.
Well played, Colbert.