It’s one of the greatest social media mysteries of our time: Why in the world is actor/Broadway star Taye Diggs following tens of thousands of random people on Twitter, (athletes, journalists, musicians, politicians, art therapists) most of whom have absolutely no connection to him whatsoever?
Finally, we have an answer — Diggs spilled the truth to Matt Lauer while on NBC’s “Today” show Friday morning while promoting his new TNT drama “Murder in the First.” The gist: Diggs hired a “social network dude” to do it for him. And the extended answer is exactly what you think it would be for a celebrity being pressured into social media when he really doesn’t care about anything on Twitter except basketball. (Seriously, he tweets a lot about basketball.)
“You’re also making news for this other thing you’re doing, Taye, let’s just talk about it,” Lauer said. “Back in April, you were following like 44 people, or something like that. You are now following over 45,000 people. Why are you doing this?”
Diggs laughed. “I mean, I’m embarrassed. Everybody was telling me I need to have more of a presence on Twitter. So I met with this dude that deals in social network, and he said, instead of focusing on always disseminating information, why don’t you focus on kind of using it as a ticker?”
Diggs continued: “So he gave me a bunch of people that I was interested in, from athletes to people in politics and just a whole bunch of people. And then he started following people for me. And now whenever I want, I can just look at my phone and just hear what’s going on with all these people.”
“Like over on the couch there, you’re following, by the way, all of those people,” Lauer said, pointing to a couch with “Today” co-hosts/correspondents Savannah Guthrie, Natalie Morales, Al Roker and Carson Daly. “Did you even know that?”
“Of course!” Diggs insisted.
“Oh yeah?” Lauer challenged. “What’s the last tweet you read of Natalie’s?”
Diggs dodged the question and tried to prove he actually did know one of them: “I’ve shared airplane seats with Daly!” he protested. “Come on, man.”
Somehow not posing a follow-up question about Daly and Diggs in one airplane seat, Lauer persisted. “What’s the goal? How far are you going to go on this? ”
“Honestly, it just keeps it more interesting to me,” Diggs said, confirming that he’s not trying to follow a specific number — he just wants to stay up to speed with the news.
Putting aside the fact that we’re trying not to be offended that a follow from Taye Diggs apparently means nothing, a lesson to all celebrities looking to expand your Twitter presence: This is the definition of going just slightly overboard to prove how “with it” you are with social media.