Who is Faisal? Better yet, what is Faisal?
Well, Faisal is a young man from Jakarta, Indonesia who is presumably not as noteworthy as an individual as he is as a memento of the moment when Twitter got weird.
Like many of the other Deadspin commenters, I use Twitter both as a means to trade witty barbs with likeminded assholes and fulfill my desire to destroy what's left of DUAN.
This past Friday, I tweeted what is italicized below. (Warning: should you not want an influx of new Twitter followers, the information below may depreciate your social media experience.)
_these 'pay for followers' schemes are absurd. If i buy 1000 followers, you'll notice. Why can't I buy 12? _
November 8th, 2013, from my Motorola Razr
It was intended as a commentary of sorts concerning the existence of Pay For Followers schemes and the audacity of purchasing a large, round sum of followers. The day I made the above comment, I had 350 followers who were for the most part legitimate and decent, lest their desire to read awful tweets. Saturday morning, I had 1650 followers, having magically gained an exact 1300 all at once, at approximately 4:00am ET. Since then, 70 followers have fled for greener pastures or been suspended by Twitter.
Some of the Deadspin regulars, with lives as pointless and vacuous as my own, took notice and demanded my magical secret, which was not so much a case of magic as it was dumb luck. Others soon made precisely the same tweet and hours later, noticed massive spikes in their followers. For a handful, it didn't work, for others, the spike was staggering. Somehow StuartScottsEye is hovering around 11,000 the moment this was written.
To be perfectly honest, having 1300 new followers - many of whom if not all are either bots or part of some silly foreign Twitter circlejerk - feels cheap, and despite not actually paying for them, a doubtless sense of 'cheating' is inherent with such a change. So cheap that I've started blocking some of the accounts that are clearly bots or unattractive older women to regain whatever sense of pride and brand recognition I once had in my social media presence.
As trivial and self-aggrandizing as Twitter can be, it also has its good days - Sharknado, Longoria walk-off HR, etc - and the introduction of the aforementioned Faisal with the subsequent follower spikes fostered a veritable orgy of laughs and back-patting. Faisal started following a bunch of the Deadspin guys, many of whom copied and pasted the above tweet, becoming the symbol forever associated with this weird glitch.
Like the Beatles before him, Faisal's popularity skyrocketed. His charm was infectious, his smile a beacon of truth, his broken English a reminder of the worldwide appeal of a bunch of internet commenters/dads/misfits/assholes stifling laughter on their iPads whilst telling their wives they were reading the newest Franzen word abortion or checking the Nikkei. A blog was discovered. Photos were altered and memes were created, culminating in a maiden interaction with a man who seemed so distant, but as an image of a fucking weird time, at arm's reach.
The point of this is not to let everyone in on a secret or to worse, mock Faisal, but to consider how trivial and pointless many of the things we value in life are. His e-friendship has been accepted with open arms, understanding that Faisal giveth, Faisal taketh away.
credit to @RJWinfield and @marmolheater for the images that cannot be repurposed or reproduced without the express written consent of Faisal.