Being @britain on July 4, 2015

Online fireworks display, year three


  1. I signed up for Twitter in 2007, late enough to be user number 7,160,892, but still somehow early enough to get my first name as my twitter handle [@britain]. This was fine and largely uneventful for the first couple years of twitter, when everyone else who signed up was pretty tech savvy.
  2. As Twitter began to catch on with the larger society, in the wake of the Arab Spring and an increase in tech-interested celebrities signing on, I noticed an uptick in followers with whom I had nothing or no one in common, and I started getting tagged in tweets intended for my namesake, the United Kingdom of Great Britain, "Britain" for short. Mostly activists and people making general commentary about the weather or politics.
  3. And then there's July 4, when the United States celebrates its independence from said kingdom and many users take to Twitter for some good-natured[?] taunting. These tweets, also, come to me. If I were smart I would not engage them and just turn off notifications for the day...
  4. One other thing different this year is the new "Quote Tweet" feature, where your response appears right alongside the tweet you're retweeting. This looks great on the Twitter website and in most savvy Twitter apps, but Storify hasn't quite caught up yet. So I've included the original tweet plus my response below.
  5. This year the fun started early with this poignant two-parter.
  6. I was born on an Army base in the South and have never been to England. My parents wanted to give me an uncommon name, but I have been a mostly-pretty-proud American citizen all my life. This is how I looked that morning.
  7. And this is what I woke up to:
  8. Time to get ready to march in our town's Fourth of July parade, as this Britain does, every year.
  9. That @unitedkingdom account has been suspended! So disappointing. I wonder what they did.