In the days that followed Ellen’s ‘oscar selfie’ being retweeted by 2.5 million people, it came to light that Michael Feeney of St. Ives (B. Sci, ’56) had, three days previously, posted the least retweeted photo of all time. The picture, taken first on Instagram and then posted to Twitter, captures the corner of Feeney’s dining room table, a plate stained by the remains of a runny egg, and a half-open window through which grey clouds can be seen.
He had not always been so notably unnotable. On a bi-yearly visit to their father in February, Feeney’s three sons explained how “tired” they were of Feeney’s “technophobia” (knowing full well that an email a month would save them the trouble driving from San Souci) and bought him a desktop computer and a refurbished second-generation iPhone. “It would give him something to do,” said the slightly resentful middle child, Andrew (no doubt embellishing his memory of Feeney beating him for breaking a window in ‘86) before unnecessarily reminding the other two of “how lonely he’s been” after their mother’s death last Spring.
After a week of futzing around with the new technology, Feeney took this photo on his phone and posted it to Twitter. His twelve followers, all spambots, saw but couldn’t meaningfully register his post. Instead, they continued to send him spam, which he cheerfully received, enjoying the ostensibly human contact and the promises of penis enhancement pills for cheap.