The Making of an Overlord


You will begin by opening an account. There will be no ‘conventionally beautiful’ pictures in your gallery so you will use one of Tiger Woods. When the scandal breaks you will change this quickly to Chiwetel Ejiofor, who wan die?

You will try to think of usernames but everything you come up with will already be taken. You will look longingly at the three letter handles and snobbishly at those filled with numbers and symbols. Finally you ll settle on something with a few extra letters thrown in. Tundrrr isn’t your first pick but you can live with it.

Your handle will attract a modest following, but that is over stating things. You have ninety followers but you know that half are bots. You ll agree to all the follow suggestions, attaching yourself to the feeds of several celebrities. They won’t follow you back. Soon you ll have a sense of worthlessness.

You will consider closing the account. You will even close it briefly before resurrecting it just in time, nothing will change.

One day in a fit of existential boredom you will wander into your account settings and begin fiddling with possible name changes. No one knows your name or your face, you can be anyone.

You decide to be pretty young girl, unemployed and naive. You call yourself Tola and change your username to sexxxxygirl and find a black little known pornstar’s picture and affix it. Your header changes from a rural football field to a lush black and velvet boudir.

You unfollow all the celebrities and follow similar handles instead: bustyBerve, greedypunta, xxxxxfroreal, hotcreamyfun.

The first thing that stuns you is the decorum. In this dark end of the street, everyone is polite. Good morning tweets are replied with kisses. Everyone is boo, sweetie and baby. All bodies and indeed all booties matter and every one gets likes and share.

You are still trying to fathom this when a miracle happens.

You get followed. Not by bots and company reps but by real people all over the world. They compliment your hair, your nails, your smile. They want to meet you, chat with you, sit out and have drinks with you.

Over night they are 2000 strong and counting.

You don’t know what to do. You watch and wait. The numbers keep climbing, 3000, 4000, 7000! Your notifications are paragraphs filled with new handles, many you ll never know or acknowledge.

You decide to play along and see how far it can go: you make some flirting comments, you like some racy posts, you RT some things you shouldn’t have and the numbers just keep swelling.

No one is asking for follow backs, no one is asking you to turn on notifications. No one is asking you to follow and share to be be followed back. It looks too good to be true, but it is. You are a god by now, but you aren’t sure what to do about it.

The you ll meet Trix, or rather trixlickalot and she ll light up your rather dead DMs. She ll tell you all about herself while you equivocate between half truth and full disclosure. You are scared she ll run if she knows you are a guy, but you will keep the friendship going offering help, advice and sometimes money. Not a lot of money but enough to make her squeal and OMG and type thank yous filling your screen with emojis. You toy with telling her your name is Tunde and not Tola, that you are a 5″10 male not a 5″5 female but you send her memes instead.

One night, a post looking for influencers catches your eye and you know what you must do. You change your handle to Progress2019 and follow the political influencers of the day. You get a professional picture taken, properly airbrushed to show you at your most handsome. By noon your alert confirms that you have been paid your first installment of influencing fees.

Trix stumbles into your DMs full of questions hurt and betrayal. You are still composing some kind of explanation when you discover you  can no longer send direct messages to that user.

(She ll forgive you later but not after all kinds of middlemen, peacemakers and go-betweens are sent with entreaties.)

You ll sit back now and exhale. Congratulations, you are now an overlord.

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