“Hey @nickbutler, it’s North Korea!”
A few years ago I engaged with North Korea in direct, high-level conversations on one of the the most secure international communication networks known to man: Twitter.
Back in 2010, North Korea launched an official Twitter account, @uriminzok. This was the first presence the secretive nation had on social media, and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun to get North Korea to tweet at me?” So, using Google translate I simply asked: “What is your YouTube account?”
One day later, North Korea responded — they sent me a link to their YouTube account.
So, North Korea tweeted at me. As far as I’m aware, I’m the only American to have ever been tweeted at by North Korea. Which is admittedly very, very strange.
The tweet almost certainly put me on an NSA watchlist. Around the same time, the spy agency began collecting data on social connections of US citizens to track “connections between intelligence targets overseas and people in the United States.” This tweet gives me a direct connection to North Korea, so I’m probably on the “people to keep an eye on” list. It also gives my Facebook friends and Twitter followers a second degree connection to North Korea … so, you’re probably on the list too. My bad.
A year after this tweet, I discovered that a Japanese blog — which has since been deleted — had looked rather extensively into the exchange. They wanted to know one thing: “Who is Mr. Nick Butler?”
This screenshot is the only remaining image of the blog post. Luckily, I sent excerpts of the post to a friend on Facebook shortly after discovering the article. The Facebook chat is still archived today (which is slightly unsettling), so I can share some of the things that were said in the post.
Ultimately, the blog looked at my brief exchange with North Korea and my background, noting my Twitter profile described me as “the senior editor of MovieViral.com,” concluding that I was a “movie lover.” The post also noted that I like politics. It went on to examine whether or not I had a “special relationship with North Korea.”
After reviewing my tweet, North Korea’s reply, and my subsequent reaction, the author of the article concludes that “Mr. Nick seem to be extremely normal American,” but went on to say, “Mr. Nick North Korea’s support is indescribably creepy.”
Well, there you have it folks. My support for North Korea is, according to at least one Japanese blog, “indescribably creepy.” But definitely not as creepy as the guy North Korea follows.
Originally published at www.sometimesweekly.com.