Final words: a eulogy for “The Tweet Hereafter”

What I learned from one of my strangest digital experiments

Michael McWatters
The Startup
Published in
7 min readJun 24, 2019



March 1, 2012

At 11:25 pm, Andrew Breitbart, founder of the arch-conservative Breitbart News, lobbed a somewhat nasty tweet at a perceived enemy. A short while later, he went for a walk in his Brentwood neighborhood, dog in tow, whereupon he collapsed to the ground. At 12:19 am, less than an hour after hitting Send on his final tweet, he was pronounced dead at UCLA Medical Center. Cause of death: heart attack. Breitbart was 43.

Breitbart, 18 days before his death . WikiMedia

Here for all eternity is his final tweet, his last public utterance, spelling errors and all:

After reading of his passing, I asked Twitter a question:

This led to a Twitter chat with Jamie Forrest and Daniel Jalkut where the idea of a site for notable final tweets was floated. One of us said we should call it The Twitter End, and I said, “What about The Tweet Hereafter?”

It was just idle banter, but as Jamie and I discussed it, we decided it would be an interesting experiment. I was excited by the design challenge while Jamie, an engineer, saw it as an opportunity to master Python.

I registered the domain and got started on research and design; Jamie started laying down some code. A few weeks later, we launched The Tweet Hereafter with a handful of final tweets including, of course, Breitbart’s.


What happened next surprised us.

It went a little viral.



Michael McWatters
The Startup

VP, Product Design at Max | HBO Max. Formerly TED. Better after a nap.