Jesus was born to tweet, or so it seems. He was after all something of a dab hand at pithy aphorisms. But just what would he tweet? Jesus: @thepeacemakers bless you! If you can think of any better ones, put them on twitter with #historytweets — we’ll give a free subscription to Prospect for the most original. Can’t say fairer than that.
But would you follow Jesus on Twitter? It seems you would according to our new Twitter poll of 2000+ people in the UK (carried out by YouGov). Jesus wasn’t, however, the most popular—we are, it seems, a far more nationalistic bunch than that: if British people could follow any figure from history on Twitter, they picked a national hero with a talent for speeches considerably longer than 140 characters—Sir Winston Churchill. How might that go? winston_c @adolf_h We will fight you on the beaches.
The poll tested a cross section of the 11% of British people who use Twitter—an estimated 5.5m people—and compared them to the rest of the country, revealing that while they have a strong liberal bias in their politics, their heroes are in fact conservative, by today’s standards at least. Churchill topped the list (34 per cent), with Jesus (30 per cent) and Darwin (28 per cent) second and third respectively.
Churchill was most popular among potential Conservative voters, men, the over-35s, and the English. Jesus, meanwhile, came first among Labour voters and Scots. But the two are a statistical dead-heat with Liberal Democrats, women and the under 35s.
Women, sadly, fared less well. Elizabeth I would only be followed by 17 per cent of those polled—a shame, as I’m sure she would have had some scintillating court gossip—while Joan of Arc was selected by only 8 per cent. Tellingly though, women were much more likely to follow female figures over male.
A top tip for eager Twitterers today looking to up their following, is that most people would rather follow someone inspiring than evil—with Jesus, Martin Luther King (24 per cent) and John F Kennedy (23 per cent) comfortably outscoring Adolf Hitler (14 per cent) and Jack the Ripper (13 per cent). Hitler, however, still holds a special fascination for men and the under 35s—Channel 5 producers take note!
So, if historical figures had twittered,…