In June of last year, Conan O'Brien created a "Twitter Tracker" segment to poke fun at the popular micro-blogging platform. But those were the gravy days: Conan had just assumed control of "The Tonight Show" from former host Jay Leno, and everything seemed possible. Now, after a messy game of tug-of-war – much of it played out in public – O'Brien is gone, Leno is back, and Conan has taken up Twitter.
"Today I interviewed a squirrel in my backyard and then threw to commercial," Conan wrote in his inaugural tweet. "Somebody help me." Conan's feed – which is currently followed by more than 300,000 Twitter users, includes a simple bio blurb: "I had a show. Then I had a different show. Now I have a Twitter account."
Of course, Conan isn't the first late night host to blast Twitter and then take up tweeting.
Earlier this month, Scottish-American comedian Craig Ferguson – a longtime detractor of Twitter – created the handle @craigyferg. "I just retweeted somebody by accident," he wrote a day after launching the feed. "Sorry. My big sausage fingers are hopeless." A few minutes later, Ferguson corrected himself: "Btw big sausage fingers is a movie I accidentally wrote and produced."
But Ferguson has a show to promote. Conan doesn't. Will he keep up the tweeting?
Over at MTV.com, Eric Ditzian sees Conan's Twitter feed as an important step. "What seems to be happening is that Conan is creating the same sort of business machine that David Letterman did after his ouster from NBC in the early '90s," Ditzian writes. "Don't expect Conan ever again to put his fate and financial future so heavily in the hands of others."
So far, so good: In just 24 hours, Conan has about 10-times more Twitter followers than Jay Leno's tweet feed, which launched in April 2009. Then again, Jimmy Fallon has 2.4 million Twitter followers.