My short bio: Hello, my name is Declan Dineen and I'm a writer and a magician based in Glasgow, Scotland. In January 2013 I had a lazy notion on a Saturday afternoon: 'Wouldn't it be fun to try and meet everyone who followed me on twitter?' What happened next was 9 months of drunken nights, awkward chats, going viral, Daily Mail readers, Iranian TV, punks, politicians, magicians and 10,000 new followers.

I performed a show about it at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August which you can now see on youtube here:

I'll be around for a couple of hours from 4.30pm UK time (11.30am EDT, 8.30am PDT)

Ask me anything!

My Proof:

EDIT - This has been fun! Thanks! I'm just away out to get some dinner but I'll be popping back in later to pick up anymore questions.

Comments: 79 • Responses: 30  • Date: 

ItsMrBrown16 karma

What's your favourite colour? No, wait, that's a shit question. How about - who was the worst follower you met? There must have been at least a few stinkers in there.

liesformoney12 karma

As for worst, there honestly wasn't a worst and I know how disappointing that is. Everyone who made the effort to agree to meet up was a treat. I don't want you to leave disappointed though, so I will share with you the worst response I got from somebody when I told them about the project and asked to meet up.

Now granted, a bunch of folk didn't want to meet up and that is totally cool, I didn't want to press the notion onto anyone, but there was something in the way this lady worded her response that made me feel weird. This is what she said:

"Wow meeting all your followers sounds like an undertaking! I appreciate your friendship and interest to engage. Let's stay in touch here."

Now admittedly that isn't mean or bad, but there's something in the tone of it that I imagined her slowly backing away from me as she said it.

Admittedly it's a weird thing to ask somebody, but something in the response made me feel super creepy.

blacklight1243 karma

I was going to ask something related actually - has anyone unfollowed you after a meetup or a request for a meetup?

liesformoney5 karma

I think some people probably unfollowed me after a request, but it really is just a handful. People were surprisingly receptive to the idea.

liesformoney12 karma

You say that's a shit question, but honestly what's your favourite colour is a GREAT question. I used it myself! I met a bunch of people over Skype and I asked each person the same five questions:

What's your favourite colour? What's your favourite word? What's your least favourite word? What's your favourite swearword? How would you like to die?

The questions were a mish mash of questions from two of my favourite types of interview: Inside the Actor's Studio and Smash Hits!

Everyone can probably name a favourite colour, but why that is their favourite colour often sparks a whole other fascinating insight into a part of their life. So for me, the answer is blue. If I think about it, it's because I have blue eyes and I most often got complimented on my eyes, and on blue suiting me as a colour because of my eyes. This shows that despite being averagely attractive at best I'm stupidly vain.

The colours got cut from the show because I did supercuts of all the answers, and so had to edit out all the interesting chat, and a supercut of 'Blue, Blue, Yellow, Red, Green" just sounds like the instructions you'd give a blind person playing a Simon Says.

bongolemon14 karma

Did you have sexual relations with any of the people you met?

liesformoney18 karma

Only one of them.

bongolemon5 karma

Can you go in to details?

liesformoney13 karma


bongolemon2 karma

Everything ...

liesformoney30 karma

bongolemon you're not ready for everything.

javierro9 karma


liesformoney15 karma

I live in the UK and the majority of my followers do to so it really wasn't that big of a trek, I treated it like a holiday. I spent two weeks travelling the country on trains, with stop overs at the occasional followers house. Trains in the UK are ridiculously expensive but I still managed to do the whole thing for around £400.

As for the international people I cheated. As much as I'd have loved to have jumped on a plane to Hong Kong to meet some pals for a coffee, I just couldn't really justify it so I just used Skype.

I know how disappointing this is, but you know, reassess what you think is amazing. This is video chat! This is Demolition Man stuff!

mattb105 karma

Did you ever get scared something bad would happen when you met the people?

liesformoney13 karma

No! I talk about this in the show, as it was easily one of the questions that came up the most. Even if I did meet a total psycho, so long as I didn't die it would just make the story more interesting.

Plus, I have a pretty positive view of people. 99% of the people you'll ever meet are good people. They might be obnoxious or smell bad so you wouldn't necessarily want to spend a lot of time with them, but they're certainly no danger to you.

The scariest moment I had was in Derby, when at about 11 o'clock at night on my way to catch a train to Nottingham my phone ran out of battery. I can only assume this is what Sandra Bullock must have felt like when she was adrift in space. I was suddenly in a strange city in the middle of the night and my life rope had been cut. How the hell am I supposed to find my way to the train station now!

I just asked a guy and he got the directions from his phone. Mini adventure.

GaySunshine2 karma

I am staying in a new country right now without GPS. It is weird. I can legitimately get lost for hours.

liesformoney2 karma

Cool! Which country? It was one of the few times in recent memory that I was struck by just how much I rely on my phone for 'everything'. There's something quite exciting about it (which feels like such a pathetic thing to say. I'm living extreme, I didn't bring my phone today!)

MistakenChimp4 karma

Who was the most interesting person and why? Also have you seen that an Australian guy is stealing your thunder by going for coffee with his Facebook pals?

liesformoney12 karma

I talk about this in the show, but the most interesting person was a lady named Lesley. Mostly because I didn't expect her to have led the life she did. Neither of us had any idea why we were following each other, and I assumed (incorrectly) that she just had a regular job and a family. She reminded me of my mum you know?

Anyway, we got chatting and I asked her what she's been up to and her answer was: "I've just come back from a prison where I was teaching inmates to walk on hot coals and bend metal bars with their necks."

Wait, what!?

So it turns out this is what she does, she goes to rehab centres and prisons and teaches people these techniques to try and boost their self esteem.

It was a wild conversation: Taoism, Buddhism, the nature of existence. It's not the type of chat you expect to get into with a stranger at a train station cafe on a rainy afternoon. This was meeting that hooked me on the idea.

liesformoney7 karma

As for the Australian guy I've already spoken to my lawyers.

I'm kidding, I don't even have 'a' lawyer.

I don't think it's a unique enough idea that I'd be bummed about anyone else using it. Although if you're going to do it I think facebook is a bit of a cheat, since you likely know most of those people.

One of the reasons I used twitter was because it's one of the few social networking sites that encourages interaction between strangers. When I first got online in the 90s, I joined loads of a forums and would frequent chatrooms a lot. I remember how exciting it was going to meet ups in the real world and finding the real people behind the usernames. "So that's what crazyface123 looks like!"

The more social networks became the default way of socialising online, the less these kind of random encounters occurred, because everything became closed systems and real names.

Prior to 2001, almost every interaction on the internet was an interaction with a stranger, it was exciting! I wanted to try and recreate that feeling.

thecrazyface1235 karma

Then you never called again.....

liesformoney2 karma


PlayerSdk4 karma

  • What was the craziest meeting you had with a follower?

  • Did you meet any followers that you would like to hang out with again?

liesformoney9 karma

Honestly, everyone was totally cool and I have and would happily hang out with them all again.

Two spring to mind for craziest, one for coincidence and the other for excess.

Coincidence: I met a guy called Danny in Bournemouth and he was Irish and my family are Irish so I asked where he was from and it turns out he's from the same small town that my entire family are from. Mad coincidence. (Cobh is the place.) This was also my mum's favourite bit of the whole project. She was thrilled I met a guy from Cobh. "I probably know his mother!"

Excess: My first night in London I was meeting a bunch of people, one of whom was my friend Chris. I was staying with Chris that night but I was meeting a ton of people over the weekend so was hoping for an early night. Unfortunately Chris is a terrible influence and my early night became a lock in in a pub in Dalston where, at around 5am after god knows how much booze, I inadvertently started a magic-off with a guy.

Someone found out I did magic so I did a terrible drunken card trick and this other guy became inexplicably aggressive and tried to out magic me and did an awful coin trick and then we spent about half an hour doing terrible magic back and forth. Everyone else had lost interest by this point.

PlayerSdk4 karma

A magic-off sounds like the greatest thing ever. I just imagine two guys angrily staring at each other pulling doves out of their hats. Most doves win!

P.s. did your mom know his mother? This is important information!

liesformoney7 karma

She didn't! Although it is a small place so she must be at most two handshakes away.

Your imagination is a beautiful encounter. In reality it was two guys swaying side to side, staring at the cards in their hands saying: "wait, wait, let me start again, take a card - not that one! wait, ok, take a burp take a card."

g_34 karma

That's brilliant. My goal has been to keep my followers at an even par 72. (I'm 6 over.) How many was it? Did you speed date? Was anyone nearly as hot as their pic?

liesformoney3 karma

An even par 72? I don't get it? How do you even do that? Do you block people if you go over that amount?

I suppose speed dating is a decent analogy, but this wasn't a journey looking for hookups, that would be a whole other show.

To answer your question though: everyone was hotter.

mindyobiznuss3 karma

How many of your followers have you actually met in person? How many do you still have relationships with?

liesformoney14 karma

Does Skype count as 'in person'? If it does, 150. If it doesn't, around 115. You have to remember that this was just a lark, I thought it's be a fun thing to do. I only had around 160 followers when I started, but as it grew and I started getting more and more I realised I'd have to put a cap on it so it didn't become some Sisyphean task. 150 seemed like a nice round number, plus it is the Dunbar number, which is the maximum number of people you can hold in your head at once.

mindyobiznuss2 karma

I respect you for that. I think that is so cool. How did you do it? Just tweeted them and was like "Hey, wanna meet up?"

liesformoney2 karma

Exactly that. When sent out the first batch of messages I immediately regretted it, I was convinced everyone would think I was just some weirdo dickhead, but I was consistently thrilled and surprised by how responsive everyone was to the idea.

mindyobiznuss1 karma

That is super cool. You're super cool. fist bump

liesformoney3 karma


Nothing worse than a fist bump left hanging.

blacklight1243 karma

Hi Declan, did anybody you met come onto you when you met them? Unwanted or otherwise? :) Your show at the Edinburgh fringe was fantastic by the way!

liesformoney7 karma

Always with the sex chat. Can a man not meet strangers from the internet in a purely platonic way?

(thanks Craig!)

jacobsnemesis3 karma

Did you start off with any pre-conceived ideas about a certain group of people but came away from meeting them with a different outlook?

Did meeting any one of your followers change how you think about any aspect of your life?

liesformoney4 karma

I definitely had some preconceptions about specific people which completely changed when I met them. See my response to mistakenchimp for details.

As for changing my life? I don't think anything seismic, but my view of twitter and social networking certainly shifted a little. This is kind of a common thing now, but it had never really occurred to me at the time: pretty much all social media feeds are best ofs. A day to day highlight reel. It's really easy to sit and view twitter and facebook and be constantly bummed out by how much more successful/popular/interesting everyone else's life seems to be, but all of it is just the hits.

Nobody is posting: "Hey guys, well today I had grand plans but pretended I was sick and just stayed home, masturbated and played videogames and now I'm one step closer to the grave. #yolo"

grams2grammys3 karma

have you ever smoked weed with any of them? tell me about that experience

liesformoney14 karma

Are you police? If you're police you have to tell me you're police.

GranPrixTerry2 karma

Did you get nervous to talk in public when people staring at you on stage?

liesformoney4 karma

Not really. I've done the fringe a few times before doing magic shows so I was already relatively cool with talking to a crowd.

Plus, all I was doing was telling a story which, in comparison with doing a magic show, was a total breeze. Thing is with magic shows, there's a lot that can go wrong.

Example: I did a Halloween show one year in the basement of a bar here in Glasgow. This bar used to be a family run butchers shop, and back at the turn of the 19th century, the father murdered the son and kept him locked in one of the fridges. This has led to many of the staff to believe the basement is haunted.

This seemed like the perfect venue for a Halloween show, so I set one up. It was an intimate show, around 20 people, and we all sat around a table and I told them how the staff think the basement is haunted. I even made some staff give testimonials to the group to add to the creepiness.

The show itself was a bunch of horror themed magic tricks, and the big finale was a ouija board where we would try and speak to the ghost.

Here's what should have happened: We do the Ouija board, we ask the spirit questions and it responds! Everyone get's creeped out. Suddenly, glasses start to rattle, the piano begins to play by itself then - all the lights go out, we're plunged into darkness! People scream! The lights come back up and I've vanished!

Here's what actually happened: We did the ouija board, it worked! (it just does, ideomotor effect) Glasses shook, the piano starts to play. Crash! The lights go out! But not really into total darkness, just a gloom. Enough to see me sneakily shuffle away and escape through the fire exit. The lights come back up and yes I am gone, but the audience aren't amazed or excited, they're a little uncomfortable because that magician just ran away. Is he okay?

The worst part is, they wouldn't leave! I was already out of the building at another bar when I got texts from friends saying that the audience won't leave. I had to get the staff to go down and inform them that the show was definitely finished and there wasn't going to be a punchline. Oh god, I still feel sick remembering.

jjstemm2 karma

Anythin you'd like to share about the Glasgow smile?

liesformoney3 karma

You mean the welcoming smile of people in the friendliest city in the world?


Was there anybody who you meet who amazed you?

liesformoney5 karma

I met a bunch of magicians, so by definition they were supposed to amaze me.

k1nk2smamee2 karma

Of all of these meet ups, which one is the most memorable and why?

Still in touch with the person you hooked up with? Is there a chance of this becoming your version of Before Sunset?

Of the international folks you met on Skype, who would you want to someday meet for realz, and why?

liesformoney5 karma

Actually, I'll give another most memorable because this one was the one that changed this from a fun internet project into an international news story. A woman from the BBC emailed me quite earlier on and she seemed quite interested in the story. At the time, I had no idea how serious I was about it so I said she should follow me, and if I keep going then eventually we'll meet up. I ended up meeting her about 137 people later, and she recorded the interview for BBC radio. This radio piece then led to a piece on the BBC news website, which then led to news stories around the world; including German and Middle Eastern TV.

MistakenChimp4 karma

You were on middle eastern tv?? How did that work?

liesformoney2 karma

You can check it out in the video here:

But basically, the story of me meeting people on twitter went viral, and it ended up in press all over the world which was just incomprehensibly weird. During that weekend I got a phone call from a guy in Washington who wanted to interview me over Skype. I happily went along with it, but it was odd because I couldn't see the person speaking to me, but they assured me it was being filmed. So I'm sat in front of a blank screen on my laptop chatting with some American guy. All totally fine, but then they sent me the footage and it blew my mind because I was on middle eastern TV and I was dubbed. Turns out the guy from Washington worked for the TV station, Al Hurra TV, which broadcasts to about 15 countries in the middle east and, fun fact, is one of the only TV stations in the world which is entirely funded by the US government.

liesformoney3 karma

The one with Lesley I've mentioned earlier was the most memorable and I am still in touch with the person I hooked up with because she is my girlfriend.

Although, on a similar tip, I met her at a forum meet up years ago. Meeting strangers on the internet has informed a big chunk of my life, which is another one of the reasons I was so keen to do the project.

The guy I would want to meet for realz is Mitchell because he's in New York and I've not been there yet and he is a dream boat.

soapandfoam1 karma

There is a lot of famous people on Twitter? Did you meet any famous people?

liesformoney1 karma

Not really. Certainly nobody that anybody would necessarily know about unless they were in that particular scene. Celebrity is a crazy term these days though. People have told me I'm a celebrity which is just plain stupid.

pigpotjr1 karma

Any advice for a 16 year old?

GlitteredCunt3 karma

stay in school

liesformoney4 karma

Listen to glitteredcunt.

diamondjo1 karma

Have you ever seen Dave Gorman's Google Whack Adventure? Were you inspired by that at all?

liesformoney2 karma

I love Dave Gorman's stuff, and I have seen googlewhack and Are you Dave Gorman? There are obviously a bunch of similarities but I honestly wasn't intended on replicating what they did. The show just came as a result of how crazy it all got, I wasn't expecting it to blow up at all, I just thought it'd be fun to meet some cool people.

I knew people would make the connection though, and I actually reached out to Dave via email to see if he'd be up for filming a tiny skit for my show. Just some video insert I could plug in where I make a joke about how it's nothing like Dave Gorman's stuff, isn't that right Dave? and then cut to some pithy one liner.

I didn't really expect a response but he wrote back a really nice, long and considered email. He said no, but he said it in a very nice way. Cool guy.