British teen Steven Holmes was initially thrilled when Kanye West chose him to be the first (and so far only) person Kanye would "follow" on Twitter. The student from Coventry, England -- who goes by the Twitter handle "ste_101" -- responded to Kanye's unexpected "follow" by excitedly Tweeting: "Holy *&$% bro thx for following!". Kanye replied: "You are the chosen one dun dun dun dun." But then the phone calls started.
In an exclusive interview with his hometown paper, the Coventry Telegraph, Holmes says he was immediately barraged through Twitter and his phone with requests from media organizations. He says he turned down interviews with the BBC, CNN, and New York Magazine, among others.
Since Saturday night, when the rap star chose to follow him on Twitter, Holmes began receiving messages from people desperate to get West's attention. People tried to send him film trailers and music demos, hoping to reach 33-year-old Kanye and his 400,000-plus followers. "I didn't want to talk to any of them," Holmes told the Telegraph. "Fame has never appealed to me. It's vacuous."
Now Holmes, who says he likes West's music but is "not his biggest fan" wants no part of the fame machine and has for now removed his Twitter application from his mobile phone (though he hasn't gone so far as to delete his account.) "Before this weekend I thought it would be cool to have a celebrity following me on Twitter but now I think it's really not worth it."
On Monday, Holmes announced his semi-retirement decision to his 4,000-plus followers (most of whom no doubt came by way of Kanye's implicit endorsement), Tweeting: "I won't be speaking to anybody else, surprisingly not everyone wants to be famous. That's all I'm saying - peace out x."
The incident calls to mind the brouhaha from earlier this year when Conan O'Brien chose to follow an otherwise-unfamous young woman from Michigan. Sarah Killen, who goes by the Twitter moniker "LovelyButton," now has more than 29,000 followers. The 19-year-old woman reacted to her newfound celebrity more positively than "ste_101" did: she used the spotlight to raise money for breast-cancer research.
Kanye has been showing a lot of love to Twitter lately: last week he visited the social-networking giant's headquarters to serenade its employees:
[Photo: Eric Ryan/Getty Images]