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Way In

"Follow me"

Jesus has taken second place to Winston Churchill in a poll to find whom people would most like follow on the social networking site Twitter. Run by YouGov on Twitter itself, on behalf of Prospect magazine,  this is the second such contest in which Jesus has come second recently. Last summer Intelligent Life magazine took an online vote to ascertain the most important date in history, and the birth of Jesus got 40% fewer votes than Gutenburg's invention of the printing press.

The Twitter poll was closer, with Churchill on 34 %, Jesus on 30 % and Darwin on 28%.

One can see how Churchill, famously witty and leading a war against fascism, would seem interesting to follow - though it perhaps underestimates the secrecy of the war cabinet to imagine that we'd learn very much. ('Finalised plans for D-day. Going for 6 June. Fingers crossed!')

And Darwin certainly had some interesting theories, but did  well to get on to the main clause of a sentence within 140 characters. ('On the view here given of the important part which selection by man has played, it becomes at once obvious, how it is that our domestic…')

But it's striking how well twitter-friendly Jesus is. The gospels being packed with one-liners ('Judge not, so that you are not judged,' 'Give Caesar what is Caesar's, give God what what is God's'), it has long been said that they are an example of what a biography looks like that lived by word of mouth first. Now it seems they exemplify what it would look like if it was originally tweeted.

Whether this point has any significance at all is another matter. With 140 characters remaining, none has occurred to me, so instead I'll use them to remind you that you can follow us at twitter.com/thirdway.