How BBC Scotland’s Politics Editor Became A Cult Hero On Twitter Without Ever Tweeting

If it’s a hot political issue in Scotland, you can bet @TannadiceLad is (not) tweeting about it.

1. With less than four weeks until Scotland’s historic independence referendum, Brian Taylor, BBC Scotland’s politics editor, is a busy man.

He’s been appearing on TV screens daily, as well as updating his blog. He’s a well-respected and experienced journalist, having reported on Scotland’s referendums in 1979 and 1997 for The Press and Journal in Aberdeen.

2. He even did the ALS ice bucket challenge over the weekend, after being challenged by first minister Alex Salmond.

3. But one thing Taylor doesn’t do, despite joining Twitter in May 2012 as @TannadiceLad, is tweet. At all. Ever.

He follows 700 people and has somehow managed to gain almost 4,000 followers himself, all by saying nothing at all.

4. He has more followers than OneTweetPete, who, as the name suggests, sent just this one tweet, back in 2011.

5. You can search far and wide for sight of an elusive @TannadiceLad tweet, but none are to be found.

7. This means that people – particularly Ern Malley – have been able to list all sorts of things that @TannadiceLad SHOULD reveal on Twitter.

#ff The man behind the Daft Punk helmet: @tannadicelad - he reveals all on his twitter feed

— Ern Malley (@loveandgarbage)

Can't believe @Tannadicelad is the next Dr Who - you'd think he'd have kept it under his hat though.

— Richard Roberts (@richierhys)

9. There was the time @TannadiceLad summed up the glories of England’s football team this summer.

Incisive tweeting by @tannadicelad summarising all of the good things Steven Gerrard did in the first two England matches.

— Ern Malley (@loveandgarbage)

10. Tweeters have often referred to his “withering responses” to current issues on Twitter.

Paxman says twitter is for people with "nothing going on in between their ears". Fellow BBC journo @TannadiceLad has a withering response.

— P=NP (@neelypeel)

11. Some people appear to think that he deleted all his tweets for some reason (he hasn’t).

@TannadiceLad What has BBC's Mr Brian Taylor been up to that he doesn't want anyone to see...he's apparently deleted all his tweets. #oops?

— Jim (@jafurn50)

12. One running joke is that he has posted loads of tweets, but they were all so controversial, he had to immediately delete them.

@loveandgarbage You could tell @TannadiceLad was a man of principle when he deleted all his old tweets.

— Jared Earle (@jearle)

@loveandgarbage Martin Amis discovers @TannadiceLad's deleted tweets

— Commonwealth Hobbit (@bilbobaggins2k)

14. One person even speculated that the whole thing might be an elaborate art prank.

If @TannadiceLad doesn't tweet before 2015 shld we enter his account for the Turner prize. The more followers the deeper the statement obv.

— Raymond Buchanan (@BuchananPost)

15. Or maybe a Zen-like meditation on calmness.

@loveandgarbage The Master of ZenTwitter is @TannadiceLad Expressions in no-fingers-typing brings comprehension where none was requested.

— Er1sWh33l (@Er1s_Wh33l)

16. His CONTROVERSIAL style is too much for some.

I'm sorry but I'm gonna have to unfollow @TannadiceLad Far too controversial for me

— Anne (@annewitha_e)

If people think that Richard Dawkins's twitter feed is controversial they should look at @tannadicelad's. #ff

— Ern Malley (@loveandgarbage)

18. But with 4,000 followers, maybe he’s doing something right.

@psmith I think the great man's timeline shows greater insight and perception than those of most other commentators on contemporary Scotland

— Ern Malley (@loveandgarbage)

19. And with the big independence vote almost upon us, people on both sides of the border are wondering if and when he will finally tweet something.

Massive respect to @TannadiceLad, who's managed to play his cards close to his chest as the independence debate heats up. What a pro.

— Alan White (@aljwhite)

20. We contacted Taylor to ask a) if he’s at all aware that he’s become a sort of Twitter meme, and b) if he plans on tweeting soon.

There will be an update if we hear anything.

21. Until then, hit follow and wait like the rest of us. That is, if you can handle the controversy.

You have been warned.


Although they have been held to decide different things, the last Scottish referendum was in 1997, and not, as we said, in 1979.

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Patrick Smith is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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