Why does North Korea seem to be so keenly interested in a 25-year-old investor from Austin, Texas?
As Business Insider points out, the hermit kingdom's official Twitter account (@uriminzok) is following the account of American Jimmy Dushku, whose Twitter profile describes him as "Just a young guy trying to make the world a better place :)." Dushku's is only one of three accounts currently followed by North Korea, a country whose forays into social media have been bizarre at times.
"People always ask me how it happened, and I honestly can't remember," Dushku told Mother Jones of his infamous Twitter follower. "It started sometime back in 2010. I was initially surprised, but I always try to make friends with people from all different locations and backgrounds."
Though the Texan is now making headlines thanks to his extraordinary Twitter follower, Dushku is also known among his own social media circle as an avid Coldplay fan. Here's a video, uploaded to YouTube in August 2012, featuring an enthusiastic Dushku at a Coldplay concert (story continues below):
Since being followed by "@uriminzok," the two sides have shared a number of amicable exchanges online.
@uriminzok Hello my friend, I made a video for the people of North Korea. I hope all is well. http://www.twitvid.com/VD0VD
— Jimmy Dushku (@JimmyDushku) December 9, 2010
Dushku reportedly also has "a standing offer from North Korean officials to visit their country."
Due to a number of political, economic and security concerns, the relationship between the U.S. and North Korea has long been strained. According to a 2012 AP report, North Koreans are said to be taught from a young age to "hate" Americans; while in the U.S., a 2011 Gallup poll revealed that 84 percent of Americans had an "unfavorable" view of North Korea. Though it is now possible for Americans to visit North Korea at any time of year, the U.S. State Department warns that travel to the country is "not routine" for Americans, and that it may be difficult to obtain the proper documentation needed to enter the country.
As one might expect, many around the world have puzzled over Dushku's Twitter relationship with the isolated country, but as Mother Jones reports, Dushku has reportedly been bombarded with "angry and graphic messages" -- including death threats -- from strangers who accused him of being a North Korea "sympathizer or even a secret agent."
By now, North Korea's social media eccentricities are pretty much par for the course.
The country's official YouTube channel is known to post kooky collections of videos, including clips of Kim Jong Un looking at fish and meat in a supermarket and clips of seemingly empty stores, amusement parks and bowling alleys.