Ben Franklin (1706-1790) would have been 308 years old today, and in honor of his birthday, the city’s official tourism arm Visit Philadelphia created a faux Facebook profile for the Founding Father.
Note the status bragging about that time he flew a kite in a rainstorm to help prove the identity of lightning and electricity. He shares a link to the U.S. Constitution on Dec. 7, 1787, the day Delaware became the first state to ratify the document. There is even a pithy saying from Poor Richard’s Almanac, a collection of aphorisms that Franklin would publish under the pseudonym “Poor Richard,” who was supposed to be a pious, provincial philosopher: “Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead.”
The “Recent Activity” section says “Ben is now friends with Marie Antoinette,” a reference to his role as the first American diplomat, responsible for rallying French support for American independence. “Places” he has visited include the City Tavern, a favorite Philadelphia meeting spot for the Founding Fathers, and the nation’s first hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital, which he helped establish. And, the “Music” section lists composers Mozart and Beethoven because they wrote music for an instrument Franklin invented called the glass harmonica, which is similar to a piano in appearance and produces sound via glass bowls filled with varying levels of water.
While some historians say Franklin would have used Facebook and Twitter if the websites had existed in the 18th century, we can never be certain. As he wrote in his letters, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”