Twitter may or may not not be in its final death rattles, but it feels like a good time to look back at some truly iconic fandom moments on the platform. Whatever happens now, Twitter was there for us in so many ways that I don’t think I can ever truly forget it. Not even if it truly dies off and disappears into the annals of Internet history.
Since Elon Musk took over as Twitter CEO, hatred has flourished, moderation teams have been fired, and engineers have chosen to resign instead of working for his controversial Twitter 2.0. The vibes aren’t good, my friends. Needless to say, our fandom hangout is drastically changing. Some of us are migrating to Tumblr. Others to Mastodon. Some are headed off to Instagram or TikTok. It’s sad to see everyone scatter, but that’s the reality of it right now.
None of these options will be quite the same as Twitter though. Getting your fandom to trend things, whether on accident or on purpose, has been a delightful thing to be a part of over the years. We’ve laughed. We’ve cried. And we’ve questioned our chosen fandom choices on more than one occasion. (Or is that just me?) But overall, we typically had a pretty good time and had some truly incredible moments.
I’m highlighting my six favorite moments, but I’m not in every fandom and (despite how it may appear) have not been on the bird app every hour of every day. Feel free to leave your favorites in the comments! Let’s celebrate what this platform meant to us.
Destiel Fandom, Putin, and President Joe Biden
In November 2020, the world was a bit of a mess. We were ten months into a global pandemic. Our controversial president was up for re-election. Global politics continued to beat a heavy war drum across the world. And television shows that had been delayed due to the pandemic were finally able to air their incredibly late episodes.
All of this came together in a bizarre way during the week of November 3rd, and it’s an experience I won’t soon forget.
Election results took a long time to count due to certain rules in some states, so political fandom (yes, it’s basically a fandom) was in an uncomfortable holding pattern. The trends were politics-related for days. The slow States trended pretty much constantly.
At the same time, Supernatural was also nearing the end of its incredibly long run, too. Fandom was agitated for numerous reasons. Whether they’d miss the show, or were glad it was finally leaving, people were taking to Twitter to express themselves.
And then Destiel became canon. Wait, what?
At some point during this incredibly stressful week, Destiel was trending higher than both the election and Putin’s (now discredited) pending retirement. It even trended with the news, which caused a lot of political wonks to become terribly confused about the whole ordeal.
The memes, though. The memes were spectacular. I’ve genuinely never laughed this hard and I certainly needed the stress release.
K-Pop Fans Troll Donald Trump, Confuse Republicans, Find a Friend in AOC
K-Pop fandom is powerful.
Though I’m not in that fandom personally, I can see their influence on practically every platform. In this particular instance, K-Pop fans from various social media platforms, though primarily TikTok, pulled a prank on the then President of the United States. The effort had incredible results and attracted quite a lot of attention on Twitter.
Basically, K-Pop fans requested tickets to several Trump rallies, which resulted in them far over-estimating planned attendance. It led to empty stadiums, confused Republican political strategists, and even a shout-out from AOC on Twitter thanking the fandom for the help. My favorite part of the whole ordeal was watching confused Republicans trying to figure out what the heck K-Pop was.
Ticketing was an appropriate match for the skillset of K-pop supporters. Concerts can sell out within minutes, so fans have a number of tactics to make sure they snag the tickets they want, like setting up extra email accounts to maximize their chances.
“Fans who are used to getting tickets know exactly how to get a ticket,” Herman says. It was the “most natural, inadvertent organizing” that could happen, popularized by pre-existing casual networks of communication that weren’t tied to any official channels or big fan accounts.
The Loona fan, Sahia, sees it as a “humorous hive mind mentality that you can find at times,” coupled with fans “using that dedication and energy and persistence they have for their artists into making a statement.”
Minecraft Fandom Pranking Twitter Guy
Ah, Twitter Guy. Who doesn’t love Twitter Guy?
The person who is in charge of writing little blurbs about trending topics had a strange job, but they did it so well. As I haven’t seen these descriptions in weeks, I assume they’ve been fired with almost everyone else at the company. But I really enjoyed watching how they succinctly explained incredibly niche trends so that the wider Internet could understand them. They had to do research ranging from obscure geopolitical problems, celebrity gossip, and, yes, even fandom events.
The Minecraft fandom took note when a Minecraft streamer-related trend was quickly updated with a blurb. It was updated incredibly fast, actually. Sensing they might be part of the fandom, they made the hashtag “#TwiterGuy” to trend in the hopes that they’d have to write a little blurb about themselves. They hoped that they’d perhaps confirm that they were a Minecraft player, or at the very least knew about them well enough to get that blub up within minutes.
Who are you, Twitter Guy? Are you one of us? Do you punch digital trees, too? Have you taken down the Ender Dragon?
While the effort to get them to write a blurb about themselves failed, it was fun to speculate about their identity. At the very least, this person hopefully realized their work was appreciated. I hope wherever they are, they’re having a nice day despite all the mess over at Twitter HQ. Perhaps they’re playing Minecraft somewhere out there.
Mark Hamill. That’s it. That’s the Tweet.
Mark Hamill is one of the most prolific Twitter celebrities. He interacts with fans regularly, and is very outspoken about his beliefs. Sometimes he goes viral for the former, such as when he told one young Star Wars fan that Luke could be queer. Sometimes he went viral for the latter, like when he boosted a post about a political power grab in Texas.
But could he go viral about something mundane? Like, say, just tweeting his own name? The answer was a resounding yes.
As of today, the tweet has 31K Retweets, 3,879 Quote Tweets, and 584.6K Likes. While it’s not a record breaker by any means (more on that later), it made a heck of a point about the power he wielded on the platform. Thankfully, he typically uses this power for good, but sometimes he just uses it to be silly. And honestly, that’s a great use of the platform, too. Twitter is full of silliness and he fits right in.
Mark continues to tweet despite Twitter rapidly deteriorating. I hope that if it goes down, he finds another avenue to interact with fans. He’s such a delight. Wherever he goes, I’ll follow. I have a Tumblr, Mastodon, Instagram, and TikTok.
I’m ready, sir. Just direct us where we need to go.
Gail Simone’s Absurd Trends
Gail Simone is truly one of the best Twitter personalities out there. Like Mark Hamill, I hope she finds a place to go if the social media platform completely dies.
She already had a long history of fandom interactions due to her long and prolific career in comics, and her brand of humor was a perfect fit for the absurdities of Twitter. She has a habit of getting weird things to trend every couple of weeks, it seems. As such, it’s incredibly hard to nail down just one such moment, so I’ve cheated here and chosen two.
First, she got Poopybutts trending on Twitter for no apparent reason. Once it started showing up as trending, it gained traction as people tried to find out exactly why this was being suggested to them. It became a feedback loop of Poopybutt curiosity. Like the “Mark Hamill” tweet, it proved just how absurdly powerful she can be sometimes.
Secondly, Gail took it upon herself to survey fast food restaurants with the all-important question: Marvel or DC? Wendy’s, Hooters, Sborro, and Auntie Anne’s were all on Team Marvel. Potbelly Sandwich Works, Little Debbie’s, and Arizona Tea took the politically wise neutral stance praising both franchises’ merits. Roy Roger’s restaurants chose Roy Roger’s comics… because of course.
Honestly, though, there were so many moments like this. Which were your favorites?
Chadwick Boseman Leaving A Mark in the World
On a much more somber note, the summer of 2020 brought tragedy to the MCU family, fandom, and generally the world. At that moment, Twitter became a place of comfort, reflection, and even hope as we dealt with such a loss.
I, like many other people, found out about Chadwick Boseman’s death through a tweet from his official account. Within minutes he was a top trending topic globally. I saw the trend, clicked on it, and that Tweet was the first thing I saw.
It was a mass mourning event online and we all truly tried to help each other process such an unexpected tragedy the best we could through the platform. Fans also wrote lengthy threads about what Boseman meant to them. Some just grieved silently through likes and retweets.
It was an unforgettable, albeit incredibly sad day on Twitter. It’s one I won’t be forgetting any time soon. Though it may seem odd to consider such a tragic event a ‘favorite,’ but it really showed the power of the social media platform in the fan community, and how much we could help each other through it.
He left a huge mark on the world through his acting work and will be mourned by many for a long time to come. Though obviously less impactful, he also secured a place in Twitter history for the foreseeable future. At the time of this writing, the announcement tweet is the most liked tweet on Twitter with over 7 million likes.
If Twitter should go down in flames, I’m happy that this record will remain standing at least. The tweet is basically an online memorial now. Each like is a virtual flower left in remembrance of an icon.
I still hold out hope that Twitter can survive this situation, but I’m preparing for the worst. Bullies have been emboldened and the whole site is in danger of collapsing this week due to the lack of engineering staff. It’s going to take one of the best social media platforms for real-time engagement away from so many communities.
Many fan creators will also suffer from the loss. So many of us have found our audience or customers on the platform, and our businesses are going to hurt without it. Etsy stores and artist commissions will have one less place to advertise. Journalists will have one less place to ask questions for the talent they are about to interview. Conventions will have one less place to gain traction for their events.
Fandom and fan culture won’t be the only communities impacted. The Open Source Intelligence community, which has currently been using footage and first-hand accounts posted on Twitter to verify war crimes, will also be left in the lurch. The growing protests in Iran may also fall out of the news cycle without global trends bringing attention to their cause.
It’s a tragedy for so many.
Where will you go if Twitter collapses? Let us know!
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.
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