Taylor Swift, Red: How the singer redefined online fandom, from SwiftTok to #Taylurking
I Said, remember that moment, deep in my head, â€sung Taylor Swift in 2018, sitting in front of a marble grand piano, donning a military jacket embellished in black and gold. Just a few minutes ago, the singer shared a touching speech with a crowd of 90,000 fans. The lyrics to ‘Long Live’, performed by a sold-out Wembley stadium, were followed by an uninterrupted 10-minute applause, as Swifties shouted passionately in gratitude. The speechless singer thanked her fans in tears for sharing her last night in London. A few months later it was announced that the singer Reputation Tower beat the Guinness World Record for the the most lucrative stadium tour by a female artist in 2018.
Longtime Taylor journalist and fan Kelsey Barnes cherishes the community atmosphere and shared experience that Swift nurtured, both online and offline at concerts like these. “It means everything to me,” said the 29-year-old. A self-proclaimed Stan, Barnes followed the rise of the Nashville singer on social media, even receiving MySpace comments from the star in 2009. A year later, she encountered the breakout. Intrepidartist during a promotional TV recording in Toronto in 2010. The 18-year-old songwriter had bonded with her young listeners through vlog on youtube. While recording, Barnes asked Swift a question about her videos online. “They cut to an advertisement and [Taylor] ran to me and said, ‘I love that you watch me on YouTube. It means a lot ‘. She took a picture with me, â€Barnes recalls. “It made my day. Eight years later, I was chosen for Rep Room [Swiftâ€™sÂ ReputationÂ tour meet-and-greet sessions], and it was as if she had never changed.
Over 15 years later, Swift remains at the forefront of delivering fan-based experiences to cultivate an ever-growing following. Whether it’s personal invitations to the singer’s house for album listening nights, aka Secret sessions, or pre-show hangouts, she continues to put her fans first. Barnes, who was chosen from the crowd at a Reputation The show of Swift’s mother, Andrea, recalls, â€œTaylor Swift doesn’t do anything that she doesn’t want to do. I was standing in line for the representative room and her mother, Andrea, was explaining to me [Taylorâ€™s] management always asks her to meet and greet paid because they would earn the money, but she said “Taylor is not interested in that”.
Michelle Lynn, 30, was followed by Swift on MySpace and regularly checked her page for new music announcements. Californian shares Taylor content from the start Intrepid days, and thinks Swift’s career lasted thanks to her fan-first prospect. “Taylor made it her mission to focus her entire career on fans,” she explains. “When you interact with her personally, it feels like you’re talking to a best friend that you haven’t seen in a while.”
As Swift’s reputation continued to soar, she also anchored her touring experiences around her fan base. In June 2010, Swift hosted a 13 hours of meeting and welcome as part of the CMA Festival in Nashville. The singer remained in interaction with fans for almost 15 and a half hours. Lynn, who attended the event, recalls how the star tailored the event to her admirers. “[Taylor] set up the T-Party room so people can come in and see what it looks like on tour every night. This is where she invites people into her personal space and forges an intimate connection because they are part of her life, â€she says. Lynn agrees that Swift built her fan base from social media. “She was the only person who used to go and comment on people’s posts,” she said. “Since then, artists have started looking at her social model and doing the same because they know she is successful.”
Four years later, Swift had grown from an internal fandom singer known for her fictionalized radio hits to an instantly recognizable superstar. On his fifth studio album, 1989, she went from country to an exclusively mainstream pop project. With the help of producer Jack Antonoff, 1989 became Swift’s most commercially successful album, winning Grammys and gaining worldwide recognition. And as her profile continued to grow, she hasn’t neglected her fan base. Tumblr has become a social media haven for young fans, which the 25-year-old has taken to share Easter eggs and new music teasers. Swifties, known for their hawk-eyed sightings, flocked to join the singer in what looked like an exclusive online club between artist and fan. Internet burst under the name of Taylor announcement she managed her account: â€œThis is Taylor. I lock myself in my room and don’t leave until I figure out how to use my Tumblr, â€she posted in September 2014.
Alyssa Lawson, a 27-year-old Swiftie from Tennessee, was one of the few Tumblr users followed by Swift. â€œTaylor would literally stalk the fans (aka #Taylurking) and become part of our fandom jokes on the inside,â€ she recalls. “There was a whole ‘No, it’s Becky’ thing when she was wearing this Fan edited t-shirt. Someone took an old photo of her in high school and made a meme out of it. No one knew Taylor knew until she wore this shirt! She’s like one of us. Months later, Swift launched a fan phenomenon called “Swiftmas”. Lawson, a chosen recipient of Swift’s Christmas Gift Frenzy, describes how she received “a beautiful handwritten card with individually wrapped gifts and gift tags.” His card read, “I was in Tokyo this week and started to think how funny you are.” These examples are a reminder of how detailed Swift can be in establishing a mutual friendship with her fans. This, of course, was not without an eye for content potential: On New Years Day that year, the Swift team posted a compilation video to YouTube titled “Taylor Swift’s gift in 2014“video on the song” You Are In Love “.
Whether this could be seen as a cynical PR move or just an effort to make the Swiftie community feel included, the inventiveness and intimacy worked. â€œTaylor’s kindness makes these interactions stand out in the minds and hearts of fans,â€ Lawson said. â€œI have met Taylor five times in person since 2007. Every interaction has been warm and welcoming. I felt like I had found an old friend.
Another fan Swift befriended on Tumblr is 26-year-old Brittney Mackey. The Los Angeles Swiftie has been followed by the star since 2015 and was chosen to meet her in person at the 2018 Reputation To visit. Despite his interaction online, however, Mackey believes the distance between the star and the Swiftie is still vast and carefully managed. â€œIt is still inaccessible for most. It’s the effort to make the fans feel like they could approach her, â€she explains.
Enjoy unlimited access to 70 million ad-free songs and podcasts with Amazon Music Sign up now for a 30 day free trial
However, it was not all easy. As Swift fan communities flourished online, they developed their own ecosystem, and within it, many noticed their lack of LGBTQ + and POC visibility. â€œThere are a lot more people like me than you think. I don’t feel left out, but if we weren’t constantly making ourselves known, we wouldn’t be known, â€Mackey says. As many POC fans believe, fitting in as a Swiftie can require constant assertiveness. As a longtime fan myself, I’m often told that I â€œdon’t look like a Swiftie,â€ a roundabout comment that inevitably reaffirms the idea that Swift’s music is accessible to a certain demographic. â€œFor a very long time we said, ‘That’s the thing with white girls,’ Mackey said. ‘Everyone I know has been through the same thing.’
In August 2021, Swift joined TikTok. With the click of a button, the star has toured the world sharing a video announcing the vinyl version of Red (Taylor version). Dasie Anderson, 24, from Utah, has been a Swiftie her entire life. She posted a video on TikTok sharing her favorite lyrics, which caught Swift’s attention (and approval). “I never would have guessed that she would have found this video,” Anderson says. Calling Swift a “smart businesswoman,” she sees the artist’s use of TikTok as an “authentic” way to connect with fans, even if it only takes a wave of affection. of the star to get fans to promote his new audio. â€œIt’s like we have these internal jokes with Taylor Swift. The Swifties call her ‘Blondie’ and that joke doesn’t exist between many global superstars and the fans doing TikToks in their bedrooms,â€ she says. It all comes down, she said, to stubborn loyalty to the star: “If your hero wants to interact with you, then that inspires loyalty. My video was all about the lyrics and seeing her thanking me makes those 10 years of Swiftie. worth it.
As Swift takes control of her reputation – and her masters; Red (Taylor version) is a re-recorded version of the original Red album – it lays the foundation for a lasting legacy. And it looks like there’s no social media platform it can’t conquer. So if you want to be the next world superstar, grab a leaf from Swift’s book: you better start hitting the “like button” now.
Taylor Swift’s Red (Taylor’s Version) Album Now Available Via Republic Records