Swift goes dark on social media

Taylor Swift broke her silence on Monday by releasing a 10-second video.
Taylor Swift broke her silence on Monday by releasing a 10-second video.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WASHINGTON • Not everyone can upstage an eclipse. But then, not everyone is Taylor Swift.

On Friday, the pop megastar deleted all content from her socialmedia accounts - to the surprise of her hundreds of millions of followers.

She erased every tweet, every Instagram photo, every Facebook post. Her website went completely dark. It sparked Internet mania, as her fans could assume only that it meant she had hit the reset button to signal that new music is on the way.

Swift, 27, has not released any music since the album 1989 in October 2014. It became one of the few albums this decade to sell one million copies in its first week.

Over the weekend, Swift fans thought they had figured it out - the star's social-media blackout was like an eclipse, so she must be releasing music on Monday, during the eclipse. Not a bad theory.

And Swift stoked the flames on Monday morning. She broke her silence with a creepy 10-second video, which appeared to show a snake unfurling, interrupted by static.

Her fans freaked out, not only because of the mysterious teaser, but because the snake is a significant symbol.

Last summer, Swift experienced a backlash after reality television star Kim Kardashian posted a phone call between Swift and musician Kanye West, which appeared to show that Swift did, in fact, know that West was going to mention her in his controversial song Famous.

In response to Kardashian's video, Swift responded that she had been "falsely painted as a liar" - but many on the Internet still declared her a "snake" and used many emoji to make that point.

The idea that Swift would use a snake to her advantage sent her fan base into a frenzy. And of course, Twitter went into overdrive, making jokes about the star trying to one-up a celestial event.

As of Monday afternoon, it seemed to be working - although the eclipse was the top worldwide trending topic on Twitter, social media was primed for Swift's new single, or album, or whatever she wanted to release.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 23, 2017, with the headline 'Swift goes dark on social media'. Print Edition | Subscribe