By Ashley Hathaway, Contributing Writer
It is 11:58 p.m. on Thursday, April 25th. You are eagerly eyeing the countdown that is up on your laptop. For 13 days you have been trying to decode the daily Instagram posts from your favorite musician, Taylor Swift, in order to search for clues about the upcoming release of new music, and it has all come down to this. There is only one minute and 37 seconds left until the premier of a new song and music video that you have been not-so-patiently waiting for. Each second feels like a lifetime. With 57 seconds left you squirm with excitement and refresh your Twitter feed to see that others are indeed going through the same emotional roller coaster as you are. At 22 seconds, you can’t help but to stand up to try to feed your impatience with slight movements. We’re getting closer, 13 seconds rolls by and the countdown gets bigger, your eyes become wide. 3 seconds, 2 seconds, 1 second, you see the opening scene and you are in awe. The seventh era has just begun.
Whether you are a dedicated Swifty or a casual listener, it is hard to disagree that Taylor Swift is one of the most influential artists of our time. With being awarded 10 Grammy’s, 23 American Music Awards, and 23 Billboard Music Awards, she is one of the most decorated musicians of all time. Despite her onset of awards and unmatched fame that she has gained throughout her past 13 years in the spotlight, Swift never fails to brew excitement upon the release of a new single, music video, or album. Unlike other artists, Swift leads her fans to answers about new music and events through clues that subtly show up in her social media posts and music videos. With the recent release of her new single and music video, “ME!”, Swift has yet again struck her fanbase with a puzzle like game that stand in the way of deciphering the themes of her seventh studio album.
In the 13 days leading up to the release of “ME!”, Swift posted a picture each day on social media without fail in order to lead her fans to clues about what was in store. In addition, she had a countdown on her website ensuring Swifties that something big was on its way. In these times of hasty theories and predictions, communities across social media sites such as Twitter and Tumblr become buzzing with conversations between Swifties. As soon as “ME!” was released at the turn of midnight on April 26th, social media erupted in a mix of love and thrill for the new music video and song. Noah Levy, a Swifty with a Twitter fan account, said it perfectly.
“Taylor has this way of teasing us and giving us little hint and glimpses of things coming up. She has this way of just making it like a big event instead of just some announcement.”
These release “events” have allowed Swift to connect with her fans throughout the years. While fans consistently post videos singing and dancing to new songs, Swift and her management team, Taylor Nation, consistently recognize and notice fans that show loyalty. The promotion that Swift uses to share her new music also creates an online community of fellow Swifties. Here, they can share their excitement for new Taylor Swift music and connect with others who feel similar. For many of the fans, like Miranda Martinez, this allows them to feel closer to people from around the world.
“When Taylor posts anything, we all freak out and share the same level of excitement together. It is insane the way social media works and makes us all feel closer to one another.”
Through years of following Swift, many Swifties have formed friendships through their social media fan accounts. This gives them a safe place to share not only theories about upcoming music, but also their love and dedication towards Swift. Besides supporting and loving Swift, fans across the globe agree that making friends through Swift’s platform is one of the things they enjoy the most about following her. The friendships begin to become more defined when Swift is on tour performing for massive and committed crowds. Fans will talk through social media in the months preceding tour stops to plan costume ideas, travel expenses, and places to meet with one another the day of the show. As Martinez said, the friendships that form online between fans ultimately lead to an intimate gathering at concerts.
“When tour comes around it isn’t just a bunch of random people in a room. It is my friends and I in a room in our comfort and happy place.”
All of these Swifties have one central thing in common, and that is their abiding love and dedication to Taylor Swift. The loyalty and kindness that Swift has shown her fans since 2006 is unmatched. Choosing people for meet and greets, inviting fans to her house and sending fans Christmas presents are just a few ways Swift shows her fans that she is always thinking about them. She gives them something to hold onto even when things seem to be falling apart, and that is something that most cannot replicate. Through the words of Ben, a fan from the United Kingdom, one can see that Swift’s presence in the music industry has shaped the lives of many fans.
“Honestly, Taylor has helped me grow as a person. Her speeches, poems and songs have helped and guided me through life. She’s just an amazing person.”
With this type of influence, it is no surprise that with every new album Swift always makes her way to the top of the charts. There is a sense of loyalty that the fans hold towards Swift, and it doesn’t hurt that her music is always catchy and lyrically sound.
With the start of her seventh studio album, the message of “ME!” stands as a perfect example of the characteristics that Swift has strived to show throughout her career. Swift portrays the importance of self-love and acceptance through her new music, and she makes it easy for people to listen. As a powerful, confident and graceful woman, there is no doubt that Swift will continue to lead a revolution of dedicated listeners through her next adventure, or as Swifties like to call it, the seventh era.