Hashtag rap! Kanye rants! Terrifying stan pile-ons! For better and worse, Twitter has forever altered the music landscape.
What we now know as Music Twitter officially started on July 28, 2010, when Kanye West logged on. “Up early in the morning taking meetings in Silicone Valley,” he tweeted. Forty-eight minutes later came the correction: “Lol I spelled Silicon wrong ( I guess I was still thinking about the other type of silicone ITS A PROCESS!! : )”
He was a relatively late adopter—Katy, Kesha, Justin, and Nicki were already on; Erykah Badu had live-tweeted the birth of her son, and John Mayer had already gotten dumped by Jennifer Aniston for his Twitter addiction—but once he did, he reshaped it. Kanye had found a medium better than a blog, a talk show, or a disaster relief telethon for what he does best.
Over the next weeks and months, his follower count swelled with each enthusiastic update about his opulent life—tiny jets! fur pillows! annoying water bottles on planes! He dropped tantalizing hints about his forthcoming album, and his novel use of the short form medium soon spawned the #PredictingKanyeTweets hashtag. He was messy and gaudy, and, best of all, present. The contradiction was rich: While precious few could relate to his extravagant aphorisms, his tweets also made him feel more relatable.