Taylor Swift is a singer and songwriter. She was originally known for pop country music, before moving fully into the pop territory. She has released six albums and has won ten Grammy Awards. She appears to have been working to get past her “girl next door” look. Her newest album – reputation – really drove that point home.
SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
Swift stirred up a lot of buzz when her Instagram (@taylorswift) went blank. All of her photos were deleted, as were her photo and bio. A few months later, reputation was released.
Her Instagram now features over a hundred photos and videos, almost all relating to reputation and her tour. The postings seem to be at random times, though they are regular. Her profile picture is that of the reputation album cover. Her bio states “The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now.”, quoting a line from one of the songs on the album. Her bio also has a link to buy tour tickets.
The Instagram account has over 107 million followers. Swift is following zero people.
Taylor Swift’s Facebook (@taylorswift) uses the same profile picture and bio as her Instagram. Her cover photo is also off of the reputation album. She has a good deal less followers on Facebook, though it is still a huge amount at over 73 million page likes. Almost all of her Facebook posts include a photo with them – adding a visual aspect that better catches the attention of social media users. She seems to post roughly once a day on Facebook. There are many comments, likes, and shares on every post. For example, a tour photo that Taylor Swift posted on May 9th has over 148,000 likes, and over 7,000 shares. The page does not appear to interact with fans.
Swift’s Facebook page has over 73 million likes, which makes it not as followed as her Instagram but still a huge success.
The Twitter account for Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) uses the same profile picture and banner as the Facebook page. Swift has not made a Twitter post herself in over a month – it has been all retweets. She does not appear to respond to any tweets. The Twitter posts are all photos, videos, or articles.
The Taylor Swift Twitter has over 85 million followers.
Tumblr account, taylorswift, yet again has the same profile and cover photos. Her feed is made up of retweets about her and tour photos. She has connections to her other social media accounts. It also has things linking to her products on iTunes, Walmart, Target, and her own merch store.
The Taylor Swift Youtube account stays with the cover photo and profile picture trend. It also includes widgets to her other social media accounts. It lists TaylorSwiftVEVO as a featured channel.
The uploads includes music videos and lyric videos. There are also videos showing behind the scenes and outtakes for videos, songs, and otherwise. There’s trailers for her tours. She also has some advertisements that she’s starred in and interviews.
The About section features a rather long biography about the singer, and the Community section shows tour photos.
Swift’s channel has over 29 million subscribers.
Taylor Swift has kept her social media accounts fairly clean and neat. They all hold the same vibe and usually include the same general sorts of content.
It fits in with her website as well. Taylorswift.com features the same sleek white background with her reputation art being the first thing seen. The Taylor Swift store, which you can access off of the main site, features different sections. These sections are Tour, Merchandise, Tour Lookbook, and The Old Taylor. The last section will show merch relating to her past albums. This, yet again, stays with the theme of her being a new type of artist and plays off of her song lyrics.
Looking at recent news about the pop artist and songwriter shows a variety of topics. There is a decent amount of articles on her boyfriend, Joe Alwyn. This is unsurprising considering how the media reacts to relationships and considering Swift’s stereotype of being “boy crazy”. Then there’s the articles on her feud with fellow pop singer Katy Perry. This also goes along with a view on her – that she is “fake” and only cares about drama for attention. Articles on her using a voice recording of Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively’s three year old daughter (James Reynolds) for the beginning of the song titled Gorgeous also made the news. This adds to “celebrity friendship/shared fame” idea.
Other recent popular news about Taylor Swift includes her stalkers. Mohammed Jaffar was sentenced to six months in jail (along with five years probation, during which he is required to receive mental health treatment) after he stalked Swift at her apartment in Tribeca last year. He also pleaded guilty to attempted burglary. He was sentenced on May 16th, 2018.
Other recent articles talk about a different stalker, Julius Sandrock, who drove straight from Colorado to Taylor Swift’s home in California. He was found outside the house in April 14th, 2018 with a variety of concerning and disturbing objects – including rope, a knife, ammunition, and masks. Swift got a temporary restraining order against the man. The restraining order lasts until June 6th, when they’ll have a hearing on the topic.
There’s also a lot of talk – in news and among online gossip – on how Taylor Swift has reacted to what her reputation is with the album reputation. The album, tour, and videos all have references to those stereotypes.
The music video for the singer’s song Look What You Made Me Do featured scenes where the “old Taylor Swifts” were falling from a pile, leaving only “New Taylor” standing. The old Taylors featured costumes from old music videos, old tours, and even past award ceremonies. Look What You Made Me Do is also the song that featured the line “I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh – ’cause she’s dead”. There’s an opening scene of her crawling out of a grave stating “Here lies Taylor Swift’s reputation” on it, in case any viewers missed the message. She fully acknowledges things that the media has attacked her for by having her various selves criticize each other at the end of the video (“Stop making that surprised face – it’s so annoying”, “What’s with that b*tch?”, “Oh stop acting like you’re all nice. You are so fake”, “There she goes, playing the victim again”, etc.).
Another play off of her reputation is the feature of snakes. She has snakes everywhere in her videos (Look What You Made Me Do has snakes and a lot of snake jewelry), merchandise, and tour (the reputation tour actually features a giant snake head as part of the set). Importantly, her social media has many of the reptilians present. In fact, her first posts she made after the Instagram disappearance was GIFs of a snake with no caption. This is in reference to a dispute with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. Many people know of the 2009 drama when Kanye went on stage during one of Swift’s acceptance speeches in order to tell the world how he thought Beyonce should have won the award instead. Th real issue came in 2016 with the release of Kanye West’s song titled Famous though, which featured the lyrics “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex. Why? I made that b*tch famous”. Swift was deeply upset about the lyrics, but after Kim Kardashian posted a video of Kanye on call with Taylor Swift which appeared to show the singer giving her consent for the lyrics, along with Kim posting a tweet about snakes that was a dig at Swift… The internet went a bit wild. Swift’s social media pages were flooded with snake emojis and hateful messages.
Taylor Swift addressed the drama further on her tour saying “Someone called me a snake on social media, and it caught on…” and later added, in reference to all the snakes she used “I guess with the snakes, I wanted to send a message to you guys that if someone uses name-calling to bully you, and even if a lot of people jump on board with it, that doesn’t have to defeat you. It can strengthen you instead.”
COMMENDATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
All of these things put together with how Taylor Swift has used her social media pages really tells a story of the artist and sends her message. She’s taking control of the things about herself that people have attacked her over, and she’s making sure that statement is loud and clear. It’s displayed over all of her social media channels – the idea of “New Taylor” and “Old Taylor”. The snakes have certainly become a sort of brand mascot for the singer. I applaud her for taking bad publicity and making it into something positive for her.
Something I think she should do more of is interacting with fans and making her posts personal. A lot of her posts are shared things as opposed to her own messages. Swift has perhaps tried to make up for this with special things like the magazine of her art/poetry that you can buy with a reputation album, but people who are not already fans will not spend the time/energy/money to get those things. For her to have a more personal online presence could draw in more people and show her in a more positive light.
Overall, I feel that Taylor Swift has a cohesive online presence that fits with her brand.
Photos are all website screenshots. The news articles come from a Google search, and the tour photos are from Swift’s Instagram page.