Image via YouTube
Social media can be a vapid, self-serving circle of bullshit that makes us feel continuously dissatisfied with our own seemingly sub-par existence. And yet, none of us can really complain because we’re all part of the problem. Why, for instance, would I tweet about my crippling period pains when I could post a photo of myself, reclining in the sun on an outdoor chaise longue? Or why would you write about your irrepressible fear of death when you could shout about your new Yeezys? Social media isn’t there to provide realness – it’s there to make others wrongly think they know your realness. That’s the whole point of it.
Or is it? Enter Cher: the multi-generational music icon that arrived online in 2010, metaphorically bursting through the internet’s doors and dancing on Twitter’s table tops (a bit like she did in this 1981 music video with Meat Loaf). I've been obsessed with Cher's Twitter for some time now. It is the direct antithesis to the notion that your social media should be a painstakingly curated stream of thinly veiled self-branding. Cher and her Twitter give zero fucks about correct grammar, logical use of emojis, being cool or remaining politically indifferent within the public sphere. In fact, the over-arching theme of Cher’s Twitter can be best epitomised in her own bio, which reads: (sic) “Stand & B Counted or Sit & B Nothing. Don’t Litter, Chew Gum, Walk Past Homeless PPL w/out Smile. DOESNT MATTER in 5 yrs IT DOESNT MATTER THERE’S ONLY LOVE&FEAR.”
The first thing you’ll notice about Cher’s Twitter is her prolific use of caps lock, weirdly-placed spaces and questionable spelling. While the latter can be put down to dyslexia (something Cher has been open about), her constant stream of caps feels more like an honest display of enthusiasm, anger, and the desire to say everything AS LOUD AS DIGITALLY POSSIBLE – rather than a keyboard error. Cher does not care about being cool, calm and collected. Why should she? Why should any of us? You know when someone tells you some really good news, and you try not to smile too hard? Cher would beam and punch a hole in the sky.
Of course, it’s not just the format of Cher’s Twitter that elevates it to the upper echelons of the Internet, but its content too, which seems to be a purely immediate, unfiltered snapshot into the inner workings of her mind. “Got to pack & wash my hair. Got EARLY flight & I ALWAYS Wait Till VERY LAST MIN,” she wrote in December, as if the thought had barely processed before she typed it. It's like when your mum mutters aloud words as she thinks things, but Cher is also tweeting them immediately. A few days later, she posted about an idea she came up with in the shower, where she promotes products and gets companies to give discounts. “#LIKEIT” she wrote, giving her own idea a seal of approval.
At times, the unfiltered immediacy of her tweets extends to an almost poetic, beautiful absurdity. “Can anyone c me” she wrote in 2012, like a cat staring in the mirror. Almost exactly one year later, she tweeted “hi” to herself. It's pretty damn great, in the most existential way.
Obviously, we can’t mention her Twitter without speaking about her political views, which are spread across her feed like icing on a cake. Around 75% of her feed is unrestrained hate directed towards Donald Trump and his supporters, and rarely a day goes by where she doesn’t call out racist, homophobic, sexist or xenophobic bullshit. She also shouts down random uber-conservative American tweeters on the regular. “TRUMP SAYS HE’LL MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN HE MEANS, ‘MAKE WHITE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN‘ NO BLK NO BROWN 70% DT SUPPORTERS WANT LGBT BANNED” she wrote last week, shortly after uploading an article about the rise of Hitler. Where some celebrities might subtly retweet an anti-immigration article, Cher nails her theses to the door of the Internet and then spins on her heel, spraying dust into the haters. If Twitter is a swimming pool, then Cher is doing bombs off the highest diving board.
As Twitter's 10th birthday approaches, it's refreshing to see that one of the best accounts on there thrives on two basic tenets of: be kind, but be real. If she feels like shit, she’s not afraid to say so, and if she feels ecstatically happy, you’ll know about it. She tweets about sex, death and politics, and if someone talks shit at her, she’ll talk shit back. If she likes an emoji, she’ll throw a handful of them in to replace actual words, and if she has a half-formed epiphany, she’ll share it with you immediately.
So don't let your Twitter be an endless echo chamber of your feet on a beach, longreads you fav'd, and remixes of "Damn Daniel". Find your inner Cher, be yourself, say what you think, and turn that caps lock up. Turn it right up.
You can follow Daisy on Twitter.