Top 5 Twitterers of 2009
Get ready for the new year with our look back at music's top microblog trendsetters.
This was the year of Twitter. Millions (and millions) of people took to Twitter to record their daily lives in short blurbs of 140 characters or less — including musicians like Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, DJ A-Trak, and Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus. We kept track of them all, collecting the best, newsiest tweets of the week for our weekly Follow Friday feature.
Here’s a look back at the Top 5 Twitter events of the past year:
5. Mike Skinner releases songs via Twitter (@skinnermike)
This British hip-hop artist — more commonly known as The Streets — started a music revolution when he released a trio of new songs (for free!) on his Twitter page in April. “I am going to tweet three new songs this week. I can’t be bothered with all this trying to sell you music. It wastes valuable time,” he wrote. So many people downloaded the three tracks — “I Love My Phone,” “Trust Me,” and “David Hassles” — that he decided to release more music on Twitter, posting 10 more songs before the year was out. Since then, other artists have followed suit, making songs and videos available for download on Twitter before they ever hit iTunes.
4. Frances Bean Cobain issues an “open letter” to Ali Lohan
What a chip off the old block! While her mother, Hole frontwoman Courtney Love, was posting lengthy rants against lawyers and gossip bloggers on her own Twitter page, Cobain decided to lash out at Lindsay Lohan’s younger sister. The 17-year-old posted an “open letter” to Ali Lohan in October, slamming her for using her sister’s name to get tabloid attention, writing, “You lack the talent, social understanding and credibility to be anything more than famous.” Cobain also expressed indignation at being grouped in the same category as Lohan — since they’re both related to well-known celebrities: “I would rather die a most painful death the be associated with the kind of career you’re trying to make for yourself.” Later, both Frances and her mom deleted their Twitter accounts, though Courtney eventually returned (with a new username, CourtneyLoveUK).
3. Erykah Badu tweets while in labor (@fatbellybella)
The neo-soul diva took tweeting to a whole new level when she and boyfriend Jay Electronica live-tweeted the birth of their daughter, Mars, in February. “Morning, I’m in labor,” she announced to the world on her Twitter page. As the time between her contractions got shorter and shorter, she stopped tweeting and let Electronica take over with the updates. “I see the head, full of hair,” he tweeted just before Badu gave birth. She didn’t waste any time getting back to Twitter after Mars was born; almost instantly she tweeted, “I can’t believe it’s over. Home birth, no painkillers, about five hours, she was a little past due date, but I didn’t mind waiting. Breath.”
2. Trent Reznor quits Twitter (@Trent_reznor)
The Nine Inch Nails frontman was one of Twitter’s most avid participants — that is, until he and his fiancée, former West Indian Girl singer Mariqueen Maandig, started getting cyber-bullied by a group called “Metal Sludge,” whom Reznor described as “unattractive plump females who publicly fantasize about having sex with guys in bands.” Reznor said they “spewed hate” at the couple via Twitter and made him realize that, when it comes to social networking, “idiots rule.” He returned to his blog in June and posted a lengthy rant against the “Metal Sludge” girls, writing darkly, “Cutter’s tip for my friends there: remember to cut along the length of vein, not across. Bigger payoff.” Then he stopped tweeting completely, leaving the musical Twitterverse reeling — for a couple of months, anyway. By October, he was back to his page, tweeting about the 20th anniversary of his debut album, Pretty Hate Machine. “Happy birthday, old friend,” he wrote, breaking his Twitter silence and alerting the world — yes, even “Metal Sludge” — to his comeback.
1. Musicians react to Michael Jackson’s death (#michaeljackson)
In August, when news broke that the King of Pop had died suddenly from cardiac arrest at the age of 50, the world reacted with shock, grief, and thousands and thousands of tweets — so many tweets, in fact, that the social networking site crashed. Jackson’s fellow musicians turned to Twitter as they mourned the loss of their hero, colleague, and friend. Everyone from Diddy to Miley Cyrus to Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz to Ludacris had something poignant to tweet about the man who, in many cases, had inspired them to perform. John Mayer summed it up best when he tweeted: “Dazed in the studio. A major strand of our cultural DNA has left us. RIP MJ. I think we’ll mourn his loss as well as the loss of ourselves as children listening to Thriller on the record player.”