In August 2007, during the waning George W. Bush administration, a Twitter user snapped up the name @flawless. The account’s first tweet was inauspicious: “wonderin how tha hell to work this thing.” The second tweet landed Tuesday, November 26, 2019. It was worth the wait.
A little background helps. On Tuesday, Twitter began notifying people with dormant accounts that their handles would soon be thrown back into the wild, a land grab for the ages. Anyone who’s been inactive on the platform for at least six months has until December 11 to sign in, lest they find themselves—or at least their handles—raptured. At the time, @flawless hadn’t tweeted in well over a decade. So.
Social media consultant Matt Navarra tweeted a link to the news. Within an hour, Twitter user @flawlessisop—understandably eager to lop a few characters off of his handle—quote-tweeted Navarra: “Ur days are numbered @flawless.” Two minutes passed. And then this happened:
In other words, “fuck outta here.” It turns out @flawless had been there the whole time—well, most of it, anyway. In a brief DM conversation with WIRED, the person behind the account explained how they reemerged to craft the perfect tweet after years of silence.
As you may have guessed from the profile picture, the person behind @flawless is a huge Selena Gomez fan, going back to the Wizards of Waverly Place days. The account itself predates the show by a couple of months, but has basically served as a way to keep tabs on Gomez’s career, @flawless says. They follow two accounts: the one for Gomez, as well as a protected account that also has a Selena Gomez avatar.
“The only purpose of my account is to keep up with Selena Gomez’s tweets as she’s releasing an album one of these days,” says @flawless. The singer’s recently titled SG2 is scheduled to drop January 10. “I haven’t been logged in the whole time. I only just downloaded the app and logged back in a few months ago to keep up with her tweets. I haven’t been using it a lot!”
The @flawless proprietor, who would say only that they’re from Connecticut, explained that they logged on for a different reason Tuesday, specifically after having seen the Twitter news. “My first thought was to make sure Twitter wasn’t taking my handle,” @flawless says. And then came the tweet, which quickly went supernova. “I did not expect the tweet to blow up at all, I’m surprised it did,” says @flawless. “I open the app a few hours later and the tweet had already reached 1,000 retweets and 5,000 likes.” As of this writing, it’s clocking in at roughly 15,000 tweets and 65,000 likes, along with more than 800 followers for the account.
For what it’s worth, if @flawless really has been signing on intermittently, they didn’t have anything to worry about in the first place. Twitter has said that the purge applies only to accounts that have been wholly inactive; not tweeting is fine, as long as you’re logging in. But the exchange speaks to the larger confusion that’s sure to result from Twitter’s decision. Accounts that seem unoccupied may have a rich inner life. And that’s before you even get to more serious complications, like what happens to accounts of the deceased that serve as online memorials. Twitter later clarified that it initially intended the changes only for the European Union, and it won’t roll out the inactive account enforcement broadly until it figures out how to memorialize account.
For now, though, at least @flawless is off-limits. Despite the newfound fame and a handle brands would salivate over, they say they’re not interested in selling. In fact, they want the world to take away only one thing from this whole experience:
“Just let it be known I’m a Selena Gomez fan!”
Updated 11-27-2019, 3:15 pm ET: This story has been updated with Twitter’s clarification of the inactive account policy.
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