What It's Like Running the Internet's Most Famous Fan Armies
Beliebers and Directioners have cornered boy band fandom, but when it comes to girl power, there’s no more rabid bunch than the Swifties. And we obviously mean that as a compliment. Taylor Swift’s massive fan base has grown to epic proportions throughout the country singer-turned-pop star’s epic career, even branching out from her 71.9 million followers on Twitter into influential subgroups of their own. There are literally hundreds of popular fan armies to follow online, but two of the biggest—@SimplySFans and @TSwiftOnTour, with almost half a million fans between them—are blazing the way with their constantly updated feeds and exclusive scoop. No easy task, especially considering the founders are still in school (and that this passion project is totally unpaid).
Zainub started @SimplySFans in 2009 after realizing that few others existed at that time. She named it in honor of Taylor and her BFF Selena Gomez. “Initially, the S stood for Selena and Swift because I adored their friendship,” the University of Albany student explained. “Later I focused on just updating about Taylor Swift—the use of hashtags and ability to post live to the entire world about my love for Taylor really motivated me to keep going, especially because Taylor would post everything important on her Twitter page before any other platform,” she said. But while 19-year-old Zainub impressively operates her account solo, the trio of friends behind @TSwiftonTour switch off posting duties.
“We spend more time on running the account than we spend doing other things,” Samantha, one of the @TSwiftonTour founders, said. These shifts usually mean updating from 6am until around midnight. “I think it gets the most challenging when we have a show to update at a weird hour in our timezone like the 3am shows in Asia but, it's always worth it,” she said.
Zainub estimates she spends two hours total each day working on the account. “I know this sounds obsessive or weird—but in total, it's sending a few tweets a day and then the extra time is monitoring everything that goes on,” she said. “I do feel pressure when something important like Grammy wins comes out immediately and I know I need to put it out there the second I know because of how fast things go viral when they're relevant to the moment.”
That pressure is even more palpable because Taylor is famous for trolling her fans’ accounts, a habit that everyone we talked to is more than familiar with. The @TSwiftonTour and @SimplySFans founders had each met TSwift in person multiple times (nbd), in addition to getting shout outs from her online. Any gig that essentially entails updating the internet about Taylor Swift news is bound to come with a few key perks. Zainub recalled her best moment when she was invited to a 1989 private listening session. “Her management called me to be front row at a private rooftop performance only to mingle with Taylor at a party of 20-30 people afterwards. Super casual, right?” Right.
“She saw me in the audience front row and nodded at me and smiled.”