The Strange Case of Twitter, Twenty One Pilots and ‘Blurryface’
A twitter account that took over a fan base.
“My name’s Blurryface and I care what you think”
Long before Twenty One Pilot’s “Stressed Out” lyrics were sung in every high school hallway and the song hit platinum, fans of the band were introduced to the song’s character Blurryface through an innovative social media marketing campaign.
The twitter account @blurryface came to the surface in 2015, as a series of cryptic tweets were discovered by fans of Twenty One Pilots. Discussion quickly picked up among the community about the legitimacy of the account. It seemed to have no ties to the band — except the admin hinted at releases and events before they were officially released by Twenty-One Pilots.
The account teased the release of singles and info regarding the new album — also titled Blurryface — that was set to be released later that year.
The tweets were confusing. This person wrote in all caps, misspelled words, released pictures with hidden messages. As soon as these tweets were up, they quickly disappeared from the page.
Fans practically lived in the mind of this fictional character. Discussion and theories and trying to decode messages became an obesession. With all of the discussion around these tweets, #Blurryface often trended on Twitter and Tumblr.
Even if you were not interested in the theories, you probably saw the name Blurryface floating around the internet.
Without even having an album released yet, Twenty One Pilots had found a way to promote their music and give their fans a way to connect with the band’s story. The thousands of tweets sent out about the album by their fan base called “The Skeleton Clique” was enough marketing for them alone.
Ahead of Twenty One Pilot’s second official album release, the activity on the strange twitter account began to pick up again. This is time, the message was the word “DRIP” written repeatedly with the words “forced their hand.” Fans came to the conclusion that this meant that the album would be leaking. The band’s single “Lane Boy” had been leaked in the weeks leading up to this tweet.
This tweet sent off shock waves across the internet as the Clique began madly searching for a new single or the album. Eventually a tumblr user found a digital album of Blurryface available for purchase on a streaming platform called Ghost Tunes. The album download was gone by the next day, but the music was already out and being shared.
After the mysterious messages and disappearance of the “leaked” album, fans were left wondering finding the album was truly the intended outcome. There has never been confirmation about whether band members, Tyler Joseph or Josh Dun, were associated with the Twitter account.
The @blurryface twitter account still sporadically tweets when least expected, but the band has moved on to a new venture with their creative world DEMA. This project relies on a website, rather than a social media page.
The entire journey of the unconfirmed Twenty One Pilot’s twitter page was a creative venture that proved to be successful. Fans latched onto the mystery immediately and created free marketing for the album before its release.
This also was a new way tell a story for the band. The character of Blurryface was integral throughout an entire album and the account personified it. The tweets and behavior on the account breathed more life into the lyrics and themes from the record.
This project is an example of how social media is integrating different forms of art and communication, allowing for music to grow in unexpected ways.
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