Friday, April 5, 2019

"Before ‘Old Town Road,’ Lil Nas X Was a Tweetdecker"

To say that the rise of Lil Nas X has been meteoric is an understatement. His hit song, “Old Town Road,” flew up the charts, hitting No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 (and No. 1 on the country charts before it was deemed not country) before he had even been signed to a record label.


After a bidding war, he signed to Colombia Records, and a remix of his hit song, featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, was released last night.


An underreported part of Lil Nas X’s success, however, is his history operating a popular Twitter account. By trafficking in memes, viral threads, engagement bait, and Nicki Minaj stanning, Lil Nas X was able to create a six-digit follower base on Twitter, and it was that platform that served as a springboard for “Old Town Road.” Lil Nas X may seem like an overnight success, but his breakthrough is the product of a years-long, 21st-century marketing plan — one which has been banned from Twitter for its reliance on spammy tactics and copying others.


Nas Maraj’s activity on Twitter is instantly recognizable to anyone familiar with “tweetdecking”: networks of popular accounts that coordinate retweeting and promoting each other, and rip off viral tweets from less prominent accounts.
In sum:

Previously: "Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ Was a Country Hit. Then Country Changed Its Mind"