I might've done a bit of Taylurking.
After Taylor Swift scoured the Internet to find fans to invite to her 1989 Secret Sessions -- a series of five events at Taylor's homes where unsuspecting Swifties listened to her latest album before it was released -- I went online to find them too. At first, I wanted the juice: What was Tay's house like? Did you pet her cats? Are they soft? What does the album sound like? What is her secret recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies?
What I got was a community.
I have to admit, I was a bandwaggoner Swiftie. I caught on to her honest, relatable lyrics and general perfection during the Red era -- mostly because I was covering every move she made for work. Fast forward to two weeks ago, when I woke up before the sun to catch bits and pieces of Swift's 1989 World Tour kickoff in Tokyo, sucking up the set list, 15-second clips and any photo I could find on Twitter like I was licking every last bit of ice cream out of my bowl. My Twitter feed was 95 percent Swift and 5 percent trash, and all the Secret Sessioners I had stalked all this time were swapping tour pics and writing in ALL CAPS. I was right there with them.
There are few people I talk to online who I haven't met in real life. I've always been wary about it because, hello, have you ever heard of a little MTV show called "Catfish"? But, of course, no one in the Swiftie community is worried about catfishing -- they're focused on one
thing goddess: Slaylor Swift.
I followed Autumn after the Nashville Secret Sessions. I followed a lot of people, knowing that they'd love Taylor as much as I did and that we could fan out over her together with zero judgment. And pretty soon, I saw photos on Twitter of Autumn in a car with her friends in blue tulle tutus. They were heading for Bossier City, Louisiana.
"OMG AUTUMN I'M GOING TOO!!!!"
Bossier City was Taylor's official kickoff show in the States and Autumn was roadtripping from Lexington, Kentucky. We decided to meet up.
I spotted her right away around 5 p.m. She'd gotten there at 11:30 a.m. The MTV crew was inside the CenturyLink Center grabbing our credentials to shoot interviews with fans when I saw her on the other side of the door -- at the front of the line. The blue tutus gave it away.
I introduced myself as "Emilee from MTV" but I probably should've said "Emilee, the girl who's constantly favoriting all your tweets." I already felt like I was on holy ground, anxious to see Taylor's show, and here, I felt like I was with my people. Turns out, Autumn had made the trip with other Secret Sessioners: Holly Templeton came from Lexington, North Carolina; Katelyn Crone came from Cincinnati, Ohio; and Allysa Levans trekked all the way down from Kenosha, Wisconsin. I made my own journey from New York City, stupidly dressing in all black and forgetting what sweat felt like in the South (at one point during the night, I told a fan I thought I had "underbutt sweat" and completely repulsed them).
We traded stories about the Swift shows we've been to and I asked them about what it was like to be in Taylor's house. Katelyn told me she hit an armadillo on the drive down -- his name was Dillo (R.I.P.) -- and how she might just tell the story to Taylor if they met again that night. Our goal, like every other person that night, was to get into Loft89 -- the exclusive afterparty meet-and-greet with a group of people hand-selected by Mama Swift during the show.
They had floor seats and therefore weren't allowed to take in signs, but this foursome was sneaky, painting a square of cloth and folding it up in their pockets, unlike all the other posterboard-toting fans whose art was left at the door. I took a picture because I couldn't resist.
And then I realized -- I had to document this moment. How often does this happen? Person you meet online introduces you to other people in real life, whom you also befriend online. We followed each other immediately, and I had someone take a picture with me in it. And then we said goodbye, traded Loft89 luck and I was on my way, off to wander the community of 13,996 other Swifties who would, that very night, all become united when we all danced to "Shake It Off" without a care in the world.
A little Taylurking goes a long way.