On Friday, the pop megastar deleted all content from her social media accounts, to the surprise of her hundreds of millions of followers - she erased every tweet, every Instagram photo, every Facebook post.
Her website went completely dark. It sparked internet mania, as her fans could only assume that it meant she had hit the reset button to signal that new music was on the way.
Swift’s next project is especially highly anticipated because she hasn’t released any music since 1989 in October 2014
; it became one of the few albums this decade to sell 1 million copies in its first week. Swift, who typically is on an every-two-years album cycle, is one of the only artists on the planet who still has the power to rack up those kind of sales.
Over the weekend, Swift fans thought they had figured it out - Swift was in a social-media blackout, so that’s like an eclipse ... so she must be releasing music Monday, during the solar eclipse! Not a bad theory.
Swift, always the marketing genius, stoked the flames on Monday morning. She broke her silence with a creepy 10-second video, which appeared to show a snake unfurling, interrupted by static. It had been viewed 5.1 million times by 6.30pm (HKT) on Tuesday.
Naturally, Swift fans freaked out, not only because of the mysterious teaser but because the snake is a significant symbol. Last summer, Swift experienced lots of backlash after Kim Kardashian posted a phone call between Swift and Kanye West, which appeared to show that Swift did, in fact, know that West was going to mention her in his controversial song Famous
. (Previously, it seemed Swift was caught off-guard.) In response to Kardashian’s video, Swift responded that she had been “falsely painted as a liar” - but many on the internet still declared Swift a “snake” and used many emojis to make that point.
The idea that the always self-aware Swift would use a snake to her advantage sent her devoted fan base into a frenzy. And of course, Twitter went into overdrive making jokes about Swift trying to one-up a celestial event by making sure all attention was focused on the rollout of her new music.
As of Monday afternoon, it seemed to be working - although the eclipse was the top worldwide trending topic on Twitter, social media was primed for Swift’s new single, or album, or whatever she wanted to release. Even though there were no more hints since the morning, no one seemed to mind.