There is no shortage of social-media users who are, for lack of a better word, addicted to posting. They simply can’t help themselves, and they’ll go to great lengths to get their fix. Posting addicts are common, but last week, a 15-year-old Ariana Grande stan from Kentucky named Dorothy took it to the next level.
In her recounting over Twitter DM, Dorothy told me that her mom took away her phone after she “was boiling rice and was too busy on phone and stove burst into flames.” She was watching YouTube at the time.
After her phone was confiscated, she began desperately searching for other ways to tweet. “I’ve been bored all summer and twitter passes the time for me,” she said. She also worried that if she stayed off the platform too long, she’d lose her mutuals — internet shorthand for users who follow each other.
In her search for other posting methods, Dorothy came up with increasingly elaborate ways to daisy-chain systems not designed for tweeting. In her first post, she managed to send a tweet from her Nintendo 3DS, a video-game console with a rudimentary camera and web browser. Her tweet automatically had the hashtag #ACNL appended to it, which stands for Animal Crossing: New Leaf, a popular game. A recent UI update for Twitter brought back source labels, tags that reveal which client a user has employed to post a tweet. You can see it next to the time stamp in the screenshot below. Of course, there’s no way to easily determine whether Dorothy is who she appears to be, or whether the story of how her mother confiscated her phone is true. What is definitely true though, is that Dorothy definitely posted this tweet from her Nintendo 3DS.
But she was found out again, and her mom confiscated her 3DS. “She was mad I went behind her back after she took my phone and she then threatened to delete my twitter but she didn’t know how,” Dorothy said.
Dorothy next turned to her other video-game console, the Wii U. Unlike the 3DS, the Wii U and most modern consoles have functionality for sharing clips and screenshots directly to social media. The only problem is that users can send messages up to only 80 characters. To get around similar character restrictions on Twitter, users often screenshot longer messages typed out on their Notes app. But the Wii U is a video-game console and doesn’t have a dedicated Notes app. The Wii U does, however, have Minecraft. So Dorothy wrote a longer note in Minecraft, took a screenshot, and sent it to her followers. She thanked them for their support during this trying time.
The next day, Dorothy gave her followers another update, posting a screenshot of a Mii she’d designed to look like Ariana Grande. She said the look was “inspired from her new music video (‘Boyfriend’) hairstyle.” The accompanying text let fans know that her mom was at work and that Dorothy was desperately trying to find her confiscated phone — and the tag tells us that it was, once more, posted from her Wii U.
As all of this took place over the span of a few days, Dorothy’s follower count grew as fans laughed at the extreme measures Dorothy was taking to get these tweets off. At one point, even @Twitter weighed in. (After the #FreeDorothy saga went viral, some Twitter users who were in group chats with Dorothy alleged that she had managed multiple accounts and made offensive comments.)
Dorothy managed to recover her 3DS and get a couple more tweets off, but her hopes were dashed days later when her mom took away all of her electronics again. Having exhausted Plans A, B, and C for tweeting, a desperate Dorothy arrived at Plan D, her masterpiece: the house’s LG smart refrigerator. “My mom uses it to google recipes for baking so I just googled Twitter,” she told me. She got off one last tweet.
She now says her mom is going to get someone to remove the fridge. Asked why her mom wouldn’t just take the fridge off the network, Dorothy said, “My mom isn’t good with tech lol.” Her mom apparently thought deleting apps would delete the entire account as well.
Dorothy spoke to me using her cousin’s old iPod, which she said she didn’t have a charger for. With the battery on its last legs, she told me she had to log off. There is a not entirely remote possibility that all of this is an elaborate gag, a fun way of using Twitter metadata to create a uniquely 21st-century type of desperate character. When asked outright about this, Dorothy said, “I wish it was a joke.” I guess I’ll have to take her word for it. Regardless, it’s a really good bit.