Oprah joined Twitter.
Oprah being Oprah, she didn’t just casually join Twitter like the rest of us. She did it as a big deal on her show in front of a live-audience with Ev Williams, the CEO of Twitter on hand.
“HI TWITTERS. THANK YOU FOR A WARM WELCOME. FEELING REALLY 21ST CENTURY,” she wrote in her first tweet.
That tweet is in capital letters because, it turns out, Oprah is mind-bogglingly inept at technology.
Nick Bilton tells the story of that all-caps tweet in his new book: Hatching Twitter, A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, And Betrayal.
At the time, Twitter was just starting to enter the mainstream thanks in part to CNN and Ashton Kutcher, who were racing each other to get to a million followers. Oprah decided to get in on the Twitter party, and join the service.
At the time, this was a big deal. Every time a major celebrity joined Twitter, the media wrote about it. Oprah was (and is) a huge deal. Her joining Twitter thrust it further into the spotlight.
Her producer called up Twitter to say Oprah was going to make Twitter the anchor of her Friday morning show. The producer wanted Twitter to send out an engineer to make sure everything went smoothly.
Williams, along with other Twitter employees, was on a conference call with Oprah’s producer. He said Twitter could send an employee. The producer asked if Williams could go. He said, “Sure.” Later on, Oprah decided to make Williams a guest on the show instead of just tech support.
The day of the show, Oprah’s staff put colour-coded stickers on her laptop’s keyboard so she would be able to send a tweet. It turns out she’s completely inept when it comes to technology.
There was a yellow sticker on the keyboard that was supposed to load Oprah’s Twitter feed with tweets from all her celebrity friends.
She was supposed to hit the yellow key, see her friends’ tweets, then write one of her own.
Instead of hitting the yellow sticker, she hit the Caps Lock key. Then she typed her tweet. Then, instead of hitting send, she hit the yellow button, which erased her tweet and reloaded the page.
She hadn’t actually tweeted, even though it seemed like she did on TV.
The show cut to commercial, and Williams quickly grabbed the laptop. He hammered out a replica of the tweet to the best of his memory and hit send so her tweet actually went out to the world.