Today, Taylor Swift is the most popular person on Instagram with more than 50 million followers.
The pop star has an active and genuine online presence — she’s known for communicating with her fans through Instagram and voicing her thoughts on Tumblr.
Her open letter to Apple that she published to her personal Tumblr account, for instance, convinced the company to change an important policy regarding how artists participating in Apple Music are paid.
But in 2013, Swift didn’t use the internet at all, according to GQ, largely because she didn’t want to read all of the gossip spreading about her personal life. Here’s what she told the magazine:
I went through a few years where I just never went online and never looked at blogs,” she recalls. “This was around 2013, when the only thing anyone wanted to write about me was about me and some guy. It was really damaging. You’re thinking, ‘Everybody goes on dates when they’re 22. It’s fine, right?’ Nope. Not when you’re in this situation, and everything you do is blown out of proportion and expanded upon. And all of a sudden, there’s an overriding opinion that doesn’t accurately reflect how you actually live your life. So I didn’t go online for a year and a half. I actually forgot my Instagram password.
In 2015, Swift looks at things differently. She keeps tabs on what people say about her online because she knows that can shape the general public’s image of her. She told GQ:
But now I check in and see what’s happening. In 2015, that stuff does matter. Because if enough people say the same thing about me, it becomes fact in the general public’s mind. So I monitor what people say about me, and if I see a theme, I know what that means. I’ve had it happen twice before. In 2010, it was She’s too young to get all these awards. Look how annoying she is when she wins. Is she even good? And then in 2013, it was She just writes songs about guys to get revenge. She’s boy-crazy. She’s a problematic person. It will probably be something else again this year.