This Dedicated One Direction Fan Tweeted Harry Styles 100,000 Times
Beatriz first set out to tweet 10,000 times. Update: She reached 100,00 times this week.
Update: I wrote this post about Beatriz, a One Direction fan tweeting Harry Styles 10,000 times, at the end of last year.
After writing the post, I hoped Beatriz would continue asking Harry Styles to follow her on Twitter. Everyday, amidst the boring political commentary and witty banter on my Twitter feed, I'd watch Beatriz's tweets spam my feed. I'd cheer her on. I'd update my colleagues on the number of tweets she'd sent. I felt a sense of pride.
Then came the big moment I'd been hoping for: Beatriz reached a goal of tweeting Harry Styles ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND TIMES.
But sadly, it wasn't all a joyful pursuit for the young fan.
"When I was about to reach 100k tweets I felt weird, the reality hit me like a rock," she told me. "It's like I was ignored 100,000 times... it wasn't cool at all."
Beatriz said that she thinks Harry Styles hasn't followed her yet because he's been busy with the group's world tour. She added: "It's probably also because of the timezones, and because he only follows 3 or 4 fans every month so its almost impossible to get the follow."
Maybe Harry Styles will see this post and follow Beatriz. We can only hope. Anyway, here's how it began last December.
Yesterday I witnessed a moment I had been eagerly awaiting for weeks: A One Direction fan tweeted Harry Styles this message for the 10,000th time.
The fan, Beatriz, started by tweeting it over 5,000 times in less than two weeks.
She claims she tweeted each tweet manually, too.
Now, a couple of weeks later, she has finally reached that 10,000 mark.
Beatriz told me she began her Twitter relationship with Harry Styles by telling him how her day was going and how she was feeling. But when she felt it was useless, she "decided to spam him".
The Portuguese teen doesn’t think what she has done so far will be enough to get Harry to follow her back, and plans to spend at least a year tweeting him to get his attention.
"I only spam Harry Styles," she said. "I don't need anything but his follow."
Beatriz said she tweets him when she's at home doing nothing.
On her lunch breaks.
On her morning breaks.
And during the four hours a day she spends on the bus.
Sometimes she even tweets him during school classes.
Beatriz first became a fan of One Direction in early 2013 after seeing them perform live. Then she "became a fan 24/7".
"I love them more than my own life, but Harry was the one who I loved the most," she gushed. "I actually loved him more than I would love a boyfriend."
Beatriz also told me that Harry Styles saved her life.
"He didn't save me like I was about to kill myself or anything and bam, he saved me. No, but I was a bad girl. Like, I had bad grades, I smoked, I skipped some classes."
But she said things changed when she became a One Directioner.
"When I started to like [the band] I tried to calm myself down. Then I realised that Harry was the most beautiful human being on earth, he loves to help people, to be a 'good boy'...and I kinda followed his example."
She said that since she became a fan of Styles, she has had perfect grades, made good friends, and stopped smoking.
"He changed my life for better, he made me feel good with myself. He makes me the happiest girl on the planet, I'm not even kidding. I can't imagine how I would be right now if it wasn't him to be honest."
Beatriz isn't alone in the belief that Harry Styles has a life-or-death influence in her life. Searching the phrase "kill myself" and the Twitter handle @HarryStyles brought up these worrying search results from the last few days alone.
Last year, some fans were rumoured to have taken their own lives after a documentary sparked conflict between fans who did and did not believe that Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles were in a relationship.
The fans in question were later found to be alive and well.
The Twitter users still adamantly claim that they did attempt to take their lives because of the "Larry Stylinson" drama, according to their accounts and blog posts.
"Larry 'shippers" – who believe the pair are in a relationship – have been sharing their theories on the apparent couple for years. It's something Beatriz is passionate about.
"I think you should know that I believe in their romance harder than I've ever believed in something else," she told me. "I 'ship them with all my heart and soul and I think it's the most beautiful love history I've ever seen."
She said she believes they love each other but that their management prevents the relationship from going public.
"I can still see the love in their eyes when they look at each other. My life goal is getting Harry's follow but so is seeing them coming out and being happy together."
But while some fans hide in bins, pretend to kill dogs, chase the group in cars, and threaten to take their own lives, what dominates the One Direction world is the sheer scale of their online fanbase.
Fans will tweet tens of thousands of times in a row just so they can maybe one day add a timestamp of when a group member followed them on Twitter.
Beatriz is no different.
"We spam the famous who we want to get noticed [by]," Beatriz said, speaking about herself and her fan network. "We tweet him or her over and over again."
But the sheer huge number of fans of famous people is dubious, to say the least. Click farms and social-media marketing agencies have been accused of being behind many likes and follows of Facebook and Twitter fan pages and views of YouTube videos online for celebrities and businesses.
Earlier this year, an Associated Press study found a "growing global marketplace" for fake clicks. Speaking to Italian security researchers and bloggers Andrea Stroppa and Carla De Micheli, AP found that that sales of fake Twitter followers had the potential to bring in an estimated $40 million to $360 million in 2013. According to the research, fake Facebook activity has the potential to bring in $200 million a year.
But fake accounts or no fake accounts, one thing's for sure: There will be no stopping genuine fans like Beatriz from declaring their love for Harry Styles and the rest of One Direction on a very regular basis.
Thank you, Beatriz. I hope you reach 100,000 tweets.