I tried to post much of this information as a comment on a post over at Patterico’s Pontifications, but unfortunately, it kept getting caught in their spam filter. As a result, my lucky readers get a new Weinergate post to wet their whistles.
Early, two mornings ago, a reader sent me and another blogger a link to something I hadn’t seen before: an internet cached page showing the state of Starchld111′s Twitter account on April 6, 2011. It added insight into how that account evolved, coming in between the two caches of whole Twitter profile pages from January 1, 2011 and April 16, 2011 (as opposed to screenshots and other records of various groups of and individual tweets) that we Weinergate addicts have had. The new cache was posted last night to Patterico for public perusal.
What does all of this show? Originally, I was attempting to respond to a Patterico commenter, MayBee, who asked how the profile could show that Starchild111 had only tweeted seven times on both the 1/1/11 and the 4/6/11 pages, when we know that the account tweeted @GingerLee in March—between the two dates.
But it goes further in providing clues as to who originally set up and continued to use the account, whether it is operated by the same person throughout, why the account was set up and used, and how the account was used.
Let’s take a look. Click below to see all the caches and follow me down the rabbit hole.
Here’s the first cache of the Starchild111 account, depicting its state as of 1/1/11:
[The original copy of this cache can be found here. Click the above picture for an enlarged view.]
[The original copy of this can be found here. Click the above picture for an enlarged view.]
Changes since previous cache:
- “Real Name” change from Jenay to Starchild
- Avatar change from Twitter’s generic egg to a user-uploaded falling star graphic
- Page background change from Twitter’s generic blue clouds to Twitter’s black starry night
- Original (presumed) 16 people followed by Starchild111 remain followed (as evidenced by the little thumbnails of the followed avatars)
Things remaining the same:
- The account still has only 11 people following it, though we don’t know if the actual people on the list changed. Only that the number remained constant.
- The account now follows 10 more people than it did previously. Thumbnails of the new 10′s avatars are shown first, before showing the original, matching 16—adding up to the total 26.
- Both caches show that Stachild111 had tweeted only seven times since the account began. However, Twitter deducts any deleted tweets from the total tweet count.
The first cache shows tweets ranging from August 14 to November 11, 2010. The second cache does not show the account profile page, so we only get a glimpse of the account statistics on the right. It doesn’t show tweets. Therefore, we don’t know which of the early tweets she deleted to make room for her tweets to Ginger Lee, nor do we know whether she had deleted any Ginger Lee tweets. (The third cache below shows three tweets to Ginger Lee between 1/1/11 and 4/6/11.)
Here’s the third cache of the Starchild111 account, depicting its state as of 4/16/11:
I have redacted the name of Ethel in the tweets in an effort to protect the real teen’s identity. Note, however, that Starchild111′s supposed first tweet to her on April 13 is done as “in reply to.” In all likelihood this “reply” is actually not in response to something that Ethel tweeted first to Starchild111. I would bet that it was “replying” to Ethel’s public tweet to everyone that @RepWeiner was now following her.
Note also that Starchild111 has by this point dropped the annoying habit exhibited in the first cache of abbreviating “you” as “u.” (Or maybe she simply matured.) Her use of punctuation marks has markedly expanded, and she has begun capitalizing the first letter of her sentences. (Often a device, such as a smart phone, can do this automatically, but the third cache above shows she was using the web browser for all of her tweets, which does not change user capitalization input.)
My amateur-sleuth reader also noted that the initial tweets to both Ginger Lee and Ethel follow very similar language [reprinted here with my emphasis: bold for language, italics for tweet purpose]:
To GingerLee: I can relate I’m a fangirl too! What did he say (trying to live vicariously through you lol)?!!!
To Ethel: Hey! I’m a fangirl too! I’m living vicariously thru you! How’d you get him to talk to you????
How many 16 year olds use, let alone know, the word vicariously?
And a new find I made: A fourth cache of Starchild111′s account, depicting its state on 5/14/11:
Changes since previous cache:
- New avatar showing girl-and-stuffed-dog photo, but is not a 16-year-old high school student named Nikki Reid at the time of this cache
- Tweet count has gone from 11 to 60 in less than a month, so the pace of tweeting—without deleting—has exponentially increased. (However, that’s not so unusual with Twitter, where people’s frequency of tweets tend to pick up the more friends they acquire and the more comfortable they become with the medium.)
- The number of people Starchild111 follows has more than doubled to 119. The number of followers she has accumulated has grown by nearly 50% to 32.
Starchild111 will continue to tweet from this account until at least May 18, but she will delete all of her work by May 28.
Conclusions That Can Be Drawn
We know tweets were deleted between the first record with seven tweets (cached on 1/1/2011) and the Starchild lists cache (4/6/11), in order to at least tweet Ginger Lee three times and still maintain the tweet count of seven. The next cache we have of the account is from 4/16/11, showing 11 tweets, but only 4 tweets from between the first two dates were still in existence.
Therefore, it seems unwise to assert the tweet counts as being accurate on any of these caches, as clearly tweets were often deleted.
It’s also interesting that the two caches that actually show tweets also exhibit a similar pattern of a bursts of tweets and then going away for about a month before coming back for another burst of tweets and then going away for a month, and so on. (That, of course, assumes a false pattern is not created due to tweet deletion.) Also, while it seems odd on the face of it to pick one person and tweet only to them in a monthly burst, as in the third cache, the first cache exhibits a focused (though not exclusive) attention on a couple of tweeters too.
Just as the brief Starchild111 girl-and-stuffed-dog avatar in the fourth cache was not an original photo but appears to have been poached from someone else’s 2006 Flickr photo account, Starchild111′s falling star graphic avatar is not an original creation either. Google image search finds several copies of this graphic uploaded two or more years ago to a clip art site called Piczo.com.
When the “following” information shown in each cache is compared, I find those tweeters remain consistent from the first through the third cache. The comparison shows people being added but not deleted.
The first cache had 16 people she followed. The second cache had 26, with all the original 16 shown, but 10 more added, with GingerLee being the last of the new 10. The third cache has the exception to the rule. It appears that between the 2nd and 3rd caches, one person followed in the first batch has been unfollowed.
[The unfollowed options are likely to be either Khloé Kardashian, Robert Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Kendall Jenner, Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez Fan, Natalie Martinez, or...Writers' Program.]
The total “following” by Starchild111 on 4/16/11 included celebrities, GingerLee, “Ethel” and GennetteNicole. No one else.
Also notable: Ethel was a huge Lebron fan, and Starchild111 followed two Lebron tweeters after following her.
Lastly, amid all the love for multiple Jennifer Lopez accounts and the entire Kardashian clan, Starchild turns out to be a big fan of…Guns-n-Roses, following all of the band members—beginning sometime between 1/1/11 and 4/6/11 and then continuing during the next 10 days until we have our third cache. Not exactly 16-year-old fare, unless Slash guitar games inspired an affinity for their music (or a parent tends to play them on the hi-fi).
Latin Connection or Just J-Lo Fan?
As a commenter, Koam, at Patterico notes, it’s rather odd that someone would take an established account (either of her own or one taken over from someone else) and then delete benign tweets that would otherwise help show the account as one in active and long-standing existence. Why not leave all the tweets, unless there is something to hide?
That comment called my attention to the first Starchild111 cache above. I note the first six out of seven tweets are to up-and-coming Latina actress Natalie Martinez (who I suspect, but don’t know for sure, went by the Twitter name of @Goldnd12, which is now defunct, until her TV series Detroit 187 came out last September and she switched to her current Twitter name of @NatMartinez_) and a fan site for Latina actress/singer Jennifer Lopez, @LovelyLopezNet.
Is it merely coincidence that she’s interested in women who happen to be Latina? Or is she interested in them because they are Latina? I don’t follow the goings-on of most celebrities, so I’m not surprised I hadn’t heard of Martinez before this story broke. However, in looking at her background, it seems she’s no Lopez when it comes to fame and name recognition. Did many people know of her prior to the TV show?
Martinez came from the world of telenovella acting and had a modestly successful acting career prior to Detriot 187. (She was perhaps best known until then for her role in the 2008 movie Death Race.) Or perhaps Starchild111 knew of her because Martinez is the spokesmodel for the clothing and accessories line JLO by Jennifer Lopez.
Regardless of how and why Starchild111 first became interested in Martinez, her interest seems to be more in-depth than just as a new fan of the new TV show: Three out of the four Starchild111 tweets to Martinez about her new show were in the month before the show ever aired. According to the cancelled show’s website, the pilot premiered on September 21, 2010. Starchild111 was tweeting her about it on August 14 and September 20. How and why would she have had so much interest in a show that had yet to air? Did it involve Latin pride? Or was it her plan to try to get close to J-Lo by getting to know her spokesmodel? Impossible to know for sure without her telling us.
Twitter Stumbler or Stalker?
So it seems Starchild111 was in the center of the Weiner controversy before the scandal ever occurred. More analysis is needed, but here’s the way things are pointing so far.
Who originally set up and continued to use the account? Was it is operated by the same person throughout? The person of the first cache and the person of the third cache seem very dissimilar in their use of vocabulary, abbreviation, capitalization and amount of punctuation. Their interests are radically different: fashion/pop culture celebrities (perhaps with a Latin angle) versus a married left-wing Jewish politician supposedly across the country. All of the tweets are rather frivolous and fawning, however, so the personalities aren’t completely separate.
Why the account was set up and used: If the account was to be set-up by a political operative with Anthony Weiner as the prime target, you couldn’t get further away from his world by picking pop celebrities to follow instead of political figures or political causes. However, Weiner did like to follow women that rarely tweeted politics but instead gushed over Britney and Lady Gaga and their latest nail polish color. But who would know that other than someone that intimately knew him or that had intensely pored over his followers to discern that peccadillo of his.
It’s far easier to believe that this was an account that was set-up for some personal interest but that never really got off the ground until an interest in Anthony Weiner developed. It seems that interest then drove some of the development and activity on the account.
How the account was used: Based on the tweet patterns exhibited above, it appears that the account was consistently used to target and engage specific persons. Even at the very start, although the initial persons were celebrity related, perhaps Starchild111 was attempting to get close to people that knew Jennifer Lopez. Then the same thing is done, but with the locus being Anthony Weiner, gaining entry to him by engaging with people he engaged.
It’s still hard to say whether this was done for nefarious purposes or done simply because Starchild111 was a fanatic for them. Perhaps time and more analysis will tell, if Starchild111 won’t.