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Caitlyn Jenner, Barack Obama hop on the Twitter merry-go-round

2015 saw the arrival, departure and weird return of many notables on social media for dubious reasons.

One of social media's newest arrivals in 2015 tweeted a simple message before amassing a world record-setting 1 million followers in four hours.

"Welcome to the world Caitlyn. Can't wait for you to get to know me."

That post was from Caitlyn Jenner, whose new Twitter handle, @Caitlyn_Jenner in June became the fastest to reach the million milestone. The former Bruce Jenner surpassed President Barack Obama's new @POTUS Twitter account as the quickest to get a million followers. It turns out the president of the United States has about 20 aides handling social media accounts.

Reality star Caitlyn Jenner got a world record-setting 1 million followers in four hours after joining Twitter in June.


Meanwhile, actress Lena Dunham said adios to Twitter, but still has a social media presence on Instagram, preferring images to 140-character limits. She also created an online newsletter, Lenny. And, pop star Ed Sheeran recently told his Twitter and Instagram followers he's taking a break after finding himself seeing the world "through a screen and not my eyes."

Heck, you need a scorecard these days to keep track of which notables or celebs are doing what on social media. America's famous privacy whistleblower Edward Snowden joined Twitter in September, posting "Can you hear me now?" Meanwhile, filmmaker Joss Whedon ditched his Twitter addiction in May saying he wasn't finding much pleasure in using the social network anymore. Comedian Louis C.K. quit Twitter in April because his tweets made him depressed.

The arrivals and departures are signs that social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat can have an outsized influence on how we feel about ourselves and the people we care about. That fact pushes some to rebel against social media's all-seeing eye, while others have learned that social media is indispensable for creating a brand and swaying opinions.

"Social media influencers can build followings," said Amy Edel-Vaughn, a content developer for New York-based ad agency EGC Group, and "share passions and inspiration."

And so, we have people like Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos tweeting for the first time in November about his private space company, Blue Origin, landing a spent rocket in the desert of West Texas. He followed that up with a tweet offering to send Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump into space.

But in many ways, the departures are more interesting than the newbies, because they reflect a reaction to social media's "dark side," including "incredibly misogynistic" comments, according to Edel-Vaughn.

Perhaps the most intriguing departure from social media in 2015 was from an Australian teenager who used it to gain celebrity after attracting more than 800,000 followers on Instagram. After creating an online persona that led to modeling gigs, Essena O'Neill in October denounced social media and removed her popular Instagram and YouTube accounts. O'Neill said she was "consumed by social media" and often paid for her online posts. "I wasn't living in a 3D world," she said.

Her Instagram account is now private, with the message, "Social Media is NOT real life."

Then there's the strangeness of popular electronic dance music DJ-producer Deadmau5. In August, he removed nearly 30 million tweets from his Twitter account, only to reboot his account last week, stunning his 3.2 million followers.

The DJ's reactivated Twitter account has now gained 1 million new followers with just a few tweets, including a statement Monday to his fans originally posted on Tumblr. He discusses dealing with depression and said his deactivation wasn't due to an ongoing beef with his EDM rival DJ Skrillex or that other social media stud, pop star Justin Bieber.

Alrighty then...

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