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Why Cher had the must-follow Twitter account of 2018

Commentary: Twitter has been hell this year. Cher is an angel in its midst.

Samir Hussein/Getty

It's the end of 2018, and the internet has become the bad place, the creepy space, the danger zone. But don't despair, for there is a beacon of light shining in the darkness, here to lift your spirits, here to restore hope, here to make you… believe.

That's right, it's Cher. 

Specifically, it's Cher on Twitter, although she's obviously worthy of admiration beyond this context.

Like many people, I often feel that Twitter is a soul-crushing hellscape where snark and cynicism are overvalued and where ego-driven chest beating is mistaken for genuine real-world importance. Bots, bullies, harassment and hate speech flourish on the platform, while normal folk bumble along, sharing their half-baked opinions and mostly failing at humor.

And then there's Cher. 

Cher is a different kind of Twitter user from the rest of us. She's the antithesis of all the wrong types of tweeters.

In 2018 alone, Twitter Cher made me laugh, cry and feel a range of complex emotions while I navigated a social network that I can't abandon for professional reasons, but that mostly leaves me feeling dispirited and anxious.

Even Twitter has realized that Cher is a true star among celebrity tweeters, cashing in on her genius by producing a two-part video series in which she reads her tweets and tries to explain what she was thinking at the time she posted them.

"I crack myself up… I don't even know what's going on here," she says at one point. And in response, what else can we say but: "Same, Cher. Same."

Who'd have thought that the global superstar, untouchable glamour-puss and goddess of pop could be so… relatable? Personally, I'd always found Cher a little intimidating, but the internet can be a great leveler. And so here I am relating so hard to her that in 2018 she's far and away the best person I follow on Twitter.

Cher swerves wildly between righteous indignation at injustice and funny, obscure observations. Her tweets often have the syntax of an experimental poet, which, she's explained, is due to dyslexia. She flings emojis, paragraph breaks and punctuation about with wild abandon.

I say this not simply to point out the color and originality she brings to the platform, but the way in which she elevates her voice using an enthralling mix of style and substance.

Everything she is and says contrasts starkly with the snooty, snide, intellectually superior and often outright mean tone that dominates Twitter. Her unabashed authenticity and earnestness draw me to her on an almost daily basis.

Even her Twitter bio is a breath of fresh air: "Stand & B Counted or Sit & B Nothing. Don't Litter,Chew Gum,Walk Past Homeless PPL w/out Smile.DOESNT MATTER in 5 yrs IT DOESNT MATTER THERE'S ONLY LOVE&FEAR."

I'd go so far as to argue that Cher's account -- with its whirlwind of rants, its startling leaps between the personal and political, and its iconic meme-making tweets -- represents our collective consciousness at this time of uncertainty and upheaval. It's a reflection of a desire to express ourselves and engage with what's going on in the world, while at the same time not quite knowing how.

But Cher knows how. It's both baffling and beautiful how she's able to articulate so much in a way that traditionally would be considered the opposite of articulate, before breezily signing off with her signature "Later."

Let's show our appreciation and take a look at some of the highlights of Cher's year on Twitter.

Meme queen 2018

My favorite meme this year was Cher's "Hi again" tweet. I'm not alone. Even by Cher's standards, this tweet went crazy viral.

Cher quickly realized that she'd created a monster, but she didn't know how or why. All she knew is that there was no way she could stuff it back in the box.

A mama's girl at heart

Cher loves her mother, and her mother loves her right back. Georgia Holt, who is 92, is her daughter's No. 1 fan.

Take a seat and admire this, in which Georgia owns the most powerful men in Silicon Valley while declaring her support for Cher. We stan Georgia.

Cher tweets about her mother often, occasionally with a rolling-eyes emoji (see above), but how cute is this?

Hot tech takes

Georgia taught Cher well. Her daughter won't take any nonsense from tech CEOs either. Sorry, Mark Zuckerberg, you can't pull the wool over Cher's eyes.

Like many people, Cher mulled leaving Facebook after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal became public in March. Like many people, she had mixed emotions about it. She's staying on Twitter, though. Phew.

Even as recently as this month, Cher has been casting judgment on the tech world, proving that there's no current-affairs issue she doesn't have her eye on.

Just one woman

You'd think that when you've reached Cher-level heights of success, you'd no longer have to put up with men trying to tell you what they think you should do career-wise. Turns out, it's not the case, but Cher gives short shrift to interfering gents.

But don't think that doesn't mean she doesn't have a sense of humor. She can laugh at herself too. To be clear, the only person who's allowed to make fun at Cher's expense should be Cher.

The tweet below is clearly a typo, and yet there's something poignant about the emotion Cher is accidentally expressing here. She is just one woman, and yet as is often the case for women, so much is expected of her that she might as well be many women.

Heart of gold

Cher's empathy runs deep and is a side of her we see exposed on Twitter through tweets like this. Her sadness and frustration are so vivid here they brought tears to my eyes.

She also gives great advice to her followers and motivates them with hope. Look at this sweet but powerful reply she sent to someone who felt numb following the Santa Fe, Texas, school shooting in May.

As every prolific tweeter knows, sometimes you tweet things you regret. Cher knows it too and gives a master class here in how to apologize with humility. I think we all know a Twitter user who could use this as inspiration.

Voice of an era

"These are strange times." Cher gets it. She understands that the world is falling apart and music is a way to process difficult emotions. That is why she is here for you with her ABBA tribute album. Cher gives you permission to cry, but she hopes you'll be happy.

All we can say is: mood.

Thanks, Cher, for another legendary year and for keeping me sane. See you in 2019. Later ✌

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