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#BruceJenner: Coming Out in the Age of Social Media



The Kardashians: love them, hate them, or feel a little bit of both towards them, we’re all ALWAYS talking about them. None of us like it, but it’s true. Do I hate myself a little when I find myself watching the brand new episode of KUWTK as it premieres in real time on a Sunday night? Yes. Do I ever think once about changing the channel? Obviously, no. I don’t even know who I am anymore when I find myself laughing along at Kris’ one-liners, taking sides in family disputes, worrying about Scott’s sobriety, and lighting up when any of Kourtney’s adorable children show up on screen. Those crazy, self-absorbed people have me and millions of others hooked, and not a lot of those millions of people love to admit that.

I’ve always thought Bruce Jenner has been the most levelheaded of the “Kardashian Klan.” Bruce has been the voice of reason throughout the series and would always get flak just for being himself. Between getting berated for his long hair at Kim’s wedding to having his ATM card taken away because Kris thought he spent too much on model helicopters, Bruce really can’t catch a break. As Bruce and Kris’ separation unfolded and Bruce’s presence on the show began to fizzle, the rumors swirled in tabloids, online, and all over social media: was he or wasn’t he in the beginning stages of transitioning into a woman?

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Just about a week ago, after over a year of public speculation, around 17 million Americans actively chose to stay in on a Friday night and watch Jenner confirm that the rumors are in fact true. And Twitter went CRAZY.

According to Nielsen Social, about 972,000 tweets were sent out by 403,000 people about “The Interview,” including, of course, all 10 of Jenner’s children and stepchildren, who have millions of followers each. Those tweets were seen by just over 8 million people. Whether you tuned in or not, someone somewhere (or in this case, someone EVERYWHERE) was live tweeting the entire show, making it incredibly easy to stay in the loop if you weren’t near a TV. If for some reason you weren’t already following someone who was live tweeting, all you had to do was search the hashtags #BruceJenner or #BruceJennerInterview and follow along. The show was actually the most social Friday night telecast of all time, excluding sports.

UntitledWhile everyone would certainly be talking about Bruce’s interview even before the time of social media, it’s so interesting to think how different things would be (and how this news would spread) if this had happened 15 years ago. There’d be no internet trolls tweeting messages of hate and judgement, which would be a plus; however, there’d also be no one tweeting love and support, as so many celebrities and we ordinary folks have been able to do. In a world where hashtags trend for a day or so then die out, #PaintYourNailsForBruce is still trending on Twitter and Instagram a week after the interview aired and shows no signs of losing popularity. Social media has added another medium for the bigger conversation, too, and Bruce’s revelation has undoubtedly become the biggest social media phenomenon of 2015.

All opinions aside on Bruce’s decision, no one can deny it’s very brave of him to put it all out there – especially when everyone has something to say on social media. But considering all the positive outpouring on Twitter like this, the public has made it clear that we’ll take Bruce as he is, whether he’s flying his beloved helicopters or wearing a dress.


– Team Lauren

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