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How did the idea for @YourAwayMessage come about?
I was en route to my friend Jess's apartment when I started to think about how I used to spend entirely too much time crafting the perfect away message that conveyed my deep and obscure but also totally fun-loving and breezy self to some guy who probably didn't know I was alive. I did a quick search to see if someone was already tweeting those things, and no one was. So I walked into Jess's room, and I was like, "I have this idea, tell me if it's stupid, can I use your computer?" Luckily, she's supportive.
Just one month into it, and you already have more than 166,000 followers, shout-outs in New York Magazine, Huffington Post, and who knows how many word-of-mouth recommendations. Are you surprised by the reaction?
Oh, yes. Every day. I could not have predicted any of it. It's just been a lot of fun.
I think one reason for its popularity is that it speaks to these collective teenage experiences that at the time we thought were extremely personal and individualized. In retrospect, do you find that the we-were-in-this-thing-together sentiment comforting, or does the realization of having similar experiences belittle the intense, crazy feelings we felt during them?
A little of both. The experiences we had are still all very different and individualized—but it's nice to look back and realize we weren't alone in any of the feelings we had. I think that realization comes with getting older no matter what, though I'm sure when I'm in my 40s, someone will be tweeting a parody-of-Twitter Twitter account, and I'll thank god I'm not a 20-something anymore.
Sometimes it freaks me out how easily I can slip back into my 16-year-old self's state of mind. Do writing the tweets come naturally to you, or is it something you have to spend some time on?
It depends. Some of them are so obvious. Those are the easy ones—like anything that references "hitting up the cell" or "leave it"—because they were so universal(ly lame). Other ones, like any reference to year-specific culture, I'll poll my friends. I'm like, "OKAY! If I reference Snood, is that relevant? Is it funny? Would you RT it or no?" And they're like, "Heyyy don't you have a job?"