Everyone knew the news was coming—albeit not precisely when. Yet, the “digital wildfire” that accompanied Caitlyn Jenner’s public debut on June 1 via tweet of her upcoming Vanity Fair cover story and pictorial took even the most Internet savvy by surprise.
Jenner—who, as Bruce, was the “world’s greatest athlete” as Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon in the 1976 summer games—shattered another world record on her first public day as a woman: completing a sub-4-hour run to 1 million Twitter followers, eclipsing the prior elapsed time to that mark set by President Barack Obama. We at FolFry watched this dash to 1 million closely, refreshing our web browser every minute or two to see Jenner’s Twitter followers increase by 5,000 to 10,000 with each click. In just a day, she has almost 2.2 million followers. With our humble Twitter following of less than 100 here at FolFry—did we say they’re damn loyal, though?—we surrender to Caitlyn Jenner.
So “ginormous” was Jenner’s debut, it even knocked the news of her stepdaughter Kim Kardashian West’s second pregnancy out of the headlines (for just a day or two—we have a feeling she’ll bounce back). Kardashian West, with a “ginormous” 32 million-plus Twitter followers of her own—roughly the population of California—tweeted to her minions to follow Caitlyn Jenner, as well. It makes you wonder: what kind of spike in followers is a Kim K. shout-out worth?
This is a continuously unfolding story, sure to capture the public’s attention for some time to come. Today, ESPN announced that Jenner will be the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at its 2015 ESPYS in July. An 8-part reality series about Jenner’s transition airs beginning next month, as well.
It’s a saga that is equal parts courage—a woman long trapped in a man’s body emerging as “her true self”—and pop-culture phenomenon and, consequently skepticism, owing to Jenner’s prior life as the long-suffering dad of the Kardashian Klan on their E! reality-show circus.
At its heart though, this is a story of female empowerment: Caitlyn Jenner living her life on her terms…in very public view. She is poised to be a torch-bearer and voice for the transgender community. Let’s hope that voice will continue to resonate about the issue itself and not dissolve into the superficial of the designer clothes she’s wearing, who did her hair, or what her favorite nail color is.