Social Media AU
|Trope · Genre|
|Synonyms:||Facebook AU, Instagram AU, Snapchat AU, Twitter AU, Socmed AU|
|Related:||Text Fic, Chatfic|
|See Also:||doofenperry twitter au!!!|
|Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
A Social Media AU is a type of fanwork where fans create graphics that look like social media accounts for fictional or RPF characters. The type of visuals vary, from creating profile pages for the character to what their feed would look like. Some are like small fics, where the character "posts" a picture and other characters respond or comment on their pic, sometimes this will involve a series of posts and responses between the characters. It can sometimes be very similar to Text Fic but in a visual format.
Social Media AUs have become extremely popular on Twitter, particularly in younger fandoms such as Kpop and Anime fandoms populated by teens. Twitter Social Media AUs are told in the form of Threads combining screenshots of fake Twitter profiles, Tweets, and direct messages, often incorporating fictional texts, Instagram posts, and Snapchat interactions as well.
- Facebook AU
- Instagram AU
- Snapchat AU
- Twitter AU
Social Media AUs on Twitter
On Twitter, the Twitter AU thread thread evolved and became a popular format for longer form storytelling within K-pop and related fandoms. (See the History section below.) These social media AUs generally assume a high level of social media literacy to understand what small details of the format indicate, such as the layout of a Twitter profile, the ratio of Following to Followers, numbers of likes and retweets, etc. Manips are usually created with an online generator that replicates the appearance of Twitter and other social media.
There are some elements in the format of Twitter AUs that are generally consistent. They usually start with a Title/Summary tweet and manip images of the featured character's Twitter profiles, before launching into the story of the AU. Elements that are also common are an accompanying gif/graphic in the first tweet, use of Twitter's poll feature to let the audience decide the course of the story, and rules explaining how to interact with and interpret the AU - e.g. "quote retweet, don't reply!", "timestamps mean nothing."
Social Media AUs on Twitter do not always follow the same format. Some writers include larger amounts of prose text, getting around Twitter's character limit by posting an image of a screenshot of the text. Since these works are told mainly in the form of manip images, the use of the captions varies. They may be used for author's notes, numbering installments of the work, etc.
The terms "Social Media AU" and "Twitter" have spread/evolved on Twitter, and these works may now be referred to as simply as "AU," the way one might refer to an AU fanfic. Some AU writers create separate Twitter accounts just for their AUs.
The interesting thing about Social Media AUs is that you have to pretend everyone involved is now the type of person to live the details of their life publicly on Twitter, at least to an extent, which means you have to accept a level of OOC behavior no matter what the AU is. The characters also tend to use slang and memes popular in stan Twitter, rather than how they speak and interact in their respective canons. This creates a story that is often entertaining, but not the most in-character. Few, if any, characters have distinctive tones for their internet interactions, as opposed to earlier internet-messaging based original works like Homestuck.
"Social Media AU" had a different, broader meaning before such works became popular on Twitter. They previous refered to any type of AU fanwork that prominently featured social media. A social media AU could be a manip or fanart of what a character's Instagram account would look like, of it could be a full fanfic that featured social media in some way.
Social Media AUs on Twitter, also called Twitter AUs or "socmed AUs", exploded in popularity with the internationally viral BTS Outcast AU in January 2018. The original poster @flirtAUs gained 419,000 followers in under a week, while the posts reached over a million likes and retweets. The AU told a story through fake text message screenshots, and was notable for including an interactive element in which readers could vote in Twitter polls and influence how the story would continue, as in quests (a kind of interactive fiction).
In March 2018, the parodical doofenperry twitter au!!! was posted for the first time, poking fun at stan culture using Phineas and Ferb characters. doofenperry twitter au caused another shift in the trend of Twitter AUs. Stories became more likely to be humorous, leaning toward parody of social media. There was also an increase of stories for very minor fandoms that one would not expect to see a fanwork for, making the fact that the work even exists part of the joke.
- The Dark Lord's Blog (Harry Potter), April 2007
- Pokemon Go AU by hermiione (Game of Thrones), October 2016
- the delinquents and social media (The 100), December 2016
- richonne christmas au by margaretrhees (The Walking Dead), Dec 25 2017 - Instagram posts
- Instagram profiles, Various characters by adeoetregina (Riverdale), Jan 2018
- stormpilot Instagram AU, Archived version (Star Wars)
AUs on Twitter
- BTS Outcast, January 2018
- doofenperry twitter au!!!, March 2018
- squidbob twitter au by RATDAD420 (Spongebob Squarepants), March 2018
- spideychelle social media AU (MCU Spider-man), April 2018
- Miyusawa social media!AU, model Miyuki, barista Sawamura (Diamond no Ace), September 2018
- seamless Kiribaku cosplayers AU (Boku no Hero Academia), April 2019
- jjp text social media au- college au (JJ Project), August 2019
- Turtle Creek (IT), January 2020
A "Canon" Example
Meta & Further Reading
- What's a Social Media AU? by mashazart, Aug 26 2019
- Has anyone written any good meta about the rise of Twitter social media AUs and how that differs from chatfics and other methods of storytelling by @mashazart
- Who is @FlirtAUs?
- BTS Horror Fanfic 'Outcast' Goes Viral on Twitter Thanks to ARMYs
Links & Resources
- What's a Social Media AU? by mashazart, Aug 26 2019