“Swifties’ Dedication Unlocks New Tracks: How Taylor Swift’s Fanbase Solved 33 Million Google Puzzles”

Fans of Taylor Swift are teasing that they have caused Google to malfunction, following the recent crashes of Ticketmaster and Spotify websites. However, this claim is not completely accurate. The reason for the glitch was due to an Easter egg word puzzle game that Swift had collaborated with Google to create, which fans rushed to complete. It was the latest challenge set by Swift, and the surge in traffic caused the game to glitch momentarily.

The 2023 MTV Video Music Awards saw Taylor Swift in attendance at the Prudential Center in Newark on September 12. The singer teamed up with Google to introduce a new game that involved users searching for her name and clicking on a blue vault icon that appears. This triggers a series of word puzzles which can be completed by typing in the correct answers into the search bar. There are 89 puzzles in total, which is a reference to her upcoming album “1989 (Taylor’s Version).” However, the challenge is only completed when 33 million individual puzzles are solved, which will reveal the track titles for new songs being released on Swift’s album. These songs are known as “vault” tracks as they were previously cut from the previous version of the album.

To those who are not fans of Taylor Swift, the effort required to uncover a song title might seem excessive. However, her devoted followers, known as Swifties, were undeterred and quickly set up Reddit threads and spreadsheets to solve the 33 million puzzles presented to them. They were so successful that they complained when Google’s search engine could not keep up with their progress. Fans took to social media to express their frustration, with some even suggesting that Taylor Swift had broken the internet. Tips for accessing the vault included refreshing browsers and using a laptop instead of a cellphone.

In a note posted on X, formerly Twitter, Google acknowledged facing technical issues using Swift lyrics. The message aimed at Swifties stated that “the vault is jammed” but reassured them that there were no blank spaces inside. The note mentions a fix-it era and promised to come out soon. Swift’s “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” album is slated for release on October 27 and includes some unreleased songs. In typical fashion, Swift has engaged fans with elaborate puzzles and clues in her music and social media posts. Many fans have grown accustomed to reading into everything she says, and this has only added to the hype surrounding the album. Some speculated that the 33 million puzzles to solve referenced Swift’s age, while others wondered if Google’s technical problems were a nod to her song “Glitch.” While such tactics may not work for other artists, Swift’s dedicated fanbase has eagerly played along and generated significant search traffic for both her and Google.

According to Elly McCausland, a professor of literary studies at Ghent University in Belgium who is starting a course on Taylor Swift and literature, Taylor’s recent rise to fame has been meteoric. Her unique sense of playfulness has inspired fans to engage in scavenger hunts, and they have become players in her game. However, McCausland admits that there have been some complaints online, and the commercialization of it all may eventually annoy some fans. But, because of the relatability of her lyrics and song titles, they lend themselves well to word games.

“Swift uses idiomatic words and phrases. There’s a sense with her writing of déjà vu. We’ve heard this phrase before. There’s something quite familiar about her work, she uses lines that are common public language.” Some of her lyrics have become so recognizable that they’ve almost created their own dialect. This is known as a “fanalect,” which is something that is true for Swifties who are working together to solve the puzzles. Many fans will find analyzing Taylor’s writing and symbols rewarding because “there’s this sense of intertextuality, this idea that every piece of writing references another piece of writing.”

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