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On September 26th, 2012, American child actor Cole Sprouse, best known for his work with his twin brother Dylan in the Disney Channel sitcom series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, launched a Tumblr blog titled “Coleture Concept.” He tweeted about it twice that day, asking his followers on Twitter to use his blog as a platform to “discuss things that matter.” In its beginning, Sprouse featured some of his own photography works on the site, but soon became pre-occupied with answering fan questions.
The same day that Sprouse unveiled his Tumblr blog, the child actor’s fan site Sprouseland linked to the blog in a post. Throughout October, Sprouse continued to interact with his fans on the blog by answering user-submitted questions and even posting photos and audio of himself per request. On October 23rd, Livejournal gossip blog Oh No They Didn’t! posted screenshots of Sprouse’s blog posts, which was positively received with more than 300 comments from the LiveJournal community. On the following day, celebrity news site Crushable reported on Sprouse’s blog, detailing his witty reactions to being discovered as a celebrity and citing a post in which Sprouse stated he loved Tumblr’s likes and reblogs “in the same way I love a nursery filled with kids who defecate on themselves.”
On November 18th, Sprouse published his last Tumblr post featuring a photo of himself with his hair over his face, one hand over his heart and the other in a two-fingered salute, along with the text explaining that he had accomplished his goal of running a social experiment through the microblogging platform and that his account would be removed. The post gained nearly 18,000 notes in the first 72 hours. This announcement was followed by a series of tweets (shown below) further explaining his project as a way to see how people would react to the idea of being observed.
Though Sprouse’s tweets were soon deleted, he left one post intact with a link to George Michael’s 1984 hit single “Careless Whisper.” (shown below)
youtube.com/watch?v=izGwDs…I did this for us, I never meant to hurt you, bby I still love you— Cole M. Sprouse (@TheOleKingCole) November 19, 2012
Shortly before the deactivation of his Tumblr account, the blog Coleture Concept Archive was created by his fans to archive every post Sprouse had created. Following its removal, an unknown Tumblr user picked up the same URL and continued to field questions from Sprouse’s fans while impersonating his character. More discussions about his blog and reactions to its deletion can be found under the Tumblr tags Cole Sprouse and ColetureConcept.
On November 19th, Oh No They Didn’t! published a follow-up post explaining the context of Sprouse’s Tumblr experiment, which generated more than 400 comments in the first 48 hours. The same day, Sprouse tweeted an image macro of a small gray animal sitting in a box of pastries with the caption “Do what you must, I have already won.” The tweet utilized the hashtag #TumblrOzymandias, referring to Percy Byssshe Shelley’s 1818 poem “Ozymandias” that focuses on how all leaders and empires fall over time. It was retweeted more than 375 times and favorited nearly 550 times in the first 48 hours.
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