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How Elmo’s simple tweet got thousands of people to share their honest feelings

How Elmo’s simple tweet got thousands of people to share their honest feelings
Posted at 10:09 AM, Feb 01, 2024

“Sesame Street’s” sweetest little red monster posed a question earlier this week on Twitter/X that had the internet answering honestly.

The innocuous tweet simply asked followers, in Elmo’s trademark third-person voice, how they were doing.

MORE: People can’t stop laughing at Cookie Monster’s Twitter account

And, perhaps due to Elmo’s friendly, curious, open nature, Twitter/X posted surprisingly honest responses by the thousands.

Responses ranged from “the world is burning around us” from Twitter/X user @StevenMcinerney, to more benign quips about playoff losses like the second tweet below from @amiablexaly.


Predictably, brands got in on the viral moment, too, with Oreo tweeting morosely about running out of milk and Dunkin’ making a plea for iced coffee.

But the majority of responses told a sad but honest story: Many people are not doing that great right now. Twitter/X users opened up about everything from getting laid off to election anxiety to being just plain tired.

Elmo responded with empathy and kindness, returning to the platform a day later to share a sweet message alongside a cute photo of the puppet snuggling his plush toy, Baby David.

At that point, even President Joe Biden joined the conversation, assuring Americans that, “Even though it’s hard, you’re never alone.”

Of course, Elmo’s empathetic message was actually crafted by Christina Vittas, the social media manager and “voice of Elmo” who brings the little red puppet to life online. She told Today why she thinks Elmo’s tweet prompted such a response: “You’re going to be a little more honest because you know a caring friend is listening and genuinely wants to know. The foundation of friendship Elmo has with the world really resonated.”

The performer behind Elmo, puppeteer Ryan Dillon, also told Today it’s something about Elmo’s nature that makes people want to share. “There’s something about having a sweet, adorable 3.5-year-old monster asking you how you’re doing that makes you want to answer honestly,” he said.

Back on Twitter/X, user @WhitneyPuppy pointed out the lasting impact children’s entertainment can have on empathy, referencing both Elmo’s tweet and Steve from “Blue’s Clues” message to us during the pandemic:

We’re inspired to make our world a little more like Elmo’s: Ask a friend how they’re doing, listen to their answer and respond with empathy.

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