Kitchener teen Sebastian Olzanski can be the No. 1 trending topic in 5 minutes — with a bit of flattery
RYAN PORTER (Original Article Link)
Every Wednesday around 4 p.m. for the past year and a half, Kitchener teen Sebastian Olzanski has spent hours on his iPhone sending messages to fans, 80 percent of whom are girls ages 12 to 17.
“Your smile is so gorgeous.”
“You are so adorable oh my god”
“You are so so stunning srsly”
The single 17-year-old will tweet these flirty replies to two or three hundred social media-ites who have tweeted a photo of themselves using the hashtag #SelfiesForSeb. Every time he does it, #SelfiesForSeb becomes the No. 1 trending topic in the world. Recently, it has taken him about five minutes to claim that top spot.
“I remember the first time that trended,” the 17-year-old says from Twitter’s downtown Toronto headquarters, his ears tucked inside a black skateboard snapback. “I was freaking. Since then I haven’t counted.”
The 374,000 followers of @sebtsb propel #SelfiesForSeb or #FacetimeMeSeb or #AskSeb into Twitter’s upper echelons by shamelessly tweeting the hashtags dozens of times in a row, hoping to catch Seb’s eye. “I do DM (direct message) sprees basically saying, ‘like this tweet for a little personal message,’” he says, speaking in a light Argentine accent.
On Aug. 29, his hashtag #FacetimeMeSeb was tweeted 200,000 times.
“I’ll b calling anyone in the world!” he promised. He then spent three hours doing three- to five-minute calls.
Olzanski moved in 2012 from Buenos Aires to Kitchener, where his mother is pursuing a Masters in Psychology at Wilfred Laurier University. His father, an accountant, stayed in Argentina (his parents are divorced).
He had never heard of Twitter until a friend introduced him three years ago.
The teen lothario was inspired to create #SelfiesForSeb as an offshoot of #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday).
“I would just appreciate girls, and how beautiful they are and whatnot,” he says. “I thought of this idea of them tweeting their selfies and spreading positivity around and I would reply to a lot of different people.”
In an era of misogynistic trolls and cyber bullies, it makes sense that Olzanski could amass an army of followers simply by telling them they’re beautiful. It’s practically revolutionary.
Sure enough, he built a following of 20,000 in a year, and was invited to Magcon, then known as the ultimate summit of social-media stars, where he got to know superstar singer Shawn Mendes. “Just from there it grew exponentially,” he says.
In the early months of 2015, he passed 100,000 followers. That May, he held a meet-and-greet at Yonge-Dundas Square, and a thousand fans showed up. The police shut it down.
His burgeoning social-media stardom has interfered enough with his school schedule that last semester, Olzanski opted to finish high school by correspondence.
“I was just getting really busy with travelling and meetings and things,” he says, noting he is going to New York for two weeks this month to take meetings with record labels and companies as well as film videos with other social-media megastars.
“I would miss a lot of school. I also had a lot of fans in school that would take pictures of me and things, and it was just getting a little too much. It was a little weird.”
He spent 10 days this summer on a nine-stop U.S.-plus-Toronto tour with Vine star Jonah Marais, travelling from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., to Minneapolis, Minn., playing shows of 200 to 300, five of which sold out.
While he doesn’t write music or play an instrument, his vocals on moody pop single “Nobody But Us” suggest a skill set beyond just being the most liberal “like”-er on Twitter. “I want to be known for my music rather than my videos,” he says.
Despite his generous Twitter engagement, thousands of desperate pleas still go unanswered every time he does a messaging spree. “I want to talk to them, but it’s so many people,” he says. “I don’t want to disappoint them but I can’t do anything about it.
“Eventually I will get everybody,” he says. “Hopefully.”