Who I Follow: Brittany Tomlinson
4 min Q&A
How do the best accounts on Twitter use Twitter? How do they balance their Tweeting with their day job, how often do they check their mentions, and, most importantly, who are their favorite follows? In Who I Follow, we explore the habits of our favorite follows each month. This month’s edition is drawn from an interview with Brittany Tomlinson, the creator who found accidental online notoriety as “Kombucha Girl.”
My passion has always been comedy, to just make my friends laugh, make my family laugh. Before the kombucha video, my Twitter was private. I had 400 followers, and it was only my friends and my favorite celebrities that I followed and that was it — I maybe got 10 likes on a Tweet. Once everything started picking up, I started getting requests to follow me because my username is the same as it is on TikTok. So at first I just started accepting random people I didn't know, and then when I started getting 1,000 requests a day, I was like, “Man, looks like it's time to go public.”
At one point in August, I gained 96,000 followers in one day, so I’ve had to adjust the way that I use Twitter and the type of stuff that I post — and my sense of humor a little bit — because when you have 550,000 people all waiting, it really changes what you can and can't post. I very much feel that pressure, and it's almost to the point where I get self-conscious — within the first two hours of posting something, if it's not at 10,000 Likes I’m thinking, “This is garbage, I'm deleting it.”
I have an alternate Twitter account (@notkombuchagirl), which a lot of people on #JokeTwitter have. That's the main community that I’ve found myself at home with. Joke Twitter is, I feel like, the main reason a lot of people use Twitter. Obviously some people use it to keep up with the news, some people use it for stan culture, some people use it because it's funny. To a certain extent, Joke Twitter is Twitter, it's very much shaped my usage of Twitter in the past couple of years. The big joke [in the community] is the more Retweets you get, the more serotonin you get. [Laughs]
My private Twitter account literally was for me to follow all the members of One Direction, keep up with the vlog squad, you know, all that sort of stuff. It was very much just me and who I loved, and I just wanted to keep up with those people — @PostMalone, @TravisGarland – and people like @goodbeanalt, @CaucasianJames, @BeefedUpStud, @VideosFolder, @Veggiefact, @BigTucsonDad, @dubstep4dads, @LilNasX, @BillRatchet, @getbentsaggy, among others. All of these guys make me cry laughing. They’re original, consistent, witty, and just so freaking good.
In general, social media is can be very toxic to mental health — I’m going to throw that out there. But at the same time, I have never felt more understood, more appreciated, and more, kind of, seen in these past couple months. It’s changed from me being a fangirl to me being, in certain circumstances, the star. Now I have fangirls, and it's the weird circle of life. I know what it's like when a verified account favorites your Tweet. Your heart stops, you get so excited, you scream, you Tweet them “thank you” — this happened to me. My fans do that to me now and it's just crazy.
It's important to find your little friend groups to understand the struggle that you're in, too. The way that people took [the video] and ran with it ... the power of the internet astounds me every single day. On the mental health side, I don't want to say I’ve struggled, but it's been a challenge to break out of that mold and not give in to that whole identity that the internet's created for me, because it would be so easy to just from now until the end of time be all, you know, “Oooo, kombucha!” But that's not sustainable. Being “Kombucha Girl” has been fun and all, but I'm almost over it. I'm ready to have people know me as just Brittany, and not pigeonhole me into making the Jim Carrey faces.
The goal is stand-up comedy, eventually. It is an art form, it scares me, but it's the goal. And it's interesting to think where stand-up can go now that we're in this digital age. It's going to be cool to merge those two worlds of traditional stage comedy and making a live audience laugh, and my own online following that already exists, to support me in that realm and vice versa.