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‘Zola’s Story’: a tapestry on Twitter

“Y’all wanna hear a story about why me and this b*tch here fell out? It’s kind of long, but full of suspense.”

This bold statement was the first of a series of narrative tweets that captured the attention and imagination of several thousands of Twitter users last week. The tweets, known collectively as “Zola’s Story,” first appeared under Aziah King’s Twitter handle (@_zolarmoon), and it didn’t take long for King to follow through with her promise.

The tweets recount the chance meeting between King, who is a stripper, and Jess, the woman referenced in the first post, at a Hooters in an unknown city. Their shared penchant for “hoeism” inspired them to take an impromptu trip to Florida, which eventually lead to King becoming unwillingly mixed up with sugar daddies, pimps and a rogue’s gallery of other colorful characters.

The story – which you can read in its entirety online – is indeed lengthy, but it’s got enough melodrama, tension and shocking moments to make an episode of “Scandal” look about as tame as “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

King’s tale has sparked a variety of debates for several reasons, including its authenticity, its potentially empowering message for women in similar professions as King and whether or not it glorifies the unsavory lifestyles of the people mentioned throughout the story.

Ultimately, the jury seems to be out regarding these issues. Yes, the story does manage to make light of serious topics like prostitution, domestic abuse and human trafficking, but it also gives a first-person account of the trials and risks that many who make a living as sex workers face within our society.

In addition to that, it elevates the potential of storytelling that hasn’t been seen on Twitter since the advent of the site in 2006. How many times do we hear people denounce Twitter for being stupid and frivolous due to its “micro blogging” format?

The perception that the entire body of users mainly tweet useless information (i.e. “Milk is too good,” which is an actual post that I made once) is not only incorrect, but could possibly become non-existent after King’s story.

The viral impact that King made in a matter of hours because of her tweets could potentially inspire others who have something to say to embrace Twitter as more than a 24-hour Kardashian konnection. It could inspire millions of people to use social media in general as a free, fun and dynamic forum for them to speak their minds and share their realities with others, as opposed to just fighting for shallow attempts at approval.

Whether King’s story is real or Memorex still remains a mystery, as Jess has publicly accused King of fabricating certain aspects of it – an accusation which King has denied on her Twitter.

However, there could be a brighter future ahead for social media when it comes to sharing our lives with others.

Will a majority of these stories be as enthusiastic and controversial as King’s? I doubt it, but I’d rather read an uninteresting story than sift through endless posts about Minions on an hourly basis.

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