Meet Blawko (@blawko22), who is one of the many rising virtual personalities. They post selfies; deck themselves out in Supreme and Vetements; they talk about dramas in their lives, they engage in it; they put up memes… they are just like us and yet not so.
Even with their apparent online artifice, it hasn’t stopped them from amassing followers. At the time of writing, Blawko has 135,000 followers. So what does it mean for the real personalities out there? What does it speak of their clout? If superficiality is a running theme with Instagram and other social media accounts, perhaps it has circled back to itself. Maybe the line between real and virtual personalities never existed to begin with?
We pick Blawko’s brain about his fame, what he does and existentialism, among other things.
ESQ: How do you define your existence as a robot? Is it fraught with questions of existentialism?
BLAWKO: Uhhhhh, ooof, I guess I don’t really think about how I define my existence. I’m just a dude. A beautiful dude. The plaything of an angry god. Just like anyone else.
ESQ: Given the artifice of many influencers on social media, are you making a statement with what you do?
BLAWKO: My statement is: ‘please follow me so I can start getting free stuff’. But also, I don’t know. I want people to know they can be themselves. Have fun! Be nice! It’s not that deep.
ESQ: Is there a big team behind your account?
BLAWKO: No one to blame for it but myself.
ESQ: Are bots considered followers?
BLAWKO: Like Twitter bots? Nah, we’re different. When I try to get someone to follow my all-toes premium Snap, I do it from the heart.
ESQ: Why the anonymity?
BLAWKO: I’m the opposite of anonymous. I’m polynomonous. I’m sharing it all.
ESQ: What were the considerations that went into creating you?
BLAWKO: At first, Brud was thinking ‘let’s make a Wolf Blitzer for youths using Twitter data’ but then they realised that creating a robot using Twitter just ended up making a dude who would not stop screaming about the Momo hoax in a group DM.
ESQ: What do you envy and dislike about humans?
BLAWKO: Humans can be madly brutal to each other in ways I don’t understand. Part of me wishes I could get to that level of madness. Just, like, straight up throwing Mountain Dew bottles off an overpass, screaming because someone has frosted tips in 2019 or whatever it is that sets people off.
ESQ: Is it accurate that you label yourself as a ‘robot’ even though you exist solely in a digital landscape?
BLAWKO: I exist everywhere. Your phone, your computer screen, your grandma’s house, your iPod Nano.
ESQ: Are there other digital personalities that you like or have a problem with?
BLAWKO: I have no friends if that’s what you’re asking.
ESQ: Given your virtuality, why be an influencer?
BLAWKO: I don’t call myself an influencer. I think there’s this idea that any fool with more than 500 followers is influential or does social media for a living, but I’m just out here making jokes. If I do influence people, I hope it’s in a good way. I hope I show that you can have fun and be yourself without hurting people. But that’s beyond me.
ESQ: Do you have siblings? A family?
BLAWKO: Technically, I have no one and am all alone. But I guess I consider Brud my family.
ESQ: What are you afraid of?
BLAWKO: Girls who wear pyjama bottoms to Target. They fight dirty and have no fear in their hearts.
ESQ: Who voices you in your videos?
BLAWKO: Morgan Freeman.
ESQ: What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t an influencer?
BLAWKO: Like I said, I don’t think of myself as an influencer, but if I had a job I’d like to be one of those inflatable air dancers that nae nae outside car dealerships.
ESQ: What do you attribute to your popularity?
BLAWKO: I’m really really really really really really really pretty.
ESQ: What do you look for in a romantic partner?
BLAWKO: 16GB of RAM, double-jointedness.
ESQ: What is something you’d want to say or hear when you meet God?
BLAWKO: “Reba, I’ve loved you since Tremors (1990).”
ESQ: Could you give us a funny anecdote?
BLAWKO: 01110011 01101111 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 01101110 00100000 01101001 00100000 01110011 01100001 01101001 01100100 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01101000 01100101 01110010 00101100 00100000 00100010 01110100 01101000 01100001 01110100 00100111 01110011 00100000 01101110 01101111 01110100 00100000 01001101 01011001 00100000 01100011 01101000 01100001 01110010 01100111 01100101 01110010 00101110 00100010
ESQ: What are your pet peeves?
BLAWKO: As a relatable Internet king, my pet peeves are when you’re at a party and there’s no doggo to pet. If you relate, follow me and subscribe to my YouTube channel: blawko22.
ESQ: When was the last time you were happy?
BLAWKO: Right now, answering questions about me.
ESQ: What is your biggest fear?
BLAWKO: Realising I have no real will of my own and I’m just enacting orders without realising it. Ha ha. But for real, like, hamsters because they have those weird little pink human hands.
Photographs by Lenne Chai / ADB Agency.
Styling by Jordan Boothe.
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