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Having your phone confiscated is a standard teenage tragedy. While the usual attempts to get around this kind of grounding are nothing to write home about, Twitter user Dorothy (@thankunext327) rapidly became an internet hero for her creativity and persistence in the field. She claimed to tweet from a Nintendo 3DS, and then an LG Smart Fridge.
Dorothy, who created her Ariana Grande stan account only last month, initially tweeted on Aug. 4 that “she was leaving forever” because her mom had taken her phone.
Then her mother found out and appeared to send this tweet from her account: “I seen that Dorothy has been using twitter on her Nintendo. This account will be shut down now,” along with a picture of the Nintendo 3DS for evidence. This is when the story started to feel suspicious—her mother found a way to access her daughter’s account, took a picture of her 3DS, and decided to send this tweet to her followers?
I seen that Dorothy has been using twitter on her Nintendo. This account will be shut down now. pic.twitter.com/L4JqNYhUHe— dorothy (@thankunext327) August 5, 2019
However, Dorothy then began tweeting from a string of increasingly unlikely devices, ending with her family’s smart fridge.
I do not know if this is going to tweet I am talking to my fridge what the heck my Mom confiscated all of my electronics again.— dorothy (@thankunext327) August 8, 2019
It turns out that you can do basically anything with a smart fridge, up to and including playing Doom on it.
man, the future is wild. Even our refrigerators are super computers. You play DooM and get ice cubes from the same damn machine! pic.twitter.com/jviwX9PMCd— The Pickles (@thehdpickles) August 13, 2019
Smart refrigerators like the one Dorothy apparently tweeted from are connected to the cloud. Some smart fridges have touchscreen monitors and the ability to view apps. But it’s also possible to edit the name of the device that you’re tweeting from, and there are multiple guides online that detail how to do it. Tweeting from a ridiculous-sounding smart device is a meme in itself.
So, naturally, some people are wondering if Dorothy’s journey to send a tweet without a phone is one elaborate prank.
After Dorothy went viral and people started using the hashtag #FreeDorothy, user @successfuliana detailed in a long thread how she thought Dorothy was also acting as another person online.
But most Twitter users seem to support Dorothy’s WiFi-enabled journey—whether or not it was real. On Tuesday, she thanked her supporters in a tweet (which was apparently sent from—you guessed it—the LG Smart Fridge).
“I don’t know how I got this much support thank you so much to my supporters and @twitter this is crazy I would be lost without you and given up. I’m trying to get my things back fast so I can thank you properly!” she wrote (or said to the fridge).
I don't know how I got this much support thank you so much to my supporters and @twitter this is crazy I would be lost without you and given up. I'm trying to get my things back fast so I can thank you properly!— dorothy (@thankunext327) August 13, 2019
The account now has more than 25,000 followers, and #FreeDorothy sparked a lot of memes.
Her mom pic.twitter.com/YJoNxRuC8G— the virgin chad (@Todd_thesmaller) August 13, 2019
Not everyone approves of Dorothy’s actions. “Girl, I will call your mother myself,” one user tweeted to her.
Girl, I will call your mother myself 🗿— cameron (@thecasharryshow) August 6, 2019
But, for the most part, people praised Dorothy’s commitment to tweeting.
nothing but respect for her commitment to posting— ryan (@Siirianen) August 12, 2019
We stan a legend, shouting at her refrigerator.— Jesse (@dagraffman) August 13, 2019
Other people started sharing the weird internet technology hacks people have used, including sending social posts from a Glade Air Freshener.
... Same energy pic.twitter.com/oTfqK7U19V— ଘ(੭*ˊᵕˋ)੭* ̀ˋ (@vegangvyfieri) August 13, 2019
Meteorbower walked so Claudia could run pic.twitter.com/iEIbhVJG91— Lawson⚜️ (@laws7n) August 13, 2019
It was unclear whether some responses to Dorothy’s tweet were parodies. “My 12-year-old figured out how to evade texting time limits by using Alexa and a discarded Fitbit,” wrote user @Popehat.
As Cory @doctorow put it, "never underestimate the ingenuity of a cash-poor but time-rich population". And "cash-poor but time-rich" describes children perfectly.— (((Andrew Gilbertson))) (@AMGilbertson) August 13, 2019
Some actually were parodies. “My 4 year old figured out how to use twitter by using duct tape, a cat, and a hello kitty action figure,” wrote user @JonPKay.
My 4 year old figured out how to use twitter by using duct tape, a cat, and a hello kitty action figure.— Jonathan Kay (@JonPKay) August 13, 2019
It remains to be seen why Dorothy has been grounded so thoroughly from the internet—and if she was actually grounded. The Daily Dot reached out to the Twitter account for a comment and will update this story if we get a response.
Update 8:00pm CT, Aug. 13: LG Electronics tweeted #FreeDorothy on Tuesday evening in apparent support of Dorothy getting her phone back—and for using the company’s smart fridge.
Siobhan Ball is a historian, archivist, and journalist. She also writes for Autostraddle and bi.org