How Opera GX’s Twitter became a viral memeing sensation

Calum Patterson
opera gx twitter

We spoke to the social media manager behind Opera GX’s Twitter account, which in 2023 has become one of the most viral accounts on all of Twitter – not bad for a web browser.

The job of a social media manager: take a dull, corporate brand account, and integrate it with the broader social media conversation, in turn getting the brand’s name out there and gaining followers, and hopefully, customers.

Perhaps the most famous examples come from the fast-food industry, with the likes of Wendy’s and McDonald’s doing a stellar job of turning brand accounts into “sh*tposting”, and as a result going viral over and over again.

But, the novelty has worn off somewhat, and nowadays brands are mocked for trying to be “down with the lingo” on Twitter. In 2023, a fresh approach is needed, one Opera GX’s Twitter maestro has mastered.

The secret to Opera GX’s Twitter success

If you’ve been active on Twitter in 2023, it’s pretty safe bet that you’ve seen one of the many viral posts from Opera GX. The account has over 800,000 followers, on its way to 1 million – despite only having around 60,000 at the start of the year.

In June alone, the account’s following has doubled. We had the chance to speak to the person behind this viral success, and get an understanding of how it happened.

How long have you been in this role, and is it your first social media role? If not, what have you done previously?

This is my first social media role, my first job to be honest. I got hired by Opera straight after finishing my A-levels since I previously helped produce content for them. When it comes to making memes, I have plenty of experience. I’ve been producing content online for years though – on different platforms and in different styles. I started when I was just 14 years old, so I didn’t really keep consistent branding. I made memes on Instagram, Reddit and YouTube. You may have seen reposts of them without knowing that it was 16-year-old me behind them.

I was contributing to the community on Discord on a volunteer basis and Opera hired me once I turned 18. It was actually my first time opening Twitter when I logged in to use the brand account. I had zero experience on this platform when I took over the role last September. The beauty of working online is that you don’t need any education to be successful. Don’t let your age or background ever hold you back!

What does a typical “day in the life” look like in this role?

The daily social media grind consists of waking up before sunrise and then proceeding to be online every hour of the day. On office days, I bike to work and complete my daily tasks. Many people assume that I just do the account, but I also help a lot with marketing campaigns, forwarding bug reports, creating mockups and reaching out to brands for potential partnerships. The normal 9-5 workday is largely focused on non-social related tasks, since there isn’t a lot of activity online at those times.

Throughout the day, I check Twitter and our other social media accounts for news and try to respond to user requests and comments. “After” work I usually take a short break, however, at around 8 PM CET, that’s when we see peak activity on Twitter and I get back to my laptop to upload the daily sh*tposts. I create all the posts myself, though I work together with a few friends to get the title just right and check for mistakes. The social media work consists largely of spotting trending tweets or topics to capitalize on. While checking Twitter, I do my chores, watch some shows or play games. This is why I can fire out a good 100 replies per day. I go to bed at the healthy hour of 2 AM – sleep is generally overrated.

The account is almost never used to highlight features or directly encourage people to download the browser – how deliberate is this?

It is 100% deliberate. I am quite honest about this as well. The brand account is not used to promote a product directly, since nobody wants to follow an account for daily updates about their browser. Besides, the Opera GX brand is very similar to my posts. We like to have fun campaigns and don’t take ourselves too seriously in other channels either. I think everyone is on the same page that the “shitposting” on a company account is still considered marketing to some degree. It’s just hilarious to see a brand account actually posting like an individual and even picking fights with other brands.

There have been some, let’s say, risky posts and memes on the account – how do these come about? Do you seek approval first, or are you entrusted to never cross the line?

We used to have a whole system for approvals of riskier posts on our account. There are a great deal of checks and balances for ensuring every post is morally righteous, factually correct and non-inflammatory. Nowadays, we post what we feel is hilarious. We have enough experience to the point where I believe everyone knows that what we do is 100% satire. We stay clear of politics though, as any brand should. Aside from some basic guidelines it’s a free-for-all. If it’s funny, I’ll post it.

You are keeping your identity concealed – why?

I think each fan of the account should be free to imagine how the account admin looks like and who he is. Anonymity is definitely the right route to go as I think Opera GX works better as a concept than a real person – a brand that does not care about what people think about it and is fighting the good fight. I hope that this is how the account is perceived. Using a brand account for personal promotion would just feel wrong. I also imagine I’d get a lot of bricks thrown through my windows for some of the things I say and stand for, so I’d better not advertise myself too much. If you want to get in touch with me just shoot a DM on the Opera GX Twitter, I read about 45% of them. No pipe bombs necessary.

Number one tip for fellow social media managers or aspiring ones?

Trust your instincts. Know your worth. Be funny.

What do you make of Twitter’s evolution under Elon – for example has the ‘For You’ tab benefitted accounts like yours, which can now reach a greater audience than with the previous algorithm?

I like Twitter as a platform a lot and there are many new features that are beneficial. Personally, I think that Twitter is too inflammatory and is one of the platforms in which the most heated debates can form easily. However, it is also one of the most censorship-free platforms. The “Community Notes” feature was probably the most useful aspect to be added during Elon’s reign. It is great for fighting misinformation and it’s also just plain funny. The “For You” page benefits our account a lot. With some sneaky tricks you can really make it work in your favor. If you have $10K to spare I might reveal my secrets.

Opera GX recently announced a collaboration with Mr Beast – do you think the social media presence has helped make these kinds of collabs possible?

Since we receive about 100 DMs daily, I’d say that social media has certainly played a key role in developing these partnerships. I love interacting with other fellow social media managers and building brand relationships through Twitter. This is how I got to know some very interesting people and even influencers that I follow myself. At Opera GX, we are always open for partnerships with influencers and any brands that are as crazy as we are. Having a thriving social media presence is essential for B2B development. I refuse to pay $39.99 a month for LinkedIn Premium.

You can follow Opera GX on Twitter here.