Christina Vittas serves as Elmo’s social media manager. Her tweet for Elmo on Monday has captured widespread attention, sparking a national dialogue about mental health and dominating social media discussions throughout the week.
Vittas, a 25-year-old woman residing in Hoboken, N.J., shares a deep connection with the beloved furry character, Elmo. Born on February 2, her birthday falls just one day before Elmo's on February 3. Inspired by Elmo's pet, she once had a goldfish named Dorothy as her own cherished companion.
As the social media voice for a 3.5-year-old Muppet, she didn't anticipate the overwhelming reaction her tweet received this week.
"It's truly everywhere," Vittas shares with YEPPOST.com. "I have friends in Iceland at the moment, on a remote hiking trip. They texted me right away that it was all the tour group could talk about. So it's really so exciting."
On the morning of Jan. 29, Vittas, who crafts all of Elmo's messages on social media, shared two simple sentences: "Elmo is just checking in! How is everybody doing?"
Elmo is just checking in! How is everybody doing?— Elmo (@elmo) January 29, 2024
The tweet garnered over 180 million views and elicited responses from various notable figures including Dionne Warwick, T-Pain, Rachel Zegler, Garfield, and TODAY's Craig Melvin.
The seemingly innocent question unleashed a wave of emotional responses, with many sharing their deepest fears and existential dread with Elmo.
"Not good, Elmo, not good," succinctly captured the prevailing sentiment among responders.
Yesterday afternoon, Elmo replied to everyone, expressing, "Wow! Elmo is glad he asked! Elmo learned that it is important to ask a friend how they are doing. Elmo will check in again soon, friends! Elmo loves you. #EmotionalWellBeing"
The story took another remarkable turn when the President of the United States retweeted Elmo's response, affirming, "Our friend Elmo is right: We have to be there for each other, offer our help to a neighbor in need, and above all else, ask for help when we need it."
I know how hard it is some days to sweep the clouds away and get to sunnier days.— President Biden (@POTUS) January 31, 2024
Our friend Elmo is right: We have to be there for each other, offer our help to a neighbor in need, and above all else, ask for help when we need it.
Even though it's hard, you're never alone. https://t.co/ffMJekbowo
"Now that was a notification I'll never forget," Vittas reflects on the moment she saw President Biden's retweet.
After Vittas initially posted Elmo's message on Monday morning, she made an effort to respond to as many commenters as possible, which was a routine part of her job. "When Elmo engages with people, it truly brightens their day a little bit," she explains.
However, as the tweet gained momentum, she found it impossible to keep up with the flood of responses. "It was a whirlwind!" she exclaims. Throughout the day while working from home, she kept refreshing her screen, and her roommates could hear her laughter each time a particularly amusing response appeared. Vittas remarks, "T-Pain... I never expected that!"
Among all the responses, one stood out to Vittas the most.
Brittny Pierre (@sleep2dream) wrote: "Elmo's social media manager reading all the responses like..." accompanied by a gif of Kieran Culkin as Roman Roy from "Succession" watching his email explode.
Vittas humorously mentions her desire to treat Pierre to a coffee due to the numerous times she's received that tweet. "I genuinely appreciate that," she remarks. "While many view Elmo as a living, breathing monster on Sesame Street, there are those who recognize that social media involves someone behind the scenes doing the work. I've received a fantastic response from the marketing community."
Vittas has been involved with Sesame Workshop since 2019, starting with her internship the summer before her senior year at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. "I knew my time there was going to be really special, and I really took full advantage," she reflects.
After that transformative summer, Vittas recalls, "I knew I needed to find my way back to Sesame Street." She reentered the organization as a part-time copywriter for the social team and gradually transitioned into a full-time role. Presently, she holds the position of social media manager for Sesame Workshop.
Vittas shares that she dedicates time to studying Elmo's performer, Ryan Dillon, as well as the show's content, special guest stars, and company initiatives. This practice assists her in channeling "what Elmo would say, do, think, and feel." She emphasizes that this process helps ground her when crafting captions for Elmo.
This isn't the sole viral moment Vittas has experienced with Elmo. She fondly recalls Elmo's memorable feud with a pet rock named Rocco.
"I thought it was never going to get better than Elmo and Rocco, and then this happened," Vittas reflects. "I feel like lightning did strike twice — and then some."
Vittas believes that this tweet resonated so strongly because of the current state of the world. "It's a weird place in the world to be right now," she explains, "so there's a lot of question marks out there."
She adds that when someone as kind as Elmo asks how you're doing, people tend to be more honest because they know a caring friend is genuinely listening and wants to know. Vittas emphasizes, "The foundation of friendship Elmo has with the world really resonated."