‘Hi Haters’: Why New Jersey’s Twitter Account Is Like No Other

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THE NEW YORK TIMES

Feb. 19, 2020

Megan Coyne, left, and Pearl Gabel have injected sassiness into the state’s official Twitter account, significantly increasing its number of followers.Credit...

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The two women who run New Jersey’s official state Twitter account, Megan Coyne and Pearl Gabel, know all about the reputation their home state has developed over decades.

They are all too aware that New Jersey has often been derided as “the armpit of America” and ridiculed for the odor that the moniker implies. Though they both identify as “Jersey girls,” they know that phrase calls up a stereotype that many residents deeply resent.

They realize that when outsiders reference “dirty Jersey,” it’s not generally a term of endearment. The first glimpse of the state for many visitors is a trip from Newark Liberty International Airport along aging highways that pass a vast and unattractive industrial waterfront.

The women know it all. And on @NJGov, the Twitter account they run, they own and embrace it.

video from the Jersey Shore. “Hi haters,” said another. A third simply said “dirty jerz” and pulled in more than 4,000 likes.

“New Jersey’s been kind of the butt of national jokes for so long,” said Ms. Coyne, a digital assistant in the governor’s office. “It has not the best reputation among people, and we really wanted to change that.”

Ms. Gabel, her boss, put it another way.

“Jersey fresh. Jersey strong. Jersey girl. Jersey whatever,” she said, essentially rattling off a list of Garden State hashtags. “We’re Jersey.”

Over the past two years, Ms. Coyne and Ms. Gabel have channeled their innate, deeply felt love for New Jersey into a bold, sassy social media account that has generated considerable attention on Twitter, where celebrities, thirsty brands and influencers compete for clicks.

Perhaps more impressively, the two have managed to distill a playfully combative New Jersey swagger into state-centric memes and quips that feel authentic both to the internet and to the Garden State itself.

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