Why It’s Not The Weekend Until @CraigWeekend Says So
The 18-year-old behind the viral Twitter account @CraigWeekend has offered people a routine reminder to take a load off.,
In a scene from “Saturday Night Live,” the English actor Daniel Craig stares into the camera and flops his arms halfheartedly, as if he meant to raise them above his head but got tired halfway.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Weeknd,” he says, announcing the episode’s musical guest: the Canadian pop star Abel Tesfaye. The studio audience begins to cheer.
These four seconds of footage, notable if only for Mr. Craig’s ambiguous tone (was he exasperated? dubious? expectant? neutral?), were surely forgotten by most viewers after the episode was broadcast on March 7, 2020. But not by Miles Riehle.
Watching Mr. Craig on “S.N.L.,” he was amused by what he saw as a double entendre. “It sounds like he’s welcoming in the weekend, as in Saturday or Sunday,” said Mr. Riehle, 18. “I was like, ‘Man, that’s really funny.'”
When the account took off months later, in November, “I was excited to have so many people following something that I was doing,” Mr. Riehle said. Soon, interview requests started rolling in.
The extra attention, while thrilling, was also daunting, he said, “because now I have to make sure I keep all these people entertained.”
That said, he seems to be sustaining the interest of his more than 450,000 followers, who Friday after Friday await his announcement that the workweek has come to an end. Some people message him when they feel he has not delivered his proclamation early enough.
Mr. Riehle thinks the account’s appeal can be chalked up to its positive and predictable messages during a period marked by fear and uncertainty.
“Given how much stress there was going on in the world, for a lot of people it was extra potent, being able to embrace the weekend and get excited for it,” he said. Fans of the account, he said, have developed “a community of good vibes.”
“It always seems like people are nice to each other in the replies and the comments and the quote-tweets,” Mr. Riehle said. “I think that’s sort of rare on the internet.”
He usually posts between 3:45 p.m. and 4:20 p.m. Pacific time, but never on the hour. “I kind of want to keep people on their toes,” he said.
Indeed, that his followers know something is coming — but not exactly when — could be key to keeping them engaged, said John Suler, a psychology professor at Rider University.
The predictability “is very reassuring to people, especially during a pandemic when people have little else to do on a Friday and everything else in life seems so unpredictable,” Dr. Suler said. “But then, he does mix in a bit of unpredictable reinforcement by posting at different times of the night.”
Josh Varela, a fellow at Lead for America, a local government leadership program for recent college graduates, from Ventura, Calif., has notifications turned on for the account so he and his roommate know it’s time to put aside their responsibilities for the week.
“Whenever @CraigWeekend tweets, we see it as the time we’ll crack open a beer and hang out,” Mr. Varela, 23, said.
Derek Milton, a 34-year-old film director from Los Angeles, said that “any anxieties, any worries, any hardships that have accumulated over the past five days are relieved by a four-second clip.” He and his friends love the video so much that they recorded a parody version of their own while on the set of a photo shoot with none other than the Weeknd.
Mr. Craig was not available to comment on the “S.N.L.” clip, but the Weeknd appears to be in on the joke. In May, he tweeted, “ladies and gentlemen, the …”
It wasn’t hard for Mr. Riehle to fill in the blank.
“I consider that to be a call-out tweet to me personally,” he said. “I think he likes it.”
Mr. Riehle starts college this fall at the University of California, Davis, where he plans to study environmental policy and planning. He intends to keep running the account while in school.
“I don’t know when it will end or if it will end,” he said. “Obviously if it gets to a point to where it’s harming my relationship with the internet, then I might get rid of it, but I have no plans right now to ever stop doing it.”
For all the relief his account give the weekday 9-to-5 crowd, Mr. Riehle knows that, for some workers, the tweet could also be a dispiriting reminder of impending duties. He himself works as an ambassador for Orange County’s public transit service — on the weekend.
“It is kind of ironic,” he said.