On Monday, January 29th, Sesame Street‘s resident MC, Elmo, took to X (formerly Twitter) to ask a seemingly innocent question: “Elmo is just checking in! How is everybody doing?” Par for the internet course, the tweet quickly turned into a viral sensation — first as an open forum for X user trauma dumping, then transmuting into larger mental health discussion. At some point, President Joe Biden got involved. No, we’re not kidding.
Right now, you’re probably wondering: what does this have to do with Hoboken? Well, dear readers, there’s a woman behind Elmo’s red Muppet mittens and the ingenious viral tweets they craft — and she happens to be from Hoboken.
Christina Vittas is a 25-year-old Hoboken resident who has worked at Sesame Workshop (the nonprofit behind Sesame Street) for over three years. She currently acts as social media manager for the org, and among her many responsibilities is managing Elmo’s X account. In a conversation with Today.com, Christina shared that “she has always had a special relationship with the furry little red guy. Her birthday is February 2nd, which is a day before Elmo’s birthday on February 3rd.” Happy Belated Birthday to them both!
To date, the tweet has 20k replies, 60k retweets, 159k likes, and 20k saves. A slew of celebrities, influencers, and national brands hopped on the trend to express their feelings of inner turmoil and existential dread.
I’m just looking for somebody to talk to and show me some love if you know what I mean https://t.co/J4ffrIwjEM
— T-Pain (@TPAIN) January 29, 2024
A day later, Christina responded to the influx of engagement with a follow-up tweet: “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.” This, of course, also went viral, and even prompted a response from our Nation’s President. See the interaction below.
I know how hard it is some days to sweep the clouds away and get to sunnier days.
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
— President Biden (@POTUS) January 31, 2024
Since then, Christina has been making Hoboken proud on every corner of the internet. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, she was interviewed for The Today Show, and the story has been picked up by nearly every major outlet.
On her personal Instagram, Christina called the event “The Wildest Week of My Life,” with a carousel chronicling the viral spiral that would become Elmo’s hit tweet. See the post below.
View this post on Instagram
It’s no surprise to us that a Hoboken resident is behind this historic internet moment, and we can’t see what Christina has planned next for her furry friend. In case you need a reminder (though Christina is already on the job), Elmo loves you.