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Best Twitter Use by a Local Dinosaur

We interviewed the witty (person behind the) dinosaur about her feud with Merriam-Webster, crush on Jeff Goldblum, and more.

Photo: Alexandra Wimley/Chicago Tribune

Sue the T. rex may be a 67-million-year-old skeleton with short arms, but she’s as savvy as any millennial when it comes to social media.

The Field Museum celebrity and self-described “Murderbird,” who tweets as @SUEtheTrex, has an innate sense of when to be snarky and when a simple GIF will do. She drops pop culture references as naturally as she does paleontological knowledge, knows a bit of Spanish, and is generous with replies and retweets. She tweets multiple times a day, even on weekends, endearing her to her 31,600-plus followers.

She really likes Jeff Goldblum.

Even when Sue is on the losing end of a Twitter fight (see: her trolling Merriam-Webster this summer), she shows remarkable self-deprecating wit. Fame clearly hasn’t gone to her well-preserved head, er, skull.

With Sue’s impending move out of the main gallery and into her own room next year to make way for an even bigger dinosaur, we figured we’d ask her via email to reflect on her use of Twitter, explain her fascination with Goldblum, and clue us in to who’s really doing the tweeting. Here’s what she (he? they?) said.

Who are you and is there actually more than one of you?

I am SUE. Or “SUE the Tyrannosaurus rex” if you’re not into that whole “brevity” thing. I have several casts that tour to other museums, if that’s what you’re asking. 

How did you get to be such a natural on Twitter?

As a large territorial apex predator, I was actually pretty accomplished at dominance displays and preying on the weakest of the herd. So you could say I was basically born to thrive in today’s modern social media landscape.

Is there a minimum number of tweets you aim for each day?

Every day I wake up, log in, and wonder, “What is the worst thing I could possibly get away with?”

That random feud with Merriam-Webster aside, what were your favorite moments of 2017 from your feed?

In no particular order:

• The Field Museum announced I would be getting a sweet new private room and a very large roommate. I also received a ham bonus. 

• J.K. Rowling and I became best friends ever over a “what shark are you?” quiz.

• I played Dungeons and Dragons with my pals. You could say it was a…[pause] “Critical Hit.” That one was for the nerds.

• Tyrannosaurus rex got an official emoji. With the wrong posture, but a win is a win.

• Jeff Goldblum was featured more prominently (but not enough if you ask me) in popular media.

What’s with your Jeff Goldblum fixation anyway?

Like… you know what the man looks like, right? Also, he’s in a big dinosaur movie.

Will you be live-tweeting the move to your new gallery?

There will be live video check-ins, most likely on the The Field Museum’s Facebook page—if they’ll let me on there. I guess we can talk to my good friend (and Alfred to my Batman), Head of Geological Collections Bill Simpson.

There may be some behind-the-scenes hijinks while I’m off display getting ready to be remounted. As a (temporarily) disembodied rage emu, I can roam the halls and maybe check in on the new 122-foot-long sauropod playing door greeter. That is, if it can ever shut up about “going vegan.” WE GET IT YOU EAT KALE [leaf emoji].

Also, did you know less than 1 percent of The Field Museum’s collections are on public display? With some free time on my tiny, but powerful, hands I will finally be able to see EVERY rove beetle we have. And buddy…DEMS A LOT OF ROVE BEETLES.

 

More classic Sue tweets:

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