This article is part of our East Bay Bloggers series. Where bloggers dish on their passions, and why they continue to share them.
The Blog: RIprobz
Creators: Erin Meehan and Russell Chiulli
About: All the beloved quirks of Little Rhody
Based In: Barrington
Is there really another state more proud of its quirks than RI? We get our hot wieners all the way and our iced coffee year round. Our mouths water at the sight of coffee milk and Del’s on a hot day. It was only a matter of time until someone used the right platform to share all that is right in RI with the world. Enter Twitter account RIprobz, started by Erin Meehan and Russell Chiulli. In just over five years they’ve amassed a following of over 88,000 people – a number that continues to grow.
When Erin was away at college in Williamsport, PA in 2011, she was the only Rhode Islander on campus. She had to constantly explain words like “wicked,” why she called a shopping cart a carriage (because that’s what it’s called) or why she had a bottle of coffee syrup in her room. Her response? The Twitter account called RIprobz that she started with her boyfriend Russell. It calls out, highlights and pokes fun at all things Little Rhody. Things like, “Is it possible to have a construction project in RI that doesn’t fall behind schedule and go over budget???? #No #RIprobz” or “Rhode Islanders stop at the sign of the lemon instead of at actual stop signs. #RIprobz” and “Damn it’s cold! *orders iced coffee anyway* #RIprobz.”
RIprobz captures the essence of what it is to be a Rhode Islander. She thinks their Twitter feed has done so well because of that authenticity. “We thought that it would be a great idea to share our thoughts about Rhode Island with not only Rhode Islanders but with whoever wanted to learn more about our little state,” she says. “We hope to show people that even if you come from small towns, you can create something that will influence the masses and hopefully make them laugh. It’s okay to poke fun at your own state.”
She never thought it would catch on like it has, and is surprised at the success. The account has helped them connect with their community. Their followers share ideas with them, and let her know about events in the area that make sense for them to get involved in. The account has also connected them far beyond the East Bay because models, professional athletes and local and national celebrities who understand what it’s like to grow up in Rhode Island follow and interact with them. She understands that you can take the person out of Rhode Island, but you can’t ever take the Rhode Island out of the person.