It took years for Jennifer Aniston to embrace social media.
So when The Morning Show star, 50, who graces this week’s cover of PEOPLE as one of four People of the Year, joined Instagram on Oct. 15, fans rejoiced.
Posting her first selfie of her own Friends reunion alongside Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc, Aniston captioned the photo: “And now we’re Instagram FRIENDS too. HI INSTAGRAM 👋🏻.”
A post shared by Jennifer Aniston (@jenniferaniston) on Oct 15, 2019 at 6:03am PDT
Thousands of followers quickly flocked to Aniston’s account—and temporarily crashed her page.
“We are aware that some people are having issues following Jen’s page—the volume of interest is incredible!” a spokesperson for Instagram told PEOPLE in a statement.
No one was more surprised than Aniston herself.
“No. No,” she tells PEOPLE, laughing. “I have no idea how that happened. There is no more shocked face I could use. I’ll also say I was very flattered.”
For more of Aniston’s interview, check out this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday.
Now with 21 million followers (and counting), Aniston is enjoying her “new creative outlet that I have” with social media despite her initial hesitation. So why now? “Just because why not? If you can’t beat them, join them,” she says.
“A lot of my friends were beginning to do it and I didn’t want to be that person that was left in the sandbox with her arms crossed going like, ‘No! I’m not going to play.’ So it’s fun but boy, there’s also a lot of emotionally moving messages.”
While the actress and producer says she doesn’t necessarily read all the comments, “I do have a soft spot for the animal rescue people,” she adds. “I could go down The Dodo rabbit hole and just cry my eyes out. I’m like, ‘I can’t watch this!’ These heroic men and women just rushing out and saving these animals. I just… God bless them all.”
For more on 2019’s People of the Year, click here and pick up this week’s issue, on stands Friday, Dec. 6.