So You Think You Can Beanplate
October 18, 2012 8:09 PM   Subscribe

Just what is Weird Twitter, anyway?
posted by gilrain (89 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Poster's Request -- Brandon Blatcher

Weird choice of adjective.
posted by user92371 at 8:16 PM on October 18, 2012

This seems like normal Twitter to me. I didn't know it was weird.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:17 PM on October 18, 2012 [9 favorites]

The concept of weird twitter has been gnawing at me all week, so thanks.
But what is Gangnam Style? Are the two related?
posted by Flashman at 8:17 PM on October 18, 2012

posted by The White Hat at 8:19 PM on October 18, 2012 [5 favorites]

Uh, that's just how people post on twitter.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:20 PM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I subscribe to Greg Nog's feed, so that's all pretty normal looking to me.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:22 PM on October 18, 2012 [15 favorites]


posted by capricorn at 8:23 PM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Paging Greg Nog....
posted by schmod at 8:24 PM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

man you might be bourgeois but that don't make you Louise
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:25 PM on October 18, 2012 [4 favorites]

So weird twitter is Greg Nog?

derp pwnd
posted by kenko at 8:40 PM on October 18, 2012

Uh, that's just how people post on twitter.

This is being all sorts of overthought, but, I mean, there is a lot of tweeting that is pretty god damn weird, and I am pretty comfortable saying that there're whole little genres of the stuff at this point.
posted by brennen at 8:40 PM on October 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

Paging Greg Nog....

I mostly ignore twitter, but I do follow Greg Nog. Weird twitter is his wheelhouse.
posted by phunniemee at 8:41 PM on October 18, 2012

I bet the IRB forms for this study are awesome.
posted by aaronetc at 8:44 PM on October 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

UtilityLimb was pretty brilliant. Sorry to see her/him/it/them/THEM/∞ go.
posted by gwint at 8:45 PM on October 18, 2012 [4 favorites]

@dril is one of the best of these:

we all had that kid in school who shaved the Netflix logo into his hair & kept saying "Cant wait to watch some Netflix" #WeAllHadThatKid #90

posted by mulligan at 8:48 PM on October 18, 2012 [4 favorites]

You mean "only enjoyable part of twitter"?
posted by Nomiconic at 8:50 PM on October 18, 2012 [4 favorites]

All this crap is just a pale imitation of Greg Nog. That dude is OG.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:51 PM on October 18, 2012

So where are all the good joke accounts these days, anyway? I follow The Tweet of God, but Your Aunt Diane and Friend From HS have gone dark. I hope Fake Coach Pop makes a comeback now that it's almost Basketball season.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:51 PM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

huh. As someone who has never been able to communicate on twitter, I find this type of communication very interesting.
posted by rebent at 8:54 PM on October 18, 2012

Yeah, those guys have all been talking about this. I follow a lot of that Twitter contingent, which previously had been known to self-label as "Twitter weirdos." brendlewhat, in particular, is fabulous; he does this great thing where he handpicks and retweets entire strings of tweets of humans acting badly, basically, e.g., a stream of a dozen people complaining about the awkwardness of accidentally being home when the maid comes by. All the people doing bizarro "sext" tweets are awesome, too. And I love the whole ghost contingent, of which kimmy is a good example.
posted by limeonaire at 8:54 PM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Pretty much agree that Greg Nog has got this covered.
posted by spitefulcrow at 8:55 PM on October 18, 2012

Not to beanplate overmuch but goddammit someone explain the "bad boy" joke to me. I've been racking my brain all afternoon trying to figure it out. It seems to be a reference to the Cops theme, and I thought it was the lyrics Twitter-garbled, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
posted by eugenen at 9:01 PM on October 18, 2012

you are not in any real sense a 'weirdo' when you have 1000s of relatively well-off graphic designers and bloggers hopping on your nick #fyi
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 9:01 PM on October 18, 2012

“Weird Twitter” is not going to become Hot Topic shirts. It will not get sponsored by Gatorade. Its innovative and non-cynical forms keep it too challenging and slippery to safely co-opt, and its commercial appeal is near-zero to any brand big enough to do it harm.

oh that made me laugh, another internet writer who doesn't understand how these things go.
posted by Shit Parade at 9:05 PM on October 18, 2012 [6 favorites]

Cool. The worst article on the internet. I was wondering when we'd find it.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 9:12 PM on October 18, 2012 [12 favorites]

I love weird twitter so hard.

I might be weird twitter.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 9:15 PM on October 18, 2012

Not everything needs it's own category.
posted by arcticseal at 9:18 PM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

This so-called "in grad school" person is being very unprofessional.
posted by clockzero at 9:23 PM on October 18, 2012

Weird Twitter is able to mobilize the optical and dimensional static viewpoint which keeps us imprisoned in our (three-dimensional) illusions. Thus it became possible tp perceive the entire prism of the world instead of just one facet at a time. In this connection Weird Twitter is one of the strongest manifestations of the fourth dimension, transposed onto the subject... ...Weird Twitter is ‘yes-no, a bird on four legs, a ladder without steps, a square without angels. Weird Twitter possesses as many positives as negatives. To think that Weird Twitter simply means destruction is to misunderstand life, of which Weird Twitter is the expression.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:24 PM on October 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

arcticseal: "Not everything needs it's own category."

No, but if we can group something, we can watch trends and interactions with other groups and other neat stuff like that.
posted by rebent at 9:28 PM on October 18, 2012

posted by not_on_display at 9:29 PM on October 18, 2012

So it's FYAD, but on twitter?
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:30 PM on October 18, 2012 [5 favorites]

posted by Ad hominem at 9:39 PM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

OK, I finished going through my following list to get some more for you (so the list below is kind of in reverse order of how I discovered these guys). The Twitter weirdos exist in the bizarre nexus of the absurdists, the (horse) ebook(s) people, the sexters, the pyramid people, the house ghosts, the short-fiction writers, and the dream people. That's my in, if I can claim one at all; as my Twitter bio notes, my brain writes fiction in my sleep, and these guys' stuff is kind of fuel for that.

But yeah, they're not all doing the same thing, it's not all funny all the time (so you can't go into it with that expectation), and a lot of it is NSFW or even outright offensive. They're sort of the shady psychic underbelly, the id, if you will, of Twitter. To me, they're a bit reminiscent of Oulipo and other absurdist writers' collectives. But collectively, they're so delightfully unexpected. I've really come to love these guys.

posted by limeonaire at 9:39 PM on October 18, 2012 [62 favorites]

It's not really that surprising that people reacted with anger and disdain when some grad student butted his way into their loosely-knit community and started describing them like an anthropologist might describe a lost tribe and then explained their jokes for them.
posted by Copronymus at 9:40 PM on October 18, 2012 [8 favorites]

Yeah, pretty much. I'm hoping they don't get mad that I made a list; I love them to death, and I've really enjoyed being on the fringes of things. I just hope other people can enjoy what they do—without getting up in their business too much. It's the closest thing I've found to the Campus Absurdists group I was in for a while in college.
posted by limeonaire at 9:43 PM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by Ad hominem at 9:46 PM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Self-congratulatory masturbation. And I don't mean the people tweeting the funny, I mean the author of this vacuous article.
posted by ...possums at 10:00 PM on October 18, 2012

Haha! This really is a thing! And here I thought one of my weird friends was just being weird.

posted by bardic at 10:08 PM on October 18, 2012

Possums, without this article I would not have learned about these people. So, I'm sorry to have benefited from it at your detriment?
posted by rebent at 10:08 PM on October 18, 2012

If you can't find weird on the internet you are doing it wrong.
Defining "weird" as a subclass of Twitter is just a ridiculous premise.
posted by ...possums at 10:23 PM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

In a thousand years people of the future will read from @horse_ebooks' Twitter feed at church on Sundays.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 10:31 PM on October 18, 2012 [5 favorites]

Bored now.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:36 PM on October 18, 2012

God I want Greg Nog to NOT post in this thread so fucking badly. Just to infuriate everyone.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:40 PM on October 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

The day after I eat at Burger King, the bathroom smells flame-broiled.
posted by JHarris at 11:50 PM on October 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

things that aren't weird at all:
- providing detailed, unrequested maps of your current location every few minutes
- sharing a picture of what is currently inside your stomach
- striving for a celebrity follow-back as a legitimate life achievement
posted by acidic at 11:55 PM on October 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

In a thousand years people of the future will read from @horse_ebooks' Twitter feed at church on Sundays.

I have a next-door neighbor who claims to be a time-traveler from the distant future. When I show him your comment, he laughs and laughs. He then says "Oh, if only."
posted by JHarris at 11:55 PM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was introduced to ActualPerson084 a while back and I'm pretty sure it was from a MeFi post so I'm going to assume it was limeonaire. Thanks limeonaire!

That list is intimidating though
posted by palidor at 12:10 AM on October 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

I read the article and immediately ctrl-f'd the comments here for FYAD. Glad I wasn't the only one with that thought tylerkaraszewski.
posted by grizzly at 12:20 AM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Palidor just beat me to it, but @ActualPerson084 is one of my very favourite things on the Internet. I'll have to check the rest of the list...
posted by ominous_paws at 1:58 AM on October 19, 2012

Hey, I follow several of these people. Also thirding the recommendation of @ActualPerson084. His tweets are among the most creatively interesting things I've seen on the internet in a long time.

(For those wanting a taste of Weird Twitter, his description of himself goes like this:

dv54MJxV772~ real person not metal ghost in rainbow box
not metal ghost in devil box

Weird! On Twitter!)
posted by anaximander at 2:03 AM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Twitter seems to me a world of chaff mixed with a handful of wheat.
posted by asok at 2:19 AM on October 19, 2012

And I don't mean the people tweeting the funny

i do
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:37 AM on October 19, 2012

Hi guys it's me Greg Nog lol follow my new account which is linked in this new profile and ... Ahh who am I kidding I'll never be weird enough for WT. :(
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:32 AM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is what the sound of one hand applauding itself looks like.
posted by carter at 3:54 AM on October 19, 2012

I tried to check out Weird Twitter but all I found was The Colossal Pillar of Wasp Eggs
posted by griphus at 4:11 AM on October 19, 2012 [10 favorites]

Isn't this just comedy today: intelligent but knowing, cynical and absurdist.

I don't think this is really a "twitter" thing. Its all over the media. -for example taps into a similar vein of humour.
posted by mary8nne at 4:35 AM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I once took cranky and racist Free Republic comments and turned them into a twitter markov.

It's kinda weird. I had to reformat the computer it was on, and I haven't bothered to reboot it.

But anyway, take something horrible, chop it up and glue it back together, and you, too, can make weirdness.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:43 AM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just bragging that famous WT @dogboner follows me on my WT, which has like 30 tweets. He followed before I followed him, and before following my brother's semi-famous WT. :3

posted by peacrow at 5:44 AM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

What's really, really weird about my dale_ebooks account is that I seem to trip off Tea Party/GOP oriented bots that try to follow the account without reading the content.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:45 AM on October 19, 2012

These guys are pretty funny imagine what they could do with 280 characters.
posted by fleacircus at 5:48 AM on October 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

Oh hey, I forgot about vaginaghost and georgelazenby. Those guys, too.
posted by limeonaire at 6:30 AM on October 19, 2012

Hi! I'm the author!

Greg's great, and a good example of the genre, totally agreed, been following him for a long time.

FYAD: That I genuinely knew nothing about. I knew @fart worked at SomethingAwful, and I think he was my entry to most everyone else in WT, but I am still extremely foggy on just how many WTers are also on SA. I've found over the years that half the interesting subcultures online — most satisfyingly Reddit's SRS Fempire — were heavily influenced, or wholesale invented by, SA.

So thank you for helping me learn about those. My article was by no means a comprehensive investigation into a group of Twitter people and their practices, but I would happily read one.

People who called this self-congratulatory: Wait what? What did I self-congratulate about? Was it that I might get to publish a couple of these users? Or that I've met some? Those... those are not super-braggy things! I'm very lucky to try working with some of these writers, but I only met some because I went to a reading that was completely open to the public. I didn't *accomplish* anything there.

Also some people think I was maybe exploitative? Nnnnope. This article is more successful than the average Slacktory post, but it's still only gonna hit maybe 10K views. Most of those are from people already interested in this subculture, whose biggest response will be to follow a couple of these users. No one's getting rich, no one's hurting anyone.

Limeonaire: Thanks for that list! I wanted to avoid making one in this article, since I didn't want to even pretend to define a roster, but watching other people make lists of their favorites, and discovering more great writers through them, is sincerely exciting. Virgiltexas is one of my favorites, and someone I'm trying to work with on longer pieces.
posted by NickDouglas at 6:31 AM on October 19, 2012 [9 favorites]

Also, people who said "this is what normal Twitter looks like to me" — I feel some stupid kind of jealousy of your asceticism, like what kind of brave soul can avoid following the NYT account or some other utterly mundane adult shit?
posted by NickDouglas at 6:35 AM on October 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

utterly mundane adult shit

Now I wish Lurid Digs had a Twitter.

(Don't Google "Lurid Digs" at work. Thx.)
posted by griphus at 7:02 AM on October 19, 2012

utterly mundane adult shit

Yeah, if I wanted to read that stuff, I'd subscribe to an RSS feed or something. And yeah, my list is of course not canonical or anything... And God, I hope there never is a list of these guys that's considered "canonical." ... But I'm glad you liked it!
posted by limeonaire at 7:17 AM on October 19, 2012

For the past few years my twitter feed's been a constant stream of shamanistic visions, mental illness, absurdist poetry, esoterica, run-on sentences, solipsism, drunk sincerity, and jokes about dicks and weed and Skrillex. I wouldn't want it any other way. The recent categorization of "weird twitter" seems to be tearing this loose-knit group of people apart and it's strangely heartbreaking. In particular, the "map o' weird twitter" in the FPP is laughably wrong and just about everyone agrees on that. I don't think any map or list of 'weird twitter folks' can do justice to the full glorious scope, and trying to compartmentalize or explain the fluid stream of connected nonsense seems quixotic and misguided. Not that it shouldn't be done by someone really intimate with the scene and its nuances. I don't think anyone's succeeded though, and the bad efforts do active harm to a scene that operates almost on a subconscious ineffable understanding more than any specific intent. Maybe this is something that should only be attempted in hindsight.

People at Gawker are taking an interest and allegedly they're writing a big expose of weird twitter. That is going to be even more of a shitshow, I imagine. Please, let's not kill off this glorious thing by naming it, co-opting it, and making it lame like we've done to every other cool thing in the history of mankind.
posted by naju at 7:55 AM on October 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Not joking: Weird twitter gives my life meaning sometimes when it's hard to know if other people find modern life just as horrifying and funny combined as I do. I would rather follow 1000 Utility Limbs or dude_hugs than a Kelly Oxford or Michael Ian Black or some twitter-giant normal person who doesn't see the world through a dirty screen of internet addiction and obscure desperation.

The thing your otherwise very accurate article is missing Nick, is that at it's best WT is way way more touching and inspiring than alt-lit or academic experimental poetry. It is the closest thing to transcendentalism that we've got right now.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:55 AM on October 19, 2012 [8 favorites]

cmd-f "loudbot" not found.

my favorite corner of weird twitter is still safe for now. oh wait, i just ruined it.
posted by frijole at 7:57 AM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

It was only a matter of time before the clubhouse started to shudder a bit naju, but i mean, people are still only running between 1 and 10k followers. In the scope of twitter, that's not a lot, so hey, shouldn't great funny writers be rewarded by more popularity, yes they should.

By the way, I keep a pretty solid List of Weird Twitter accounts that haven't really blown up yet: ICI (just added @loudbot, sorry frijole!)
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:59 AM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

There are two kinds of bozos on twitter: those who know they are bozos and those megabozos who do not.
posted by bonehead at 8:11 AM on October 19, 2012

Obliquer Strategies
posted by gwint at 8:14 AM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

My only concern is that popularity and exposure from mainstream sources will just kill the entire thing completely, which is already fragile (some unknown dude's faux-academic blog post caused a seizmic rupture, after all!) Possibly this is an insular and elitist viewpoint. I get mixed emotions from this whole thing, I guess. My main line of thinking is that the fun becomes less fun when it's a Thing That People Talk About, egos get involved, etc.
posted by naju at 8:27 AM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

naju: What seismic rupture, though? It's another day and everyone has moved on, no? Did anyone quit? Did anyone stop talking to old friends? I'm not being sarcastic, if there is actual damage I would like to see it and learn.
posted by NickDouglas at 9:07 AM on October 19, 2012

I feel much the same way, naju. I don't want naming names and listing lists to crush the poetry and the supernatural delight of the part of Twitter I love most. The house ghosts are clanking a lot today; it would make anyone self-conscious to be getting the attention they are right now. Observation does change things. People like aRealLiveGhost are being retweeted by tech guys like Zeldman, weedhitler posted something (true or not—the spirit of it is true) about getting called by his mom about his rising number of followers, I saw someone else go spinning off into a multitweet rant about personal-branding douches... I just hope things settle down soon.

But I posted my list because I was so surprised and thrilled to see another MetaFilter post about these guys, and like Potomac Avenue, I wanted to spread the word about the Twitter people I love. I hadn't heard anyone here talking much about these guys since your Patricia Lockwood post back in March, naju. They're my everyday Twitter, too, and my wish for them would be that everyone could avoid getting all exposé on them and just read them, just dip into the stream of serendipity and enjoy it.
posted by limeonaire at 9:18 AM on October 19, 2012 [4 favorites]

Hmm. If people have moved on, awesome! I'm not aware of anyone quitting. For the past few days I've seen a lot of angst, a pretty interesting split between people saying fuck weird twitter vs. I love weird twitter vs. weird twitter doesn't exist; it's a cliqueish in-group, the in-jokes are stale and lame vs. they're just an understood format to build on vs. "everyone is just ripping off Dril". People making lists and maps, people annoyed that they weren't included on whatever list or map, people annoyed at people making lists and maps. Just calling out the typical behavior seems to be making at least a few people realize that maybe this has all jumped the shark. Seems like a bit of a mess. Which is all probably going to settle down, or already has. Let's hope for less in-fighting and self-consciousness and more ethereal absurdity! (That Patricia Lockwood interview is still the best thing I've read about this stuff, by the way.)
posted by naju at 9:38 AM on October 19, 2012

Speaking of Greg, I just assumed everyone else called these TWURTS like I do in my head. And here's my favorite Greg twurt:

posted by peep at 10:00 AM on October 19, 2012 [4 favorites]

A lot of this freaking out also is a factor of how young many of these folks are. Kimmy (ARLG) for instance is super young and all the attention could make her either think "Ehhh fuck it" and stop writing or change tactics entirely (already seen a little of this in that she writes about her life more and more, people are interested for sure, but it's not weird comic poetry so much.) Maybe she (again just for example) will develop into a writer or performer of things, or maybe she'll just be like "Hey remember when I was 20 and a bunch of strangers thought my imaginary world was funny and poignant? Ha ha cool. Fetch the moon-pills robo-butler I'm going to catch a spacenap."

So Naju, as an observer it seems like this is less a disaster and more a natural progression of the artform of the twurt going from totally ignored by mainstream culture to slightly-less ignored. Some people are going to go all Maximum-Rock-And-Roll letters-to-the-editor-section bonkers over the change, most are just going to keep doing what they do or not, and a few are going to use the moment to become writers of things other than tweets, and possibly real great stars of the world in some way. The last group makes the whole enterprise worthwhile.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:06 AM on October 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

And here's my favorite Greg twurt:

As an *ahem* bass player who has played Black Crowes songs in a cover band, and actually enjoyed it a bunch, I figure he apparently can see inside my mind:


'tis a ragged satyr indeed.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:26 AM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Agreed, Potomac Avenue — while I'd hardly call a Slacktory piece and some college student's semi-trollish essays "mainstream culture", if the group does end up getting attention from Gawker or BuzzFeed then I could theoretically see some negative effects. But both Gawker and BuzzFeed actually have writers who are much more deeply integrated with the WT crowd than I am, so I think they could have a surprisingly nuanced and appropriate take on it.
posted by NickDouglas at 12:32 PM on October 19, 2012

my main issue with people writing about this is that annoying nerds, in an effort to be the most knowing, will come out of the woodwork to tell me precisely why I am laughing at Weird Tweets and quite possibly why I'm completely devoid of humor for it

please let me quietly appreciate what ZIZEK EBOOKS means to me
posted by GenericUser at 12:53 PM on October 19, 2012

Wow. Wasted most of the day reading the UtilityLimb tweets. It's like a dead baby joke vs. that part of the Mahabrata where baby Krishna opens his mouth and the universe is inside.
posted by wormwood23 at 6:24 PM on October 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

At first this sounded like a completely alien phenomenon to me, and then I realized that I have an account or three that would be described as "Weird Twitter". I can't really imagine using Twitter any other way. I sure as hell am not going to follow the New York Times, my dry cleaner, or my local blinking crosswalk light.
posted by afiler at 1:08 AM on October 20, 2012

Dont Walk
Walk Dont Walk Walk Dont Walk


Dont Walk
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:59 AM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was about to say, I actually think that last one could be a pretty great Twitter account.
posted by limeonaire at 9:54 AM on October 20, 2012

I take that back, I'll totally follow the crosswalk's Twitter.
posted by afiler at 3:18 PM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm a big fan of @dogsdoingthings. i.e.:
Dogs smashing an abacus, demanding, "Are numbers even real??"

Dogs explaining that in the Southern Hemisphere, your life spins in the opposite direction when it spirals out of control.

Dogs observing of a quietly dying universe, "Sometimes things just don't work out."

Dogs waking during heart surgery to ask, "Do you feel my heart beating, do you understand?" as the surgeon nods and sheds a single tear.
posted by Jeff_Larson at 3:44 PM on October 21, 2012

Dont Walk
Walk Dont Walk Walk Dont Walk

I take that back, I'll totally follow the crosswalk's Twitter.

Denying access to the <blink> tag is a real infringement of a crosswalk's right to self-expression.
posted by nobody at 3:25 AM on October 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

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