Five years ago Buzzfeed tackled the seemingly impossible task of telling the oral history Weird Twitter.
What is Weird Twitter?
“This is where the language of Twitter gets created, where its funniest jokes come from, and where its worst tendencies are isolated, rebroadcast, and sometimes destroyed. It’s a meritocratic place where genders, ages, backgrounds, and jobs are either absent or distorted beyond recognition. It is to Twitter what people used to imagine 4Chan was to the rest of the internet: its best, and most powerful, creative engine.”
Today we are here to supplement and update this original telling with some context from our very own Echo, which gives you the ability to dive into the full Twitter archive.
It’s our very own Twitter way-back machine, so hop in with us as we go on this strange and questionably fulfilling journey.
Got questions or something we missed? Tell us about it on Twitter @UnionMetrics.
The state of Weird Twitter in 2018
In the 2013 piece, the Weird Twitter interviewees made it clear that they hated the “Weird Twitter” label.
Unfortunately for them, it still exists.
if anyone's thinking of making a political compass of weird Twitter, dril goes in the bottom left. I'm not debating this.
— vicious little goblin (@Bouthicca) April 12, 2018
Welcome too the weird twitter success seminar! Question up front?
"Yes isn't that supposed to be 'to?'"
I'm really glad you asked that.
— Hannah Barbarendt (@Hegelbon) June 11, 2014
the world is just a 2013 weird twitter joke
— a gentle reminder (@brother_dag) April 17, 2018
Some of the Weird Twitter accounts linked in the Buzzfeed piece have private accounts now, or are no longer active, or have been suspended. Some of them are still trolling corporate accounts or the same celebrities many mentioned 5 years ago.
@dril, who is arguably the most recognizable Weird Twitter account with such classic tweets as
someone who is good at the economy please help me budget this. my family is dying
— wint (@dril) September 29, 2013
was doxxed last fall, and is anonymous no more, though many of his fans and followers refused to learn his identity and most articles written about it- including the one linked- made discovering it optional.
What else has gone down over the years? We sampled Echo for highlights.
Over the past five years Weird Twitter has seen its share of online adventures, including but not limited to:
A conspiracy related to GamerGate that they were being paid by Gawker. (To do what this author confesses that she is not entirely sure; she was unwilling to dive into the specifics of this one. The point is that you know you’ve made it as a cultural entity when there are conspiracy theories about you.)
its about time weird twitter got a conspiracy theory around it imo
— hëx symbol (@UnburntWitch) October 25, 2014
In 2015, @johnnysun wrote a book and got it published and NPR covered it, which marks a solid move into the mainstream for Weird Twitter
— NPR (@NPR) December 19, 2015
In 2016, a Weird Twitter joke made it into the election cycle. As a fact. No, really.
— Gizmodo (@Gizmodo) October 29, 2016
And in 2017? Reality officially got weirder than Weird Twitter.
i woke up from a nap and everyone is making orb jokes like its 2012 and your weird twitter name is bugteen69. whats going on
— leon (@leyawn) May 21, 2017
Time is a flat circle, etc.
The influence of Weird Twitter
The Buzzfeed piece from 2013 touches on something that’s still very true: Weird Twitter’s style of jokes and sense of humor have very much made it into the mainstream. Comedians who are or were part of Weird Twitter have gone on to mainstream success, like Rob Delaney and his show Catastrophe, Johnny Sun’s book, or Patricia Lockwood’s book Priestdaddy (named a NYT 10 Best Books of the Year in 2017).
You could also arguably point to Weird Twitter as inspiration for the voice some brands have adopted on Twitter, going from being trolled to doing the trolling, like Wendy’s.
We'd prefer to keep our food fresh and hot.
— Wendy's (@Wendys) February 16, 2017
Or simply basking in absurdist humor like MoonPie.
Arranging 13 MoonPies around your body today will protect you from nothing and will actually probably attract several black cats but that might be kinda cool who knows
— MoonPie (@MoonPie) April 13, 2018
So whether you like, hate, or simply deeply misunderstand Weird Twitter it has undoubtedly had some influence on our current culture.
Which is pretty weird, tbh.