Weird Twitter

Weird Twitter

Part of a series on Twitter. [View Related Entries]

Updated Aug 05, 2013 at 03:34PM EDT by Brad.

Added Oct 19, 2012 at 05:00PM EDT by amanda b..

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About

Weird Twitter refers to a loosely connected group of Twitter users who are known to experiment with spelling, punctuation and format for humor or poetry. The style of writing can be considered surrealist by participants in the group, with subject matter ranging from creating absurd scenarios to attempting to describe abstract feelings by choosing words for their “verbal aesthetic appeal.”[17] However, many of the accounts are grouped together by the same desire to reinterpret the “realness” of life in ways people do not always get to experience.[16][18]

Origin

One of the earliest Twitter accounts associated with these types of tweets belongs to Jon Hendren, a writer for Something Awful[2], who created his account @fart[1] in March 2008. As of October 2012, dozens of his tweets have been favorited or retweeted hundreds of times.[3]




The term “Weird Twitter” was coined as early as March 2012 by @regisl[19] in a caps lock tweet.




Spread

In March 2011, Jon Hendren began cataloging his favorite tweets on Something Awful in a series called “Twitter Tuesday.”[8] Though the phrase “weird Twitter” was never used to describe these tweets, many of the Twitter users he quoted would later be included in the group. In August 2012, PhD student Sebastian Benthall posted his first hypothesis about the phenomenon to his personal blog, Digifesto.[4] He argued that he saw the tweets similar to the spam poetry found in the Twitter account @Horse_ebooks, despite no interaction between eBooks Twitter accounts and this community, and that members valued the favoriting statistics provided by Favstar.[5]



On October 3rd, 2012, a question inquiring about weird Twitter was posed to the Q&A website Quora,[6] where an anonymous user described it as “the Twitter equivalent of /b/,” 4chan‘s random board notorious for its outrageous content. Screenshots of this Quora page, along with Sebastian Benthall’s blog post, were tweeted out by @Mobute[7] on October 16th to nearly 10,000 followers. That day, “weird Twitter” was mentioned more than 1000 times[9] across the platform, followed by many users who typically post in this style complaining about the use of the term.




Also on the 16th, Benthall posted a follow-up article on his blog[11] with a compilation of angry tweets from Twitter users who had perceived the concept of “weird Twitter” in a negative light. (example shown below). Two days later, Benthall posted a third article[10] explaining his academic interest in the study of online communities and his fascination with the amorphous “Weird Twitter community.” He also noted that he was attempting to troll the community with the two previous posts, overusing scientific language to stir up controversy on purpose, which did lead to a large influx of hate messages.




On October 17th, a Twitter account named @WeirdTwiterTxt[15] was launched to parody stereotypical “weird” tweets associated with the community. The following day, @tropikoala[14] uploaded a map of 75 “Weird Twitter” users (shown below) that he felt reflected the many circles and sub-groups that existed within the small part larger community he had come in contact with. The image was intended to show just a portion of the vast co-existent universes within this type of tweeting. Also on the 18th, Slacktory[12] posted a collections of the staff’s favorite Weird Twitter tweets. On October 19th, Uproxx[13] posted a similar article with more examples of tweets.



Twitter’s Response

On August 4th, 2013, The Wall Street Journal reported on the growing subculture of Weird Twitter in an article titled “Some Twitter Users Push Back on Ads,” describing the trend as a reactionary movement against the influx of corporate brands and advertising campaigns on the popular microblogging network. The article, which specifically focused on how the group has attempted brandjacking of promotional tweets sponsored by corporations, also contained a quote from Twitter’s spokesperson Jim Prosser:

As for Weird Twitter and the conflicted feelings of early adopters as Twitter’s usership grows, Mr. Prosser says, “To me it’s the eternal battle people have over hipsterdom.” “Twitter can feel cheesy sometimes, so promotional and self-aggrandizing,” says John Manoogian III, a tech entrepreneur in San Francisco who joined Twitter in 2006, its inaugural year. “It’s experiencing Eternal September.”

Notable Examples





Brandjacking

Search Interest



External References

Recent Videos 1 total

Recent Images 52 total

Top Comments

Cyber6x
Cyber6x

Gotta love how bad of a tantrum people can throw because their ‘secret clubhouse’ of a meme get documented.

Seriously though, if you’re mad because what you believed to be sacred has been defiled, you’re what’s holding back progress. Feel honored that this is popular enough to be documented and don’t act like an elitist that believes you and only you are entitled to enjoy something.

+59
ivanp
ivanp

Aw god damn it.

I hate it when public information (Twitter) is posted on other public websites.
ALL of these Tweets were supposed to be a SLIGHT secret and some website
made an entry about em.

Well shit, now everyone knows about them. They’ve only been reading them for FOUR years
and then “KnowYourMeme” makes an entry about it and ruins our not-secret club.

What the hell is wrong with all of you? Why do you have to take public information and
repost it? All of those tweets posted were supposed to be SOMEWHAT secret.

Don’t take other people’s public Tweets and post ’em to other public websites.

On the internet, you are NOT allowed to take others PUBLIC info and post it to PUBLIC
websites.

Good job KYM, you’ve singlehandedly made public information public, oh wait, no… it was already
public BECAUSE IT WAS TWITTER

+44

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