OK, What The Hell Is ‘Weird Twitter’?

Explaining “Weird Twitter” is like trying to explain what a ksdmksdmskd looks like, which is a breed of animal that I just made up, and doesn’t actually exist. “Weird Twitter,” too, may not be real. And even if it is, it’s best defined as a series of recognizable words intentionally strung together in a way that often makes no f*cking sense, arranged by people who would never admit to being a part of “Weird Twitter,” whatever that means. It’s baffling, it’s meant to be complicated, and it’s becoming extremely popular, so we thought we’d do our best in explaining what the phenomenon is. We also apologize in advance for the sections that make no sense.

The best way of explaining “Weird Twitter” is to show an example:

Yeah. In short, it’s nonsense. Slacktory describes it as:

A loose group of Twitter users who write in a less-accessible form, using sloppy punctuation/spelling/capitalization, poetic experimentation with sentence format, first-person throwaway characters, and other techniques little known to the vast majority of “serious” Twitter users. (Via)

“Weird Twitter” users tend to sound like spambots, where three sentences will be spliced together into one long string of gibberish. Often, they’re joke accounts, in the sense that the tweets are meant to be funny, and quite often, are. (@Horse_ebooks is their Robert Johnson; everything begins with him and his “Iron rails Iron rails Iron rails Iron rails Iron rails over stern over stern 14$ feet. over stern over” mindset.) Examples include:

And so on. (If you found those tweets funny, you like “Weird Twitter” — if you didn’t, then you don’t.) Recently, PhD student Sebastian Benthall wrote a long analysis of “Weird Twitter,” attempting to clarify what it is, before (semi)unwillingly facing the wrath of the people he was profiling, despite their resistance to there even being such a thing as “Weird Twitter.” It’s a simple case of: you can’t define me, and SCREW YOU for trying. (Another way of reading their fury is that once someone starts to over-analyze their comedy, it becomes less funny and, therefore, the fun is gone.) Benthall wrote:

A significant portion of the reactions were people upset that I had “ruined” their “thing”, that thing which may or may not be weird twitter. If I had to guess, this is due to the perception that blog posts are less ephemeral than tweets, which is true, but also the illusion that what is phenomenologically ephemeral for them isn’t permanent in fact. As I said in my second post, there’s a weird power dynamic at work between blogs and tweets. But this is absurd. Because, if your attention span has been trained on blogs and not tweets, you realize that blog posts, too, are historically ephemeral. Most of the traffic to this post has been from Twitter itself. It is an artifact produced by Weird Twitter, not (as it has been accused of being) a voyeuristic or surveilling observation made on it from without. If this post has any significance within the history of that community, it will only be because the community’s consciousness of itself lead to a kind of dissolution (or suicide), or because its significance has outshone its containment within Twitter itself. (Via)

That’s over contextualizing things, sure, but he’s not wrong, either. Simply put, the phenomenon, if you want to call it that, has taken off because its users, if you want to call them that, are sick of the way things “should” be on Twitter (and in comedy, in general). They’re the anti-Darren Rovell, in other words, and “Weird Twitter” is a way of reacting to — and blowing up — the normal. Christwire’s Marky Figs writes:

big name comedians tweet the dumbest, hackneyed jokes and hundreds of people favorite them and retweet them because of their name. its no different than people spending hundreds of dollars on shoes covered in dog shit especially if they’re Nikes.

and then there are people who make “rules” for twitter like: tweeting a specific amount of times during the day, only putting your best effort forth, using favstar to garner fav’s, deleting replies, etc.

lol thats f*cking dumb as sh*t and i refuse to listen to that. i will use my twitter for what i want, which is why i find “weird twitter” to be far more fulfilling of an experience than “regular” twitter. users like dril, boring_as_heck, fart and ptcruiserusa entertain me far more than some stupid f*cking “blurb” from a big name comedian. (Via)

Some see it the way people in the 1970s did punk and 1980s did hip-hop, i.e. an underground reaction to a mainstream “problem,” while others view “Weird Twitter” as an unfunny, nonsensical trend, which, like any trend, will eventually die. Either way, never call someone “Weird Twitter.” It’s as insulting as calling a hipster “a hipster.”

(Via Slacktory)