Twitter has become The. Big. Thing. in social media (well, at least until the Next. Big. Thing. comes along) which means that everyone and their grandmother is using it to communicate everything from the sublime to the mundane. (Mostly the mundane.) Naturally, such a market place of ideas and words is bound to be filled with lots and lots of annoying noise-machines disguised as people. This list will no doubt offend everyone because, well, let’s face it, in one way or another, we’re all at least one of these types – I know I am – but still, I think it’s about time the world had a handy guide to dealing with these 14 types of people you meet on Twitter. You’re welcome, world. You’re welcome.
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14 The Rise of the Machines
Typical Tweet: Get bigger at www.bonerpalooza.com. I’m waiting!!!! xoxoxoxo
You haven’t truly experienced Twitter until you get swarmed by predatory bots of all shapes and sizes. You’ve got your pornbots, your drugbots, your Viagrabots and basically bots for anything that can be bought or sold, legally or illegally. They are the equivalent of the market place huckster, selling counterfeit goods and stealing your wallet and credit card info while you’re busy haggling or, in the Twitter world, staring at an avatar with giant plastic boobs. Just do your best to ignore them and eventually they’ll go away once the Twitter-police show up and start wrecking shop. But whatever you do, DON’T CLICK THE LINKS. I shouldn’t have to tell you that but, well, I understand how boobs can confuse a man.
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13 Team Followback
Typical Tweet: Blah blah blah, Team Followback, blah blah blah #teamfollowback
The only thing this dude cares about is accumulating as many followers as possible. He never tweets anything interesting and just spends all day following other people whose tweets he’ll never read in the hopes that they’ll follow him back. This dude is an existential nightmare. Does he truly exist if no one ever reads his tweets and he never reads anyone else’s or do his 28,000 zombie followers all share one common brain, like the Borg or Tea Partiers? Don’t ask yourself these questions or else you’ll end up banging your head against your keyboard or searching for a bottle of Drano to chug. Either ignore him and he’ll turn his attentions elsewhere or follow him back, feed his delusions and then try to ignore him while he tweets the same inane drivel 300 times in one day. In this scenario, there are no winners, only a deep well of sadness.
Photo credit: Justin Matthew, Flickr
12 The Shill
Typical Tweet: Read my article! Buy my book! Read my book! Buy my article! (Sometimes this is followed or preceded by some shoddy Amazon.com review from the dude’s roommate or mom or cat or whoever.)
Look, sometimes you’ve gotta play the shill. I understand this as well as anyone and there are times when you’ll find me saying “Hey, read this thing I wrote.” I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the people who don’t tweet anything but this crap. Every single tweet is just a variation on the same theme: click this link and make me money. Don’t discount everyone who’s asking for a helping hand but if their timeline is nothing but cheap shills and reweets of other people doing their shilling for them, then it might be time to click the unfollow button. (Note to my followers: No! Come back!)
Photo credit: S.wplunkett, Flickr
11 The Celebrity
Typical Tweet: [something that isn’t funny but which gets reweeted 1,000 times anyway] OR Hey everyone, whenever I eat turkey, I make sure it’s a Butterball turkey, available at supermarkets everywhere! Okay, I did it now where’s my $10,000?
Celebrities LOVE Twitter, and they love it for two reasons: first, it’s an easy way for them to gratify their egos, soaking in the adoration of all their idiot fans without actually having to, ugh, interact with those plebeians in real life, and they can use it to make some easy money. Seriously, companies actually pay those Kardashian succubi and their ilk to tweet what essentially amounts to product placement. So the next time you see Kim Kardashian tweeting a picture of her ass devouring yet another helpless victim like the Sarlacc, pay close attention because you just might see the Nike Swoosh just above the ass-crack.
Photo credit: Digitas Photos, Flickr
10 The Fake Celebrity
Typical Tweet: [something that isn’t funny but which gets retweeted 1,000 times anyway] OR [something that isn’t funny but which gets retweeted 1,000 times anyway]
Ah yes, the ol’ parody account. Sure, a few of them were clever at first but enough’s enough, you know? These days, there are parody accounts for literally everything. Yes, I know what literally means and I stand by it here. Seriously, there are parody accounts for everything from Will Ferrell to endangered howler monkeys. Hell, that chair you’re sitting in? Yeah, it has its own parody account too. I would say avoid at all costs, but, well, you can’t. They’re everywhere and for some reason they’re all convinced that they’re funny. You can put to an end to this, though, by doing one simple thing. Pretty please? For me? STOP RETWEETING THEM. Thank you.
Photo credit: John Madden image by s_bukley/Shutterstock
9 The Groupie
Typical Tweet: OMG, Famous Person, I think you’re so amazing, would you please follow me back and my sister she has two heads and no torso and is yer biggest fan after me of course lol LUV U!!! #teamidiot
This water-brained simpleton follows 1,000 people, 989 of them celebrities or “celebrities” like Snooki’s best friend’s dogsitter. The only thing they live for is that one time when a celebrity acknowledges them with a reweet or a mention, the equivalent of patting a dog on the head to get it to settle down. In real life, these are the people who wait, screaming, behind the barricades at movie premieres and morning shows and squeal with delight if they manage to find one of The Situation’s stray pubes. They are always a breath away from a restraining order and have no self-awareness at all. Sure, if you’re an asshole like me, it might be fun to troll them for a while but eventually that just gets sad, like picking on the retarded kid at recess. Just let them be and hope to God that they never procreate.
Photo credit: kweez mcG, Flickr
8 The Incredible Hulk
Typical Tweet: I hate [insert anything you can think of]
You wouldn’t like this dude or lady dude when he’s mad. And, well, here’s the thing: he’s always mad. Always. It doesn’t matter how stupid or trivial it is, this dude doesn’t like it and goddammit, he’s gonna make sure the whole world knows about it – or at least his 62 followers, 19 of which are pornbots, 22 of which are shillers and the remaining 21 are his pets and fake celebrities. Just let this dude rant and rave in the vacuum of space known as his twitter feed. Hell, it’s better than him bitching at you in real life, right?
Photo credit: lman1138, Flickr
7 The Addict
Typical Tweet: I just ate an apple OR I just drove to the supermarket OR I’m watching TV OR I just popped a boil OR…
This dude can’t do anything without tweeting about it. He live tweets his bowel movements. He can be seen pecking at his phone in the middle of sex. He will tell you about the consistency of his pubic hair. Seriously, if he can think it, see it, smell it, taste it, hear it or hump it he will let you know about it. Pity this man for he is an addict, and the worst part is he’s not even addicted to something cool, like drugs or sex or gambling but to Twitter. Even the porn addicts think this dude needs a better hobby. How sad do you have to be to be pitied by people with scabby penises? Just let him disappear into his own little Twitter fantasy world and never, ever reply, or else you will be dragged into a conversational abyss that would break Cicero.
Photo credit: Addict image by Shutterstock
6 The Play by Play Announcer
Typical Tweet: Oh man, Owens should have caught that ball. Okay, 3rd and 7…
Well, this should alienate just about everyone who follows me. No, but really, it’s fine to talk about the game while it’s going on but we don’t need your thoughts on everything. To be fair, I shouldn’t complain since I was thrown in Twitter jail for just the sort of nonsense when I tried to livetweet the NFL Draft so I understand that these things happen. (I just re-read that sentence and my God, that is one of the most embarrassing things I’ve ever written. “Twitter jail?” “Livetweet?” Welcome to the end times.) Still, acknowledging that you have a problem is the first step in recovery so come, friends, let us heal together.
Photo credit: Announcer image by Shutterstock
5 Opinions? This Dude Has a Few
Typical Tweet: I believe in blah blah blah and I am FIRMLY against diet grape soda [insert liberal or conservative talking point] #righteousfury
Opinions… so many goddamn opinions. It doesn’t matter the subject, this dude has some beliefs. The only thing he lives for is explaining why he’s right and everyone else is wrong. Of course, 99% of the bullshit he blathers on about is utterly inconsequential, but if you really need to know why Mountain Dew is evil and oppressive to women or why a Windsor Knot is a sign of the Apocalypse or why Ralph Macchio should be banned from movies and TV because he forgot to return one of Pat Morita’s phone calls then by all means, follow this dude. But if you’re a sane person who doesn’t want to be bombarded by feelings, feelings, feelings then perhaps you should set this dude on ignore. But that’s just my opinion.
Photo credit: Man pointing finger image by Shutterstock
4 The Community Organizer
Typical Tweet: Hey, everybody, some dude said something I don’t like, let’s all get him and make his life a living hell!
Sometimes people say stupid shit that they shouldn’t say. It happens. But this dude, a close cousin of the Opinionator up there, isn’t content to put that in context. No. Oh, hell no. He won’t stop until the entire world has ganged up on and brutally beaten the dude who dared to utter something that offended his delicate sensibilities. Sometimes the cause is righteous, but the way the community organizer goes about dealing with it is all wrong. In a world in which these special snowflakes are the first to decry bullying, they’re also the first to gang up on someone and bully the shit out of them if they feel like they’re in the right. You can try to talk to them reasonably but they don’t want to do that. They just want to yell and scream and Make A Difference and, hey, good for them but don’t let yourself get dragged into the inferno. Also, please don’t yell at me now, okay? Please?
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3 The Comedian
Typical Tweet: It turns out they can only hold the Olympics every four years because it literally lasts four years.
A little confession: that sample tweet comes from my timeline. That’s right, I’m as guilty as anyone of making lame jokes that nobody cares about. But some dudes go way past the point of occasional groaners to just outright obnoxious buffoonery. Every single tweet in their feed is a bad one-liner, like they’re auditioning to be the next Henny Youngman. It’s awful and it has to stop. Seriously, the one thing that Twitter has revealed is that literally everyone on Earth thinks that they’re funny. And again, I know what literally means and I mean it here. Hell, the Dalai Lama is probably on Twitter right now making Justin “Beaver” puns and comparing him to a lesbian and then refreshing his page waiting to see if anyone retweeted him. It’s an epidemic. Here’s a hint: if nobody tells you you’re funny, you’re not funny and you should stop. If people do tell you you’re funny? You should stop anyway, or at least dial it back a bit. No one’s gonna see your feed and invite you to appear on Leno so just chill out, okay?
Photo credit: Mime image by Shutterstock
2 The Illiterate
Typical Tweet: R yew guyz gonna be, out, or hooooody mach ya herd?
Don’t even try to decipher that gibberish because it can’t be done. Half of Twitter is just dudes writing shit like that and other people trying to break the code behind the madness like characters in a Dan Brown novel. It’s not that they’re stupid – okay fine, they usually are – it’s that they’re usually just really, really lazy. Of course, Twitter and its 140 character limit doesn’t exactly help. I mean, at times that limit has forced us all to butcher the English language. Hell, I have written tweets and after reading them felt like a goddamn Juggalo. So, here’s the deal when it comes to Twitter illiteracy: you need to give people a wide berth. If you can understand what it is that they’re trying to say, give them a pass. But if their feed is nothing but gibberish and clicks and whistles it may be time to order them a copy of Hooked on Phonics: Preschool Edition.
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1 The Bieber Army
Typical Tweet: SQUEEEEEEEEAL OMG JUUUUUSSSSSSTTTTTTIN I LOOOOVE U OMG #teamjustin #teambieber #teaminsane
The Bieber Army is legion and they will find you and then… then you will die. Just accept it and try to enjoy the time you have left.
Photo credit: Justin Bieber image by Jaguar PS/Shutterstock
(Previously published on August 20, 2012.)