best twitters, ranked

Illustration by Max Fleishman

Not all Twitter is created equal.

Here at the Daily Dot—and around the web, really—it's common to refer to "Twitter" as a unified whole. Twitter is freaking out over something. Twitter is roasting someone. Twitter is confused, overjoyed, outraged. 

But this ignores and even obscures the simple fact that Twitter has long been fractured into myriad cliques and cabals. There are almost as many kinds of Twitter as there are Twitter users, and truth be told, some are much, much better than others. Since the internet's primary utility is as a listicle tool, why not use it to power-rank (most of) them once and for all?

So here goes.

31) Gamergate/MRA/Nice Guy Twitter

In a world of myopic self-involvement, there is no deeper, darker, more hateful hole than the one in which militant gamer dudes, men's rights activists, and alleged "nice guys" wallow, enumerating the many ways in which they are persecuted. If they were half as harassed and abused as they think they are, they might not send so many vile death threats themselves.

30) Gun Twitter

Jesus Christ.

29) Tech Twitter

With Twitter being a West-Coast social media platform, you're obviously going to get some Silicon Valley goons saying stuff. It's... not good. An important branch of this subgenre, of course, is Twitter Twitter, where Twitter's own employees say not-good things. It's Twitter all the way down.

28) Troll Twitter

If you've ever dealt with someone who a) tweets about 14 times a minute, seemingly without breaks, and b) just wants to "play devil's advocate" or have a "reasoned debate," you've encountered Troll Twitter. In harassment mode, they are not unlike the Gamergate crew, but since they lack any real agenda, they're not quite as irritating. Try to pretend they're not there.

27) Politics Twitter

Imagine if all the most annoying kids from your high school newspaper grew up to be—wait for it—paid for their opinions by dying publications

26) Media Twitter

Media Twitter, insofar as it provides glib takes on other kinds of Twitter, is mostly parasitic. Occasionally, someone comes up with a funny riff or observation that's quickly beaten into the ground while a few above-it-all members bemoan the sheer number of dorks making the same exact joke. Between the corniness and the crankiness, somehow the inclination toward meta tweets is its worst aspect. Neuroticism as social media brand.

25) Health Twitter

From juicing to running to diet to CrossFit, there's virtually no way to make anyone care about your fitness unless you take great butt selfies at the gym.

24) Eulogy Twitter

Mourning is a complicated, painful process that is greatly worsened by everyone having a shitty opinion on the right way to do it. Add to that the sheer number of people who manage to make someone's death all about them and you've got a uniquely toxic stew of recriminations. 

23) Religious Twitter

God, stop yelling!

22) Egg Twitter

In a weird way, you gotta respect anyone proactive enough to create a Twitter account for the purpose of yelling at strangers, yet too lazy to upload an actual avatar. Eggs are like if Twitter was a 1995-era AOL chatroom or something. They may be racist, misinformed neophytes, but in their profound lack of self-awareness, they provide unlimited comedy.  

21) Breaking News Twitter

Twitter is invaluable for staying on top of breaking news stories, especially if you like your information wildly, dangerously, and deliberately inaccurate. Until a reporter or media organization confirms it, you should take any tweet about an unfolding disaster with a boulder-sized grain of salt.  

20) TV Twitter

Ever log on and see that literally every tweet is about some HBO prestige show you stopped watching like four seasons ago? And even though you have no idea what's happening onscreen, you're pained by how hard everyone is trying to land their Mystery Science Theater 3000-style witticisms and pretend they're all hanging out watching together instead of in bed alone with their laptop and a box of Cheez-Its?   

19) Optimist Twitter

The only person who can really pull this off is Lil B. Everyone else in this camp sounds like John Tesh. (Yes, closely affiliated with Health Twitter.)

18) Depressed Twitter

Only slightly less annoying than the optimists are people who use Twitter to talk about how sad they are. Spoiler: It's everyone.

17) Thirst Twitter

Historical precedent holds that humankind will instantly figure out how to use any technological development to attain sexual release. And while the Twitter equivalent of the dive bar pickup scene can be embarrassing or inappropriate in the extreme—save the real filth for your DMs, please—there's no denying the pleasure of a solid flirt (or outrageously horny reply to a verified account). Everybody wants some, and here's the evidence.      

16) Music Twitter

It turns out that Music Takes™ are much easier to digest in 140-character nuggets than bloated issues of Rolling Stone. Sure, 40 percent of Music Twitter these last four years was moaning about Frank Ocean, but where else can we get together and shriek about Carly's Emotion Side B?

15) Parenthood Twitter

Whether its corny dad jokes or a mom who doesn't realize she's been subtweeting her kid for years, we can all agree that parents on Twitter are good, clean fun. The best parts of procreation, none of the mess or expense.

14) FavStar Twitter

According to Felix Biederman, this is where "lustful men craft elaborate, character limit-stretching jokes with blocking such as, '*I am on Venus for this Tweet*' or '*On a first date with my stepmother*' These are typically followed by delightful wordplay, something about dogs skateboarding, or a cop smoking weed." Also the best place to discuss plagiarism in comedy.   

13) Brand/Promoted Twitter

You might think I'm crazy to rank Twitter's advertising wavelength this highly, and it's true that brands are often boring or tone-deaf when trying to create relatable #content. But the opportunity to directly engage with these companies (as when furries harass Frosted Flakes' Tony the Tiger, who is not as receptive as Cheetos' Chester Cheetah) and witness amazing fuck-ups (remember when Virgin Airlines told Kanye West to eat a dick?) mean that we'll never tire of idiotic attempts to market on social media. 

12) Weather Twitter

There are few things nicer than realizing that the weather is terrible somewhere you aren't, and while people may not attempt this kind of small talk on Facebook, you can bet anyone caught in a downpour—or spending summer in Brooklyn without an air conditioner—is gonna tweet about it. Also, you get to see images from all those floods and fires and storms that make you think: "Oh, right, the planet is dying. Awesome."

11) Sports Twitter

Sports Twitter is an unpredictable shitshow that seems to light up whenever we most need a distraction. On the one hand, there's no shortage of borderline illiterate pro athletes with strange, unpopular opinions—on the other, there's a glut of apoplectic, entitled fans with equally bad ideas. Caught in between are a few smart commentators trying to convey any nuance whatsoever, as well as TV viewers reacting in real time by way of keyboard mashes and caps-lock vowel streams. If you're not watching the same game, you have no idea what's going on. And that's kind of awesome.

10) Literary/Publishing Twitter

You might think that the bookish side of Twitter is mostly smug references, group therapy, and crying about being poor/unknown/awkward at parties, and you know something? You'd be right. But the online literati are also juuuust self-deprecating enough to be endearing, and just bitter enough to never stop joking about Jonathan Franzen wanting to marry a bird. Plus, almost nobody does controversy and subtweets better than petty writers. They do have a knack for stringing words together, after all. Probably their greatest flaw is a codependent alignment with Media Twitter.   

9) Bot Twitter 

Tweeting is arguably too important to be left to humans, which is why it's so nice that we have so many bots—especially the chill ones—tweeting on our behalf. In the utopian future, only bots will tweet, and we will at long last know true peace. Then we'll probably ruin it and nuke each other.    

8) Science Twitter

A good 95 percent of Twitter is anti-intellectual enough to be considered whatever the opposite of education is, so it's a relief to see smart, interesting content from organizations like NASA and National Geographic. And when a quasi-luminary like Richard Dawkins or Neil deGrasse Tyson tries to ruin it for the rest of us, well, you can be assured they'll get a proper, precision-engineered roasting. Excelsior!    

7) Meme Twitter

So dumb it's essentially perfect. An ideal use of the platform.

6) Social Justice Twitter

No one endures more hateful abuse on Twitter than the women and men, people of color, LGBT icons, and assorted activists who have made it their life's work to campaign for equality across all strata of society. Still, they emerge on higher ground and teach us about the true power of digital grassroots movements. It's humbling and marvelous to see them succeed.

5) Teen Twitter

Teens! What do they want? Are they going to take it from us? And how soon will millennials start saying they never deserved it in the first place? All these questions and more go unanswered in the untamed, emoji-saturated wilderness of online puberty, but that's OK because teens make up for it by inventing all the good slang we use and never realizing the consequences of their actions. We hope they never, ever grow up.  

4) Night Twitter

While this genre blurs into Thirst Twitter somewhat, we must acknowledge that people do lots of odd shit besides work themselves up into a horny lather in the wee hours of the night. It's no surprise, then, that the timeline is always popping around then—usually with bizarro tweets that won't live to see the light of day. People here are drunk, insomniac, working late, or just live on the opposite side of the planet, where it's already morning. It's your chance to be unfiltered and philosophical and, above all, decompress from the relentless horrorshow that is Day Twitter. Breathe easy, friends. 

3) Celebrity Twitter

As many have noted, social media's greatest impact may well be in the newfound ability of the masses to tell literally any famous person to lick our buttholes. The line separating us from Kim and Kanye will always be there, but on Twitter, it fades quite a bit. Even better than our sudden access to such idols, though, is what the celebs themselves choose to do with Twitter. They're as stupid and petty as the gods of Greek mythology, and it's all right there at our fingertips—every little squabble and subtweet, every fuck-up and half-assed apology. Add ample doses of money, influence, and flaming ego, and you're reading nothing less than the history of culture itself.   

2) Weird Twitter

Twitter was forever changed when anti-social comedians realized they could use it to do jokes. It was changed again when those same hilarious shut-ins realized jokes are better when they make little sense. In the years since, these heroes have made us laugh till we cried till we puked. Nothing else quite captures the whiplash absurdity of this hyperconnected era.

1) Black Twitter

It should be said that Twitter consolidates and amplifies many demographics apart from African-Americans—and that Black Twitter itself is not a monolithic entity. Even so, the degree to which Black Twitter sets the tone, language, and agenda for Twitter's funniest, most fascinating, and ultimately best interactions is unmatched anywhere, by anyone. As with so many popular art forms before it, Twitter's triumphs rest on the illimitable and frequently marginalized creative contributions of black geniuses. Though almost any individual, of any race, would struggle to consistently strike a balance between the irreverent and trenchant, the ridiculous and the sublime, Black Twitter as a collective consciousness never seems to falter in this regard. It is always wise, just, kind, and cruel in all the right ratios. But most importantly, it has the ring of truth, and on the internet, that's surely the highest bar ever cleared. We must not take it for granted.     

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