2018 was a very long year—especially for those who are Extremely Online and looking at Twitter all day. A short recap of the events that occurred on the social site: Everyone freaked out about Luigi’s bulge in a Mario Tennis Aces screenshot, Elon Musk and Grimes started dating and turned into a pop culture meme, people joked about eating Tide Pods, and President Donald Trump tweeted more times than we want to count. Oh yeah, and there was the infamous Beto Sex Tweet.
Some people chose to discontinue using a service that has bred a toxic environment. For good reason, this was the year of the “Why I quit Twitter” essay. But for those of us still hanging on and reflexively opening Twitter every hour (or more), some relief from the constant outpouring of bad news and bad takes was much needed. Luckily, there are still a few corners of Twitter that are good.
From a parody of a fast food brand account to Star Trek memorabilia, here are the Twitter accounts that got Daily Dot staff and freelancers through 2018.
John Darnielle’s Mountain Goats project has repeatedly brought me the catharsis of screaming “I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me” along with several hundred complete strangers, which, truly, is a gift enough in 2018. (The band also slayed the ever-loving heck out of Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down”—again, completely valid mantra for this year.) But Darnielle is also personally active on Twitter, where he tweets reading recommendations, rush-hour lip-syncing videos, lyric rewrites, and about memes and pop culture. Interspersed throughout, he shares photos of his sons and workshops at the piano (sometimes both!), but my favorites of his tweets are his unfiltered responses to the political news of the day. He’s uncompromising in his views—an unabashed liberal whose hatred of the prison-industrial complex is exceeded only by his support for women’s right to choose—and blunt in his assessments. His is a refreshing and relatable voice, making the news a little easier to digest, even when it’s exhausting and consistently awful. Even better: When he got something wrong in an early retweet after a school shooting, he corrected himself publicly, winning over my inner fact-checker. In short, Darnielle’s always proven to be gifted with words, between his excellent novels and *chef kiss* lyrics, but it turns out he can write a hit in 140 characters just as well.
—Monica Riese, Director of Production
I have always been obsessed with baseball stadiums. I don’t really know why, but even as a kid I would scribble down ideas of what I thought would be the best ballpark. So for me, someone who has always loved baseball stadiums, @MLBcathedrals is soothing as a constant source of designs of past stadiums and renderings of future ballparks. This summer, the account’s owner even teamed up with some people to create their own renderings of what they would have made the Oakland A’s new ballpark look like, which was entertaining as hell to see unfold. Twitter could be chaotic at times over the past year, but @MLBcathedrals gave me comfort when it popped up on my feed.
—Andrew Wyrich, Staff Writer
Gritty is an asshole, and I unironically love him for it. As it turns out, he’s pretty great at Twitter, too. Gritty, a wonderfully strange orange monstrosity whom Philly rallied around when everyone else hated on him, is already becoming one of the city’s most memorable mascots (an especially impressive feat considering the equally wacky Phillie Phanatic has been around for decades, and 2018 already gave us Jason Kelce in a Mummer’s costume). In his first two weeks on the job, he endeared himself to us online and IRL by threatening the Pittsburgh Penguins, falling on the ice, and coming in like a wrecking ball—and the rest was history.
Who is Gritty, and by extension, the persona that the people running @GrittyNHL put out? He’s a bonafide meme with lasting power, he was embraced as Antifa, and he’s already a mainstay on protest posters. He’ll put children in the penalty box (when he isn’t breaking it, that is) and crash your wedding. He’ll even marvel at the wonder of snow. And no matter what, people love him. Gritty is far from the only NHL mascot to have a Twitter account, but he’s the best at it.
—Michelle Jaworski, Staff Writer
Twitter is mostly a cesspool, so I stick to the one pure thing about the internet: Dogs.
Matt Nelson of We Rate Dogs fame—and at times, notoriety—started a second dog-centric account in March of 2017 called Thoughts of Dog (@dog_feelings). Thoughts of Dog tweets the heckin’ good perspectives we hoomans like to imagine all Good Boys and Girls have. On second thought, just give up on Twitter altogether and join the Dogspotting Facebook group, where people all over the world share dogs they spot, or follow the countless canines on Instagram for a daily dose of doggos. My personal faves: @charlietheminimutt, @thedogist, and @zilkerbark.
—Molly Stier, Social Media Editor
Most of my favorite Twitter content is memes and shitposts retweeted by friends, but you can’t go wrong with a niche interest account. As you can probably tell from the name, @trekdocs is all about Star Trek. It posts vintage material from behind the scenes of the show, ranging from obscure photos to weird studio notes on beloved characters. For instance, you’ll find 1980s fan commentary that reminds us that fandom has always criticized everything, bizarre vintage memorabilia like these Klingon condoms, and relics like the original Next Generation pitch document that was so bad it brought Gene Roddenberry back to the franchise.
—Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, Staff Writer
Arby’s Sunday funday facts:— Nihilist Arby's (@nihilist_arbys) October 21, 2018
-there’s no god
-church is a waste of time
-so is anything else you’re planning on doing today
-soon you’ll be dead
-so will everyone you’ve ever met
-soon after that, no one will ever speak your name again or even remember you ever existed
If I could make a living writing strictly about fast food and their social media beefs, I wouldn’t have to think twice. Give me the McDonald’s vs. Burger King Twitter feuds. Give me Wendy’s social media snark. Give me the snobbery of the Five Guys vs. In-N-Out vs. Shake Shack best-burger-brouhaha.
Chances are, though, that nobody is going to pay me enough lettuce to survive on a fast food beat writer salary, even if it would bring us all the levity we crave. As journalists, we have to cover the depressing day-to-day life of our existence.
Luckily, we have @NihilistArbys. In a world where Trump runs free and where Social Democrats are going to destroy our country, Nihilist Arby’s soothes our soul. It desperately waits for the end of times, where we’ll be put out of our misery—bloated from the Arby’s we’ve-got-the-meats philosophy. Here’s a small, yet delicious taste.
Almost every tweet is capped off with the simple “Enjoy Arby’s” or “Eat Arby’s,” a cheerful way to end one of the gloomiest Twitter feeds in existence. Nihilist Arby’s hates fast food. It hates you. And clearly, it hates itself. But in the worst of times, when all hope is lost, it makes me feel just a little bit better about the burning world all around us.
—Josh Katzowitz, Entertainment Writer
I’m still paying close attention to just about everything @dasharez0ne posts. I know it’s not a new Twitter account, and this really seems like some sort of “default” answer, but the things Admin cranks out on a daily basis never cease to put a smile on my face. From the hilarious da share z0ne “The Devil’s Level” card game to the new Patreon scribblings “Diary of a Genious,” I’m fully committed to letting my skeleton flag fly as a proud Admin fan. I’m not sure what it is: the seemingly never-ending parade of skeleton artwork, the purposefully misspelled positive affirmations, or the weird life advice peppered with awkward maxims, but I eat up absolutely anything this account puts out with gusto. I want more. I demand a book, a movie, a TV series —an animated show with Admin? The possibilities are endless. Never stop posting, da share z0ne. My livelihood depends on it.
—Brittany Vincent, Contributing Writer
Being online in 2018 is being constantly bombarded by various actors screaming for you to pay attention to them. But no one was more able to capture my attention with absurd, outlandish, and flat-out nonsensical tweets than Twitchy.
Sure, the Twitter aggregator is hyper, hyper-conservative, and 75 percent of its output are Donald Trump Jr. wrecks, demolishes, owns-the-haters-type stories about the president’s son quote-tweeting a CNN news story and saying “more Fake News.” But the passion put into it is just … marvelous. Every tweet the team sends out is a GD gem.
This is art. A million humans at a million typewriters couldn’t do better.
'Special place in hell': Donald Trump Jr. GOES OFF on Peter Fonda for tweets about Barron and ICE agents' kids https://t.co/g4Qrxm9VEe— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) June 20, 2018
Even the non-Trump Jr. takes are gold.
HINT: Her last name sounds like a SANDWICH! The Hill's piece bragging about a 'conservative' shredding Trump is all FAIL https://t.co/TtIDWRSeOe— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) August 17, 2018
No one online is working harder to turn non-stories into sweet, sweet clicks. It’s reverse Upworthy, and I can’t stop paying attention to it.
Here’s to 2019, Twitchy. I hope you Slam Dunk the haters ALL THE WAY BACK to FAIL-city this year.
—David Covucci, Politics Editor
Truly, 2018 belongs to Nicole Cliffe’s Twitter account.
Cliffe, the former proprietor of the dearly-departed the Toast, lives on through her generous, bonkers, and extremely wise Twitter presence. I nearly lost my mind when she took a break from the platform earlier this year.
Cliffe gives parenting advice professionally on Slate, but she also curates Reddit posts of people who really, really need some. For example, the guy who got his company permanently banned from a hotel for drunkenly sexually harassing another guest (and then decided the best course of action would be to lie about it), or the one who complained about not being able to use the breastfeeding room at his work to wash his hands.
Cliffe is like a benevolent god, delighting in human follies but still showing compassion and loving-kindness to us all (or most of us, at least). I also love her enthusiastic deep dives into history, whether it’s the British school system (not effective!) or Canadian serial killers.
I am always flooded with relief when I remember that Nicole Cliffe is still out there thinking weird things, and that I have access to many of them through the miraculous cesspool that is Twitter.
—Ellen Ioanes, Contributing Editor
The pro-Kareem Hunt argument that there are other bad people in the world really makes you think.— C.D. Carter (@CDCarter13) December 1, 2018
If you’re an NFL fan with half a conscience, sticking to sports and avoiding culture or politics isn’t an option. Especially when it comes to fantasy football, a seizure-causing game where you create fake rosters full of real football players and gain points based on their on-field performance. Because we Google fringe receivers on the Packers five times a week, a humanist bond with these flash in the pan stars is forged. Few are better at expanding upon that weird bond, and fusing it with left-wing trolling, than C.D. Carter.
Since at least 2012, Fantasy Twitter has been a weird community of DIY analytics nerds and funny stoners who subvert the sport’s agnostic and amoral values. Carter, who has written for the New York Times as well as this site and authored the conservative-baiting gag book 69 Ways To Own the Libs, tweets about Colin Kaepernick and The Communist Manifesto while dispensing fantasy football advice so good that red-meat football fans who loathe his politics can’t look away. Seriously, I pay his Patreon page $5 a month just to get his recommendations for kickers, a position long thought irrelevant in fantasy football but made essential with Carter’s pioneering research.
But also, his Twitter is funny, and its sage advice guided me through a long 2018 where four of my nine fantasy teams made the playoffs. (The other five were either middling or terrible, but built on Carter-approved good #process.)
—Ramon Ramirez, News Director
Out-of-context accounts made Twitter bearable this year. They’re incredibly simple: All they do is tweet screengrabs (usually with captions) of notable scenes from a TV show or film. Seeing moments from a fictional story I love pop up on my feed is comforting, especially when that feed is often filled with people arguing about the latest person to be Milkshake Duck‘d or a new product that millennials have killed off. My favorite out-of-context Twitter account is @andsomesausages. If you can’t immediately identify the reference in the handle, that means one of two things: You either haven’t watched Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2017 film Phantom Thread, or you forgot the line from the breakfast scene. Either way, you can remedy the situation and watch it right now. Then you can become a Thread Head and enjoy this account.
—Tiffany Kelly, Internet Culture Editor