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
I’ve been having fun RTing more of the people who censor the word #GamerGate
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
@NRA U guys should just come right out & state; Many of these “mass shootings” r hoaxes, aim being 2 disarm populace. Sandy Hook,Orlando etc
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
i suggest my followers view this user’s profile. please do not diminish, bully or degrade this person. https://t.co/zEkxTGAL2h
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
@jonathanchait Your turn against Marx is one of the most shocking turns of your career.
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
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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.
Note: Tim Herrera Twitter is the worst part of Twitter.
25) Health Twitter
The watery stuff on yogurt? It’s WHEY, which is rich in protein, calcium & vit D. So for max health benefits, mix it in DON’T dump it. #IFYL
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.
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.
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.
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
So much love on this earth everything is for a reason – Lil B
— SLAVE OF ALLAH 🕋🕋 (@blasphmemer) August 27, 2016
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.
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?
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
LeBron James is returning to Cleveland. Lesson: Stick with what works, like Cottonelle TP and Flushable Wipes
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.
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
I am and will always be just simply a basball player,my tomb stone will just say. Baseball.
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
Shoot for the stars, if you miss you’ll travel endlessly through the cold void of space never touching any object, all alone for eternity
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.
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
@virgiltexas Is that it? That’s the important message for which you got me to unblock you? Blocked again, timewaster.
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!
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
my mom: “never, ever text while driving!”
my mom: *texts me 5 times while I’m driving and gets mad when I don’t respond”
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
Took the blender to my room because I didn’t want everyone to know my dumb ass was making a smoothie at 3am
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.
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
“im not owned! im not owned!!”, i continue to insist as i slowly shrink and transform into a corn cob
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.
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.
Miles Klee is a novelist and web culture reporter. The former editor of the Daily Dot’s Unclick section, Klee’s essays, satire, and fiction have appeared in Lapham’s Quarterly, Vanity Fair, 3:AM, Salon, the Awl, the New York Observer, the Millions, and the Village Voice. He's the author of two odd books of fiction, 'Ivyland' and 'True False.'