Oh, dear, dear Twitter, how I love thee. Since I never have time for television anymore, movies are too expensive and regular social gatherings terrify me, Twitter has become a combination news/ entertainment/coffee shop packaged conveniently in the smartphone belted to my hip. After having been on it for almost three years and with an eye to noticing patterns that I've been told by experts that I possess, I've managed to categorize the users of Twitter into twelve distinct types. I should attempt to weasel my way out of potential controversy even further by saying that with some exceptions, none of these are absolutes. On our best and worst days we tumble into each of them, yours truly included. I offer the list instead as observation and a little bit of warning. Shake it up. Don't ever be a type - be a human instead.
1. The Shill
Apparently you have a novel or product of some sort you'd like me to express some interest in? Your following/follower count is about equal and in the high thousands, suggesting that you're a pretty popular fellow. But your interactions are minimal and your tweets are variations on a theme of asking the rest of us to click on/review/ purchase your wares, implying that you've accumulated your flock merely by following every single person who promises that they follow back. You have sacrificed what little remains of your humanity on the Great Altar of Commerce and your tweets appear with the tedious inevitability of television commercials. You have essentially turned yourself into Vince, the Slap Chop Guy. How's that working for you? (I'm guessing it's not leading to record sales figures.)
2. The Preacher
You have a keen, unique (self-applied description, of course) insight into what ails the world and you know exactly how to fix it, if only you could get more followers to listen and spread your gospel. It irks the hell out of you that you're not already president/emperor/ generalissimo of your chosen realm as the ones presently in charge are irredeemable dingbats who couldn't gather the leadership necessary to wipe themselves without peer-reviewed studies by four different executive committees. But rather than doing something about it in the real world, you'll settle for being a sanctimonious cyber-complainer to a sparse flock of like-minded folks. Note of caution, however: decisions are made by those who "show up," not "log in."
3. The Stalker
Harry Styles is your homeboy, or at least, you'd like him to be, in the tweet you sent to him 58 times today. Though your chances of marrying him are about as good as Dick Cheney's for winning Man of the Year from Greenpeace, you press on with dogged determination, forever believing deep inside that the next tweet will be the one he favorites. You should be proud in some respects, in that you're the latest in a subspecies that emerged with those people who used to hang around outside Abbey Road waiting for the Beatles to show up. But why not do something with your life instead of devoting the entirety of it to worshipping others who've done a hell of a lot more with theirs?
4. The Oversharer
Guess what I had for breakfast? None of your followers ever have to wonder since you provided eighteen different pictures of it, along with a detailed rundown on the quality of the service, the décor of the restaurant and your dining companion's complaints about her BFF. You are convinced that you are the most fascinating person to walk the planet and damn, you're gonna strut your stuff whether or not anybody asks. Your tweet count is up into the hundred K range already and you've only been on Twitter for a month. Because nary a single moment of your mind-bendingly amazing life can slip by without you having to comment on it, leading to a veritable plethora of banality flooding a platform which was already drowning in it.
5. The Smartarse
Groucho's got squat on you as you say the secret woid and weave your incisive Saharan wit through the foibles of a mediacentric universe rife with comic potential. To you, Twitter is a personal standup comedy club, and headlines, celebrity musings, even the matter-of-fact comments of your friends can't get past you without some kind of wisecrack. Those you're following dare not misspell a single word lest you jump in with a cheesy pun. And your insecurity about wanting to be as off-the-cuff funny as Patton Oswalt is beginning to show as you wear out the screen beneath your notifications tab from rushing to check out how many times your zany zinger "Duck you, Autocorrect!" has been favorited and retweeted.
6. The Curator
You aspire to become a living embodiment of The Huffington Post (spoiler: they're doing it better than you are) as your feed is naught but link after link to article after article in your chosen area of expertise (usually social media, which everyone claims to be an expert in but nobody fully understands), offered for consumption without comment, original take or remotest semblance of personality. I guess some people may find it helpful to have a single go-to for that latest BuzzFeed piece about the ten ways Miley Cyrus is annoying the world this week, but if you are choosing to act as endless advertising for other people's material, shouldn't you be getting paid for it?
7. The Misanthrope
The world is a bleak, nihilistic pit of darkness and despair, and anyone who follows you is bound to learn this lesson quickly. You have taken to Twitter solely to vent profanity-filled spleen against whatever politician or celebrity has irked your delicate sensibilities lately, resulting in your achieving a record number of blockings and abuses reported from your Proustian-length list of targets. To be fair, you do warn people in your bio that you're mad as hell and unwilling to take it anymore, but as you have never learned the lesson about attracting flies with honey, I fail to understand how this is supposed to help you in your life's work - which, if your employers discover your feed, will be quite short, or at the very best limited to asking about fries with that.
8. The Cryptographer
Get the NSA on line one, because their tech experts are going to be the only folks who can decode the mishmash of "#xyz http://wfawf.1244/fff bit.huh/asvq #selfie #teddybear t.co/whattheheckisthisanyway #gopackers" that is your pattern of tweeting. Twitter's supposed to be a quick, keep-calm-and-scroll-on platform of easily digestible snacks of information, not a migraine-inducing exercise in recreating the spinning numbers scenes in A Beautiful Mind. And we're too terrified to click on those links anyway lest we get added the mailing list of a reclusive society of 15th Century floor tile enthusiasts.
9. The Cheerleader
You are a supernova of sunshine in everything you tweet. You provide inexhaustible encouragement, your #FF list is longer than the Great Wall, and you always retweet and have great things to say about your friends' posts and comments. Whenever a follower has a bad day you're right there to perk things up with a tweetbit of timely wisdom. Stay gold, Ponyboy, don't ever change.
10. The Parrot
You, pickle, are the reason the "Turn off Retweets" button was added. Barring anything of your own to say, you spam everyone else's feed with a barrage of your friends' trite banter about how they literally can't even the latest episode of Sherlock because arghasdgawouhgs, or the latest in profound insight about the nature of creativity from that one D-list celebrity you love but nobody else can stand (see "The Stalker," above.) Or you decide that what your followers really need is a ten tweet-long stream of pics from all the weird sexual fetish accounts you enjoy. Because what you really want in life is a bunch of strangers thinking I didn't sign up for this s@#$.
11. The Guru
You've got lots of inspiration to share, either of your own creation (awesome, keep it up!) or cribbed hopelessly from the same dozen or so bastardized bromides incorrectly attributed to the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King we've already seen shared on Facebook twelve million times since 2004. The irony is I don't think you actually believe you should "always shoot for the moon because you can miss and still land among the stars." The Apollo astronauts might have had an issue with that.
12. The Grammarian
most of ur tweetz read liek this becuz yur 2 kewl fer roolz or speling, so U end up soundeng liek a maroon. But hoo cares, cuz YOLO!!!