Weird Twitter

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"Milkshake Duck," an example of a meme created by Weird Twitter

Weird Twitter is a loosely-connected group of accounts on Twitter that create abstract and absurdist humor, originally started as a form of performance art by Something Awful writer Jon Hendren. Using a combination of awkward, short-form humor it quickly gained popularity, especially amongst the identity politics crowd, who felt it was an interesting way to make jokes only their associates would get and flash their bonafides in a way that outsiders wouldn't understand. Many of the regressive left's most well-known memes, such as "Milkshake Duck" and "Transform into a corn cob" have their origin point here. Because of its close affiliation with people of interest on Twitter, a surprising number of individuals covered by this wiki and the Kiwi Farms can be found referencing it, trying to create works based off of it, or simply signal boost it, necessitating its coverage here.

In many ways, it can be described as a Twitter-based dada-esque version of 4chan's /b/, with a substantially more self-congratulatory userbase. Interestingly, while memes created in other communities (such as said aforementioned /b/) tend to have broad-reaching appeal, often stretching far beyond their original communities and many going so far as to be global sensations in and of themselves, Weird Twitter's memes are almost entirely insular and are often designed in such a way to only have any appeal to those who subscribe to it - meaning that the network as a whole is, essentially, a group of hipsters flashing obtuse memes at one another in an effort to show off how cool they are to one another. This vision was shared by Jim Prosser (Twitter's Spokesperson), who described the sub-network as being representative of “the eternal battle people have over hipsterdom.”

Analysis

Weird Twitter is a Labyrinth of Idiocy.

On August 11th, 2012, Twitter user Sebastian Benthall began a social experiment of sorts to prove the existence of Weird Twitter from an outsider's perspective, and went about posting the results of his findings on his blog, Digifesto.[1] The results were fascinating, as not only was Benthall successful at attracting attention from Weird Twitter, but did so in a way that showed its more cliquish and political bend, as well as the outright hostility its proponents had towards exposure.[2]

Whilst Benthall was trying to rile up the community with his blog postings, he did not expect the sheer level of backlash presented by its community, who proceeded to barrage him with hate messages. Benthall was quick to chronicle his experiences here as well.[3] Several Weird Twitter proponents argued that the group going mainstream would "ruin" it.[4]

Weird Twitter was later covered by the Wall Street Journal over its attempts at brandjacking on Twitter, and later, by Know Your Meme.[5] Given Weird Twitter's subscriberbase and their resentment for those outside their subculture on Twitter, the response, unsurprisingly, was one of outright contempt for these outlets allowing the filthy plebs to see the inner workings of the clubhouse.

References

  1. Digifesto - Weird Twitter Field Notes
  2. Digifesto - Weird Twitter Art Experiment Notes
  3. Digifesto - Weird Twitter: The Symbolic Construction of Community through Iterative Reification
  4. Storify: A Cautionary Tale
  5. Know Your Meme: Weird Twitter