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Culture

What Your Twitter Persona Says About You

From "views my own" to reply guys.

by Lauren O'Neill
25 September 2019, 8:00am

Image by Emily Bowler

There’s a reason people lock their Twitter accounts when they’re looking for jobs. Twitter tells you basically everything you need to know about a person in a matter of minutes – who they are, what they’re about, what they think about Boris Johnson. But like all social media, Twitter is a performance and everyone is playing a role, albeit perhaps a closer to life one than on Instagram.

If you have ever wondered what someone scrolling through your Twitter might think of you (I think about this constantly and fail to see how it doesn’t keep all 21 million UK users up at night), I have prepared this nifty guide. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that everyone’s “Following” selection and area of the site is different – you’ve got Fiat 500 Twitter, Dark Fruits Twitter, Left Twitter, Cherry Emoji Twitter, Black Twitter, Scottish Twitter, and, shudder, FBPE Twitter, to name only a few – so this is to be taken as a very general overview. But as someone who has spent a long time breathing in the toxic air of Twitter dot com, this does seem to be the lay of the horrible, quicksand-like land.

YOUR HANDLE IS JUST THE NAME OF A POPSTAR AND THEN A WORD LIKE ‘SLUT,’ ‘WHORE’ OR ‘BABY’

In other words, you are a member of what is known as Stan Twitter and your entire online existence is dedicated to posting about how your fave (Rihanna/Beyoncé/Gaga/Ariana, delete as appropriate) “stays winning” and how Katy Perry has “flopped and that’s tea.” If you’re on the more extreme side of things, your remit sometimes also extends to replying to journalists who have written negative things about the artist you stan and calling them “talentless shit”. Elsewhere, your interests may include curating an Instagram page featuring images of Timothée Chalamet that commands a following of 100K. Also you are 14.

“VIEWS MY OWN”

This is a very Bake Off thing to have in your bio, I have to say. Chances are, you work in an office for a company that people have somewhat heard of, enjoy watching rugby, and in recent years your personality has just morphed into one singular descriptor: “Remain.”

“VIEWS MY OWN, OBVS”

This is the self-aware version of the above and the difference is that you were probably asked to put this in your bio by your boss at your PR job after you tweeted something spicy about Ed Sheeran.

FOOTBALL TEAM IN BIO

Live the lads, love the lads. You spend 50 percent of your monthly income on trainers and the other 50 percent on pints, and despite statements to the contrary, you definitely watch Love Island (but that is between you and God, because if any of your friends found out you would be roasted in the group chat for the rest of your life, and referred to as “Island Shagger” or something.) You love your mum to the point that you once punched a cousin who was being disrespectful towards her, your favourite food is Nando’s (a Wing Roulette please, barkeep) and, crucially, you regularly tweet “didn’t happen” in response to young women’s stories about, like, their dads getting song lyrics wrong on karaoke or other innocuous, entirely-within-the-realm-of-possibility things.

This is annoying and to some degree misogynistic behaviour, but because it is completely un-targeted and you go wherever the wind of @_DHOTYA blows you, it is generally harmless.

REPLY GUYS: A MEDITATION

However this does lead us into a brief musing on Reply Guys, or “those men whose whole timeline is just them reply to women's tweets with a frequency somewhere between Incessantly and Now and Again, just saying things that are either incredibly obvious, or actively repeating their points back at them.” I have this theory that fundamentally, more than anyone, Reply Guys are what keep the Twitter ecosystem going, because they seem to still believe that it is a place to connect with others (i.e. make a woman who never replies to you your wife) and not just like, something that only old people look at, which most teenagers outside of fandoms would spit on while making a TikTok.

Reply Guys, however, still believe in the revolutionary potential of Twitter (i.e. their ability to find a wife on it) and are marked out from your garden variety combative male tweet responder – an occupational hazard for most women on Twitter – by their agreeable nature. “Really enjoyed The Souvenir, thought Honor Swinton-Byrne was amazing in it” a woman might tweet. “Such a good film,” the Reply Guy will say, minutes later. “Honor Swinton-Byrne was great,” he will continue, effectively parroting her sentiment back at her.

There’s nothing wrong with this in isolation, obviously, because Twitter is a public forum and people’s comments can certainly be read as an invitation to engage, but when you’ve been responding to her every opinion about Brexit for about three months without response, it might be time to accept that even though you are just a guy, replying to a woman’s tweet about her thoughts on the prorogation of Parliament, hoping that it will be the start of your marriage, she’s probably just not that into you.

YOU REGULARLY TWEET ALONG TO TV SHOWS USING THE OFFICIAL HASHTAG

Every person has their idea of transcendent bliss and you are no different. While for some, this might be looking at an amazing sunset (boring) or the sense of achievement I imagine one feels having climbed a mountain (smug), for you this is getting a takeaway, eating it while reclined on your parents’ sofa, mainlining a Sky+ box set of Keeping Up With the Kardashians and tweeting passive aggressively about your boyfriend. God bless you.

“STEVE/SHARON, 54, LOVE MY KIDS”

You spend your entire life on the phone to the council to the point where everyone on the switchboard knows who you are and hates you.

"HERE ARE ALL THE WAYS IN WHICH I AM A MESS LOL"

If you are a person who tweets sort of ironically about their everyday abjections (“Got kicked out of Tesco for knocking over a display of glass jam jars and then taking a photo of it smashed all over the floor so I could tweet it with the caption ‘same x’,” and so on) from personal experience, I can tell you that the internet has rotted your brain so much that you actually quietly enjoy things like bad dates and skull-crushing hangovers purely for the brand opportunities, by which I mean the 200 RTs, 5.4k favs, and sense of shame – because you’re nothing if not consistent!

GYM SELFIE BROS WHO POST PICS OF THEIR GAINS WITH INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES

You should be on Instagram man come on.

THOSE GIRLS WHO TWEET REALLY HOT SELFIES WITH A CAPTION LIKE “TELL ME SOMETHING I DON’T KNOW……..X”

Conversely, I feel like these women are the greatest enigmas of our time and probably also smell amazing.

THE PEOPLE WHO QUOTE THE ABOVE POSTS WITH AN ACTUAL FACT LIKE, “YOU CAN HEAR A WHALE’S HEARTBEAT FROM TWO MILES AWAY” RATHER THAN JUST GIVING THE HOT LADY HER ONE LIKE AND MOVING ON

Used to ask the teacher for homework.

MAGA PEOPLE AND SIMILAR

Your timeline is just you calling women from various liberal media organisations “fat.”

AMERICAN LEFT-WING ONLINE GUYS

Your identity has been mostly formed by Chapo Trap House and having to attract women by being funny. Though I largely agree with your political points, you just tweet so much about animé and I find it confusing :(

ANYONE IN PUBLISHING

You say “ravishing” to describe everything (“My Pret Cheese and Pickle? Ravishing babe”) and have built an entire personality – nay, life – around the fact that your first crush was Heathcliff (this is actually the fact that you say about yourself in icebreakers.) Your Twitter is all books or pictures of wholesome trips away, but your secret is that you get three Deliveroos a week and watch Celebs Go Dating instead of reading the new Margaret Atwood, which you have already posted on the TL, describing it as, yes, "ravishing."

@[INSERT NAME HERE]JOURNO

You are from and of hell.

IN FACT, ANY SORT OF JOURNALIST OR JOURNALISM-ADJACENT PERSON ON TWITTER, INCLUDING ME

You are from and of hell.

@hiyalauren

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