Our Twitter account, @Chicago_Reader, has around 42,700 followers, who use it to learn about egregious mayoral overreaching, among other things. A 22-year-old Missouri transplant who tells me she doesn't get out much has 11,000 people following her account, @aRealLiveGhost. They learn about the best ways to miss a loved one or how to reimagine awkward social interactions through cute and wise animals. If there were more people like Kimmy Walters, maybe we'd have fewer TIF problems and more GIF problems—and that's a good problem to have. —Asher Klein
A lot of my tweets are from when I'm half asleep or drunk or something. In real life, if you say things like, "A long time ago a dog stood up on two legs and got sad and that's where humans came from," people kind of dismiss it, or they're like, "Uh, let's not talk about this." There's not really a point in any conversation to insert that thought, but on Twitter you can just say these little tiny things that don't have to have any context or introduction. They can just stand alone.
People have a lot of different names for the Twitter community I belong to. They used to call it Twet Crew. Now it's Weird Twitter. I don't really like any of the names because it's not like we're a definable group of people. It's just people on Twitter saying what they want. I actually met @dry_hugs in New York, and we seem really different. @rare_basement uses Twitter in a really different way than, like, @famouscrab. And @dril does not use Twitter in the same way at all. At least one person thought I was @UtilityLimb. I've been called the "more accessible" @utilitylimb because I reply to people.
When I first started getting a lot of followers, I felt scared. Within a couple of weeks I had 300 followers, and I was like, whoa, who are all these people and why are they listening to me? Then they kept coming so I kind of just don't think about it anymore. If I think about it, it gets weird. I'll picture them all standing outside at once. Whenever I hit a milestone, I google how much that looks like, what that amount of people looks like.
Some people come right into it and they know exactly how to use this specific type of humor to get attention. There's definitely not a wrong way to use Twitter—unless you're being an abusive ass, which people are. The cliche of it is, "Oh, I don't want to talk about what I had for lunch," because that's what people think Twitter is. You can use it for that. You can say whatever you want and then people can subscribe to you if they want to. They aren't obligated to, so why not use it however you want?
Twitter is superpoetic, to me. I don't know how you could say that some people's tweets are not poetry. @UtilityLimb's feed is poetry—you can't really argue with me about that! It's apocalyptic poetry; it's so cool. @UtilityLimb (RIP—he doesn't tweet anymore), @dril, and accounts like that, they inhabit this world where there's just death and cops everywhere.
If I like what they're saying enough, I'll put them in a list. If you put 'em in a small list and they're having a lot of @ replies with other people, you can only see the @ replies to other people in the list. You've just gotta filter out noise.
When you meet somebody online, there's a whole different set of things that you know about them right away. People can be a lot more open online initially. And when you go to their page you can read it, as opposed to having to get into a conversation with them in real life. I've had an easier time getting to know people online, also because I get really nervous in real life. I'm blushing right now because I'm nervous.
@TPHD—he pronounces it "tape head" sometimes—his name is Theron, and yeah, we met on Twitter. He followed me in March and I followed him the next day. I dunno, right away we just really liked each other. A week after we started following each other, I saw a poem that he wrote and the poem happened to have a ghost in it. I DMed him, "I really like your poem, it's really cool. Do you want to see my poem?" And he did and then he asked me if I wanted to write something with him. I said, "Yeah, that would be so cool." He had a girlfriend the whole time, actually. We were talking about that and then I left the country for six weeks. I had limited computer access during that time, but I missed him, which was weird. I talked to him, like sent him Facebook messages, even though I only had ten minutes on the computer. When I got back, I went to New York to do the Cool Date [poetry reading] thing. I was nervous about performing because I had never done it before. He was like, "Don't worry, you'll be great." He had broken up with his girlfriend and we were texting nonstop. We've always really liked each other, but then we were like, hey, we're really in love. We Skyped for the first time when I got back to Chicago, and right after he hung up, we texted each other like, "Holy cow, what? I had a crush on you before, but I'm crazy. I feel crazy."
A couple days later I was like, "Well, you need to come visit me." So he bought a plane ticket and stayed with me for a week. He got here and the next day we were like, well, let's date. 'Cause duh. We did a poetry reading and it was cool. We hung out and met people that he knew from the Internet.
At first it was weird because I saw him at the airport and I had only seen him in Skype and in pictures. When I ran up to him—he actually tweeted this—the first thing he said was, "You have hands!" It felt real all of a sudden. I mean, it felt body-real.