It took me a long time to see any value in Twitter, but I ultimately came around to it about a year ago. As I got more and more invested in the social network I started to really appreciate the different ways in which it is used, and to admire it as an extremely fraught system of self-expression.
A friend recently pointed me in the direction of this blog post, How Many Women Do You Follow on Twitter?. Briefly, it suggests that most people feel they’re following more women on Twitter than they actually are – similar to the phenomenon that a room which contains 17% women will often be perceived as being populated by half men and half women. As it turns out, while I would have guessed my own percentage to be a little higher, at the time I checked 56% of the people I follow on Twitter are women.
I’m frequently encouraging my quippy friends to start tweeting, and if any of them ever listened to me, these are some of the women I’d suggest they follow.
Margaret Atwood is, to be honest, the reason I started using Twitter. It is impossible for me to conceal the love I have for not only her writing but for the woman herself. She tweets about her books, writes in the voice I know to be deadpan and hilarious, and shares articles about the issues she so actively champions, all while managing to tweet back at her fans. Margaret clearly loves Twitter and I love that she loves it.
As the most recent issue of .dpi was coming together I started to become familiar with Jennifer Chan – and found I liked her Twitter presence just as much as I liked her work. She manages to strike a balance between sharing interesting content, composing incisive commentary, and producing some really great self-deprecating tweets (in the interest of full disclosure, this is my favourite genre of tweet, which would become clear upon even the briefest of glances at my own twitter feed).
Another contributor to the latest issue of .dpi, I came to know Durbin’s work first through reading her essay ‘The Teen Girl Tumblr Aesthetic’ I immediately felt a kinship for Durbin and a deep respect for her work and the way that she sees the world. Her Twitter does not disappoint, and she regularly composes tweets I can’t help but retweet, walking the fine line between poetry and plain old 140-character-or-less statements.
Warsan Shire’s twitter is a beautiful, heartwarming thing – just hopeful enough. I can’t remember how I came across it and am largely unfamiliar with her work but love to have her small interjections into my day. Her Twitter functions partially as a catalogue of lines she’s found in the work of others, and partly a place where she pens some lovely and absurd phrases. Twitters like Shire’s are the reason I started to think more broadly about Twitter, to consider it’s applications as an extension of an artistic practice or writing career.
Marie is Executive Director of Weird Canada and the first time I ever saw her she was eating a banana in the front row of a loud punk show in a crowded, sweaty shed in Sackville, New Brunswick. I think I later complimented her on this, but I doubt she remembers. When I discovered her Twitter I was unsurprised to find it funny, thoughtful, and relatable. Her insight into the current climate of Canadian music is fascinating even for someone who only observes from afar. I find her earnestness really valuable.
I still feel like I’m figuring Twitter out, but so far I’ve found it to be both a hilarious and enriching part of my day. I hope this [very] beginner’s guide to some great Twitter personalities might help out the Twitter-shy who are thinking about taking the plunge. It can take a while to filter through all of Twitter’s possibilities but there are some real gems to be found.
Do you have any favourite Twitters or tweets? Feel free to share them in the comments, along with your own handles and experiences with Twitter.
[As it turns out, Carrie Fisher does have Twitter, though I would not entirely recommend following it]