Five Twitter accounts winning at words

The Twitter character limit, like a strict poetic form, may be maddening for some, but it’s been the mother of invention for others. Balance the bad news, bile and babble in your newsfeed with five accounts which put the play into wordplay.

1. @happybirthtime

Thank you to @gojonstonego for introducing me to this one. The main Happy Birthtime Magazine takes the form of a joyously deranged tumblr. Celebrating celebrity ‘birthtimes’, it illustrates them with close-but-no-cigar pictures, wobbly ‘facts’ and bags of enthusiasm (not to mention the ongoing fable of St Christime and his wife Waverley, and Rodney the Christmas Crocodile).

Happy Birthtime’s Twitter presence is one glorious necklace of riffs on this theme. Like a pantoum or haiku, though, there’s a strict formula to follow for optimal Birthtime wishing:


It’s a perfectly compact volley of jokes, from the photo to the age to the name to the totally wrong exclamation at the end. Happy Birthtime, one and all!

2. @a_single_bear

Something a little quieter now, with a journey into the forest. A Bear shares the musings of, well, a bear, as they wander through their world. Existential, innocent and poetic, it manages to avoid the twee precipice, and takes your senses for a refreshing walk outdoors. 

Many posts end in the refrain: “I am a bear.”. Perhaps, in a confusing world, this is the one thing a bear can be sure of.


3. @ghost_things@fuckeveryword

I’ve put these two together as they’re both bots (or at least, very botlike) doing the same thing with different results. Indeed, there are many bots doing similar things, but these two stood out for me.

@ghost_things takes random nouns and simply adds ‘ghost’ to the front.


While @fuckeveryword​ does what it says on the tin, running through the dictionary cursing every damned word in there.


Both accounts benefit from dipping in, or spotting the occasional one, rather than reading down the feed. @ghost_things has a dreamlike quality to it, and indeed might be useful for story ideas, as you imagine meeting a ghost waitress or what you might use as ghost bait.

@fuckeveryword​ is, by contrast, refreshingly blunt. Retweeting from here feels by turns mischievous, cathartic and wilfully childish, whether it be the motivational “fuck doubt” or the stubbed-toe rage of “fuck doorstops”.

4. @MobyDickatSea

Aaaand after the lowbrow comes the culture. Purely and simply, @MobyDickatSea takes a novel many people will never find time or energy to wade through and shares choice morsels of its rich, poetic landscape. Out of context, the fragments take on a life of their own, and as someone who loves the novel, it’s helped me to enjoy Melville’s use of language all over again. Especially the humour.


5. @shitpoetsgoogle

Finally, draw inspiration from others’ desperation. At some point, every writer has to sully their browser history for the sake of art. A slightly more interactive feed than the others in this list, @shitpoetsgoogle (now officially Shit Writers Google) invites authors of every stripe to share their strangest queries, and lets us imagine a) how many candlelit whiskies had fuelled them and b) what on earth they were writing.


What’s your favourite use or abuse of Twitter? Comment here or tweet me @KoftheTriffids.

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