Keep Twitter Weird

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Published on February 12, 2019, at 9:25 a.m.
by Emma Bannen.

Organizations use social media platforms, like Twitter, to engage with their audiences every day. In feeds saturated with sponsored posts and advertisements, how do brands stand out to their consumers?

While some opt to stick to traditional practices, many brands are taking advantage of the increasingly conversational, humorous tone of younger Twitter users. As consumers’ attention spans shorten, brands attempt to grab their focus with unexpected and even bizarre tweets.

Netflix is a prime example of weird Twitter. The streaming service (whose bio currently reads “JAKE GYLLENHAAL SCREAMING”) often uses popular social media trends and memes as inspiration for its unusual tweets.

Netflix is an internet entertainment service

One of the many accounts associated with Netflix, @NetflixIsAJoke,  tweeted during the Super Bowl, “I don’t think this half sparked joy for anyone.” With this tweet, Netflix expertly capitalized on Twitter’s fascination with things “sparking joy” while simultaneously plugging its own show, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” from which the phrase originated.

As Andrew Cunningham told Business Insider, “Brands definitely ‘borrow’ successful tactics whenever possible.” These days, that means “borrowing” memes and Twitter jokes.

So why does weird work? Well, there are a few possible answers.

First, weird tweets are simply what it takes to catch people’s attention. Social media content, especially for Twitter, is compact and is scanned through quickly. If a tweet does not catch a user’s eye within the first few words, they will scroll past without a second thought. The tweets that make people stop are the ones that shock them.

Weird tweets are also relatable. It seems as if many successful brands’ Twitter accounts could be run by a 20-something college student posting their funny thoughts, rather than by a communications team who carefully crafts content for social media weeks in advance. Surely, no one would believe that a tweet that reads, “an egg is just a single-use stress ball,” was planned ahead of time. Yet, this tweet by Denny’s Diner received more than 5,000 likes and more than 1,000 retweets.

Weird tweets have stepped into the spotlight and show no signs of going anywhere, though we may never be able to pinpoint why. In a world of Twitter trends and memes, you can bet things will only get weirder.

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