Those Who Do Not Follow Back on Twitter… and why I follow them yet


The ALL-CAPS GENDER QUEER ANARCHISTS vs. the all-lower-case #illhueminati


The Army of Twitter-Daylight vs. The Dreadful Denizens of Twitter-Night


I have, once again, slammed hard into my Twitter follow limit.  My usual policy is to sign into Twitonomy and look through the list of people I am following who don’t follow me back.  It is kind like trimming dead branches to promote plant growth (if plants work that way; I am a really crappy gardener).

So I signed in to Twitonomy and started to cull.

And then I stopped -  to write this article on the types of Tweeters on my no-follow-back list.  It is a tribute, a parody, and an experiment in social-media anthropology, all at once.
Some of the people on my no-follow-back list are famous; I do not expect to be followed back by famous people.  Umberto Eco.  Lady Gaga (who I adore; I am only a fan of a few of her songs, but I love and admire her for being a freak show; she is like if Madonna and Marilyn Manson had a baby, and that is friggin’ beautiful).  The Pope.  Kenneth Hite.  If one of these people followed me back, I would die of a combination of joy and vanity, but I don’t expect that to happen, ever.
But famous people are not the only ones who do not follow Melanie back.  There are Others.  I will now tell you about two broad categories of no-follow-back Others that I have noticed and that I am willing, nay, eager, to have a one-way relationship with.






I may not have captured exactly the madness of this type of Twitter user in the above sample bio and Tweet (my own work, as I don’t want to steal and I don’t know how to attribute, or how that works when it is a Twitter account and not a published work that one is referencing; future drafts of this article may have real examples).  I am not sure I am capable of reproducing the particular strain of madness that these people exhibit.  It is glorious, and the exact tone eludes me utterly.

They combine references to technology of various types with crude sexual remarks.

They swear like sailors.

They are kind of like if David Cronenberg’s early films could tweet.

Kind of.

I suspect I am, at 32, too old to understand them.
They are fascinating.  They are also completely mad.  They tend to write semi-nonsense in all caps.
They have odd avatars, which look as if they were made on MSPaint by a drunk toddler; said avatars generally involve lots of acid green.  Sometimes the avatars are crudely animated.  They are almost always brightly colored.
They seem to be gamers; what games they play I am less clear on.  One of them once mentioned a Rogue-Like game, but that might have been a lie.
They do not allow things like grammar to interfere with the pure flow of language that they drag kicking and screaming from some sort of collective unconscious.

Fans of White Wolf games will understand, perhaps, when I say that to me they seem Abyssal.  And that is cool.  I do not wish to un-follow any of them; I like they way they almost make sense, in a world that sometimes seems to make, by turns, no sense at all and entirely too much sense.

I do not wish for these people to follow me back, for I do not wish to draw the eye of whatever primal horror may be lurking behind them.

They are the army of dreadful Twitter daylight; they talk too loud; they are profligate and wasteful with their words, which they throw at the problem of meaning until something sticks …and then they Tweet the whole mess.

I am, on the whole, happy that they exist.



2) the #illhueminati

Average Twitter Bio:  the winds blow cold through the bones of me  Location:  goodbye.


i know i nothing i am not i know nothing.

your nails turn to razors and rend me into joyful ribbons wear them in your glorious hair



You shall know them by their plain avatars; a single color.  Sometimes an upside-down crown adorns this flat field.

I was really creeped out by the upside-down crown thing, because it seemed to be everywhere on Twitter all of a sudden and I didn’t know why.  Then I did some research, and found to my relief that the widespread conspiracy I had started to suspect existed on Twitter… was exactly that.

The #illhueminati are plaintive; they add a despairing, primal, death-wish-y note to any Twitter feed, and the only problem with following them is that they always seem on the verge of committing suicide.  One is never sure when one should take action, or exactly what action one should take.  But, in a Twitter feed that can seem to consist entirely of badly-written ads for self-published  novels, the #illhueminati are a necessary corrective.  They are like sad violin music weaving in and out of one’s perception within the noise of a cheerful crowd.

The #illhueminati are like an Ingmar Bergman film; full of startling beauty that yet seems to be somehow soaked in the waters of Death, to have gotten Death’s salt into the blood.

At 32, I get them.  They are the violent, clawing sadness that lurks in the dark places.

They are sparse with words, seeming to consider the necessity of each, removing all words that are inessential.  You know, like poets.

They are the lonely, dreadful denizens of Twitter-night.

I am, on the whole, happy that they exist.