Why Twitter friends are better than real life friends

Ballons in a pool for Twitter friends

Twitter friends are a wonder of social media, especially if you’re an introverted writer looking for community. Here’s why they’re so great.

Twitter friends are small, two-dimensional creatures that often take the appearance of models, bearded knights, cats, household items, or occasionally book covers. They live in an application on your phone or a tab in your computer browser, and provide inspiration, encouragement, commiseration, congratulations, or random silliness as appropriate.

You can never be sure what form Twitter friends take in the physical world or what their physical-world names are, but none of this matters.

Names are only labels for people, and handles work just as well for that purpose. (Mine’s @AkkalonAS, in case you didn’t know.)

As for physical form, as long as the physical form can type, it’s wholly irrelevant.

In fact, Twitter friends are unquestionably superior to real-life friends for many reasons.

Reason 1: Twitter friends never turn up on your doorstep uninvited

Being confined to your computer or phone, Twitter friends never turn up at your door when you’d rather have a quiet evening with a cup of tea and work on that gnarly climax scene.

They never even turn up in the wrong app or browser tab.

Reason 2: Twitter friends are quiet

They’re never a noisy distraction on those evenings when the words are flowing. Once you turn off notifications, they’re as silent as fog-monsters (and leave much less dew).

On the other hand, they are often a quiet distraction, but that’s all on you. Have some self-discipline and don’t look.

Reason 3: Twitter friends don’t eat the last of the chocolate or drink the last of the wine

Although some Twitter friends spend a lot of time talking about chocolate, cookies, coffee, tea, or wine, they are far too polite to go into your fridge or pantry and eat said items.

But after conversations with them you may do this yourself.

Reason 4: Twitter friends don’t get upset when you’d rather read a book than go out to a bar, or to lunch, or to a party

Real life friends need a certain number of monthly hours of maintenance. This often requires you to go out in public such as to a bar or restaurant. It nearly always requires you to get out of your pajamas.

Twitter friends, on the other hand, are happy for you to spend all day at home in your owl pajamas and dragon-foot slippers.

This has the added bonus of making your cat happy. (Or in my case, sad, because we fight for the same chair. He usually wins.)

Reason 5: Twitter friends are always up if you want to talk in the middle of the night

The number of Twitter friends you can reasonably maintain is much higher than the maximum feasible number of real life friends.

This means that with minimal planning and only cursory attention to time zones you can have a friend awake every minute of the day.

Awake at 3am? Someone else will be too, and they’ll just be getting home from the gym. (Way to make you feel lazy.)

Fireworks

Reason 6: Twitter friends understand the swings between self-confidence and crippling self-doubt inherent in writing

You may not have any real life friends who write. (Though ask around. More than four out of five people are writing a book or would like to.)

If you don’t write, this is unlikely to be a problem, but if you do it can make you feel as if you’re the only person in the world on this sickening roller coaster of self-esteem.

But as soon as you make a few Twitter friends who are writers you’ll realise that the doubts you feel are part of the universal writer experience.

Guess what. Everyone goes through phases when they think everything they write is tripe. If you don’t know this, you need more Twitter friends.

Reason 7: Twitter friends produce an endless supply of cat comics and videos

And everyone needs more of these.

Reason 8: Twitter friends can be turned off at any time with no explanation required and no one gets offended

Friends are great, but sometimes you need to get away from them.

With real life friends this can be awkward. You might be stuck in a shady part of town in the middle of the night, or in a terrifyingly groomed house full of cultured people who are far too polite for their own good.

Extrication in such circumstances is a fine art, and damage control to maintain future relationships might be required.

With Twitter friends no such problems exist. If all the socialising gets too much much, you can close the browser tab with no explanation and no one will think worse of you.

Sure, if you’re in the middle of an intimate conversation you might want to say goodbye before vanishing, but everyone on Twitter understands the call of real life responsibilities and the reality of dodgey internet connections.

Reason 9: Twitter friends provide an endless supply of support

I haven’t figured out why, but Twitter friends are the best for support.

Having a hard writing day, lost your hat in a breeze, or got strangled by your antagonist–someone out there will have kind words to make you feel better.

And probably a few awesome gifs.

Reason 10: Twitter friends are funny, silly, random, uplifting, and some of them are actually dragons

There are so many wonderful people on Twitter and also a smattering of wildlife. If you’re not there already, I highly recommend you go and meet some of them.

Are you pro or anti Twitter? What do you think are the best things about Twitter friends?

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Author: A.S. Akkalon

By day, A.S. Akkalon works in an office where the computers outnumber the suits of armour more than two-to-one. By night, she puts dreams of medieval castles, swords, and dragons onto paper.

22 thoughts on “Why Twitter friends are better than real life friends”

  1. Needing someone to talk to at 3 AM sounds familiar…

    But seriously, while I think it’s incredibly important to have real life friends (which is something I’ve had trouble finding in this strange land called “Cleveland”) you’re absolutely right on all these points. Having friends in timezones from around the world, especially, means you always have at least one friend awake all the time. Which can be invaluable.

  2. I used to be a Twitter scoffer. Then I finally joined with the intent to start that mysterious thing called “networking.” In less than a week I found more amazing writer friends than I’ve ever had before. I have since come to Twitter multiple times to find support and encouragement, which, as you’ve written here, is always in great supply and swiftly given. Twitter friends are awesome!!

  3. Yes to all this. I’m an introvert. Written media is easier for me. In real life, I rehearse what I’ll say in my head a hundred times and it will still come out wrong, or I’ll mumble and blush.

    The writer community is great on Twitter and has been a huge encouragement in my writing.

  4. Twitter friends like you have helped me SO MUCH – I really have no idea how I managed in the hazy pre-Twitter years (like, um, early last year, I guess?). And not just in writing, but, as you say, in having random, entertaining conversations of the sort that rarely seem to happen in real life (and I do have wonderful real-life friends that I love, but still). The SO keeps telling me that I shouldn’t rely on twitter for all my social interaction. I keep telling him to get twitter. He may re-think. 😉

    1. I know! How on earth did we manage pre-Twitter?

      It might not be great that getting social interaction online means I no longer feel the need for it in real life… but I still talk to people sometimes, honest. 😉

  5. A big fat yes to all of this! I love my Twitter friends. I never thought social media could be so much fun, or that I would meet so many fellow writers going through the same struggles as me. Writing is hard work and I run into snags all the time, but the sympathy, support and the creative insanity of the Twitter folk helps me stay sane. 😀 I have wonderful RL friends too, but Twitter friends are there 24-7. There’s always someone tweeting something funny or encouraging. It’s an endless resource.

  6. I admit I was skeptical of twitter but have grown more fond of it. I think it is immensely superior to facebook because you can more easily find your community without having to sift through so much noise. There is something about real friends, however, that just cant be beat. I am quite sure, though, that if I were ever able to able to meet some of twitter friends they would have the potential to become real friends with so much in common!

    1. I’ve never managed to get into Facebook, I have to say, though, FB groups seem like they could be useful.

      Like you, I’m sure I could be very good real life friends with some of my Twitter friends (assuming their idea of fun was sitting quietly and writing). 🙂

  7. I love Twitter 🙂 In a small town like mine, in the middle of nowhere (All right, not the middle, but stuck at the edge of the east coast of nowhere) there are few real life writers. I know one who takes it semi-seriously, and one who says he wants to write, but never does! Twitter on the other hand has plenty of writer friends to talk to, and many of them are as dragon obsessed as I am!:)

  8. As a social media Luddite, I was dragged into Twitter writhing and moaning. Now that I’ve been there for a year or so, I am pleasantly surprised, for all the reasons you list. Except for when I accidentally run into a tweet, or as I call them, twit from the present occupant of the White House, who I certainly do not follow, but whose spume can be difficult to entirely avoid. I hope that is not true for those living in currently saner nations. On that note, since you live 18 hours in the future, I find your posts highly reassuring. Have a lovely tomorrow.

    1. I’m glad you’ve come around on the Twitter front. 🙂

      Today is great so far. You’re really going to like it.

      I’ve blocked tweets with certain politics-related words from my feed, so I manage to avoid nearly all of that madness (thank goodness!).

  9. This is so true on so many levels. 99% of my writing friends are only an app click away, and I couldn’t be happier about it!

    Also, communicating via celebrities and cats is just so much more ideal than having to gesture and react in real life. And best of all, all my Twitter friends are magically right beside you whether you’re at work, at home, just getting out of the shower, sitting next to you as you drink your first cuppa of the day, or taking a five to stretch out your stiff wrists. I mean, can friendships get any better?!

    1. My writing friends are exactly the same! (Except a lot are asleep during the middle of my day due to time zone differences.) They’re like magical friends who you carry around in your pocket. 🙂

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