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My 10 best tweets of 2022
Smart threads and dumb memes.
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Today is a quick rundown of 10 good tweets I posted in 2022. Next week, I’ll drop links for the coolest things I learned in the past year.
I appreciate all you readers.
And Happy New Year!
PS. As many of you may know, I’ve been working on an AI-powered reading and writing research app (Bearly AI). One of the biggest user requests has been for mobile access. Good news: you can get it in your mobile browser now (and if you haven’t tried the app, def check it out).
Tweeting in 2022
I’ve been tweeting consistently for about 2 years now.
And by “tweeting consistently”, I mean “I spend an absurd amount of time on Twitter and regularly drain my dopamine to probably unhealthy levels”.
Example: I was gonna take this week off from the newsletter but kept thinking of ridiculous things I tweeted in 2022 and decided to write about them. Better management of my Twitter time is on the top my New Year’s Resolution list.
Having said that, Twitter is a huge net positive for me. I’ve learnt a ton, laughed my ass off and met so many interesting people — including many of you readers. In the past, I was semi-hooked on other digital dopamine drips (eg. very unprofitable day trading, GTA, Facebook, fantasy basketball). Compared to Twitter, none of these diversion provided the same level of laughs or learnings. So, definitely definitely a net positive.
I know a lot of users have a love-hate relationship with Twitter, but the experience really comes down to curating your feed and choosing where to engage.
I avoid politics and if I see that an exchange is headed to a fruitless time-suck argument, I just move on. I’m happy to swap ideas but Twitter replies can turn personal quickly.
And the worst part of a Twitter spat isn’t even what the other person says…it’s all the brain bandwidth you waste waiting for their reply to your reply — it could take hours — so you can reply with some comeback that sounds really good in your head (eg. George Constanza and the jerk store). And then you restart the cycle.
For dumb internet arguments, I’ve semi-adopted the glorious Keanu Reeves quote:
“I'm at that stage in life where I stay out of discussions. Even if you say 1+1=5, you're right…have fun”.
Oh, I also block and mute liberally.
Separately, I get asked a lot about my Twitter “strategy”. There isn’t like a master plan but my pithy reply is “Smart Threads, Dumb Memes”. It’s a content barbell strategy of delivering longer-form insights (“smart threads”) and quick-hit jokes (“dumb memes”).
Based on that strategy, here are 10 notable tweets from 2022:
Twitter recently rolled out a new metric for engagement — publicly showing total impressions — but my muscle-memory is still on likes as the go-to metric (the ballpark ratio is 100:1 for impression to likes). After being confused by the new Twitter stats for a few days, my brain is fully back to tracking likes. Here’s a rough heuristic:
1k+ = good
10k+ = certified banger
100k+ = LET’S EFFIN’ GO…WE DOING NUMBERS!
I understand how superficial that sounds (don’t hate the player, hate the game). But I need some metric to pull this list together.
So, here are 4 tweets that cracked the six-figure club in 2022.
1. Christopher Nolan’s best non-CGI stunts: While Twitter isn’t a video-native platform, it works really well for a thread of short clips because of how viral a single tweet can go. Twitter is basically one giant comment section, so a bunch of clipped videos gives more surface area for users to comment (eg. people just quote re-tweet their favorite Nolan scene from the thread).
2. The biggest product failures ever: The same principle of “give people a bunch of single tweets to reply and quote re-tweet” applies for this next thread about famous product failures. The product list is from Sweden’s “Museum of Failure” and isn’t actually meant to dunk on the inventions. Rather, the thread is in the spirit of “you have to fail to succeed”. I think a lot of the virality here came from the nostalgia of seeing these long-forgotten products. The first one is an absolute classic: ESPN Phone (Steve Jobs did dunk on it).
3. A very very funny reply: Twitter connects and puts everyone — regular internet folk, celebs, athletes governments, corporations, politicians, entrepreneurs, academic etc. — into one giant real-time chat…for better and for worse. The flattened and casual nature of chatting on the platform leads to interactions you literally can’t find anywhere else.
A common way to go viral on Twitter is to screenshot a perfect reply. Below is one of my faves: a government utility (NE Ohio Regional Sewer District) crafting a perfect reply to a corporate F&B account (Taco Bell).
4. Meme templates: The key to pumping out memes is staying on top of the news cycle and having the right template at the ready. Here’s how you learn the templates:
Go to Imgflip and look through all the memes and see how people use them
Learn which photos/videos convey which emotion (eg. the famous “guy holding one girl’s hand while looking at another girl” is the template for anything that speaks to people changing their minds or chasing a shiny new object)
I was sitting on one Spider-Man video meme for at least a year, waiting for the right time to use it. When Twitter re-instated Trump’s account in the same weekend that the World Cup started, it was time to drop this gem.
News cycle stuff
5. SBF x NYT: Speaking of “being on top of the news cycle”, the 2 business-related stories that received the most Twitter coverage in 2022 were definitely: 1) Elon buying Twitter (which took up like 75% of the year and has been so meta); and 2) the implosion of Sam-Bankman Fried (SBF) and his crypto exchange FTX.
The stories intersected when Crypto Twitter coverage (eg. Autism Capital) was compared to the mainstream media (eg. the New York Times). The latter was often days behind and confusingly soft on SBF, despite the fact he committed the biggest financial crime in the past decade. Below are two tweets I shared on the topic.
6. Blackberry vs. iPhone: In January, Blackberry shut off phone functionality on its legacy devices. I used the opportunity to write about how Apple took down the Canadian handset maker. The thread went viral and BBC asked me to join the NewsDay, one of the UK’s biggest radio shows (listened to by tens of millions of people).
Before doing my 5-minute segment, BBC introduced me as a “Canadian Technology Expert”. I don’t know if they meant to say I am an expert of Canadian technology. Or if I am a technology expert who happens to be Canadian. Neither description is true LOL.
More hilariously, someone challenged me to say the phrase “encrypted wall of energy” — as a nod to Michael Saylor’s catchy definition of Bitcoin — during the interview. Mission accomplished.
7. Elon’s leaked Twitter texts: In September — which feels like ages ago — Elon was still suing Twitter to get out of his acquisition deal. as part of the proceedings, a 40+ page PDF of his text messages was released. When the document dropped, I received dozens of message.
Why? Because one of the Elon text exchanges involved this meme.
On April 4th — before Twitter announced that Elon was joining its board (he declined it a few days later) — Twitter Chairman (and Salesforce co-CEO) Bret Taylor sent my joke tweet (of Elon as Wario from his SNL skit) in a three-way chat between himself, Elon and Agrawal.
Elon replied “approved” and Parag heart-emoji’d the reply shortly before sending out a tweet saying Elon was joining Twitter’s board. As always, memes are the language of the internets.
8. Tim Cook: One constant of Twitter’s “giant chat room” is the idea of context collapse: it’s when a piece of content intended for one audience ends up in front of another audience without the same background knowledge or sense of humor (as a result, arguing and hilarity often ensues).
Now, sometimes it happens by accident and sometimes it happens intentionally. I’m not saying I do it intentionally, but a memorable moment was when I crafted a (pretty clear) shitpost about how Apple has gained $2.7T of value under Tim Cook’s watch but that he has only captured a fraction of it.
The quote RTs — almost all from audiences it wasn’t intended for — are amazing:
9. One of the strangest YouTube trends: As a person that spends most of his day trying to keep up with internet trends, Know Your Meme — a meme encyclopedia with 25k+ meme entries and an active community of 2m users — is one of my favorite sites.
I’m not the only person that finds Know Your Meme useful: the site gets over 20 million visits a month while Netscape founder and venture capitalist Marc Andreesen calls it “the most important website in the world in 2022”.
This is a long way of saying that I finally got into a Know Your Meme article and it was because of this thread.
10. Linkedin: Another sure way to do numbers on Twitter is to post some cringey Linkedin post. Typically, tweets with links get crushed by Twitter’s algorithm. But when I tweeted an article titled “Why is LinkedIn So Cringe?”, the Twitter god’s let it run.
“Why is Linkedin So Cringe” was also my most read story of 2022. Here are some other popular newsletter articles:
And that’s it for 2022. Thank you all again for reading.
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