Twitter trends we’re hoping to see more of in 2019
We got writer Philip Ellis to stop scrolling Twitter just long enough for him to list the things he’d like to see happening on the platform this year.
More unstoppable memes
We’re still seeing distracted boyfriends, Infinity War-inspired dissolves, and people “just living in the moment, not a cellphone in sight”. One of the most consistently delightful things about Twitter is seeing users latch onto a seemingly random moment in culture and then turn it into something entirely different and unique to the platform using their own blend of creativity, niche references, and oddball sensibilities.
An early strong contender for Twitter meme of 2019 is the slew of content inspired by Bird Box, the Netflix horror thriller that dropped just before Christmas — but there’s plenty of time for something else to come along and topple poor blindfolded Sandra Bullock out of that boat.
Less clapbacks, more conversations
Neville Southall was that rare, special thing in 2018: a man on Twitter who wanted to listen and learn. His open, earnest and decidedly un-cynical approach to topics he was unfamiliar with was a real tonic, and models the kind of behaviour that many of us could stand to emulate. It can be incredibly tempting to respond to criticism or disagreement with a flippant joke or glib remark, which tends to shut down any dialogue — but there are instances where actually talking things out can be genuinely helpful.
Of course, that isn’t to say all opinions need to be heard and debated; racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic harassment or abuse should always be reported (and Twitter can always do more to make its users feel safe).
Brands finding their own authentic voice
As you’ve probably heard by now, consumers love “authenticity.” Unfortunately, many brands and social media managers have taken that to mean they have to be #relatable and people will lap up and any all casual colloquialisms that cross their feed, when actually Twitter users are far savvier than that. Is there anything more cringe-worthy than a corporation trying to be all “hello, fellow kids”?
Here’s a prime example: Fast food chain Denny’s, which has been praised for its Twitter game in the past, faced criticism and derision in 2018 for its appropriation of African-American vernacular (which itself is shaped by drag and ball culture) in a post which stated: “We snapped when we made our Pumpkin Spice pancake breakfast, and that’s the tea.”
Not only were the brand using a voice that was not their own, but there didn’t even seem to be enough of an understanding of what this slang actually means for the post to be sufficiently funny. (Also, why lift language from Black Twitter when Pumpkin Spice is the whitest flavour in the world?) Here’s hoping that other brands learn from this and focus on creating content that reflects who they really are, rather than who they think they should sound like.