12 Authors Who Are Actually Making Twitter Good

In a stream of dire news and drama, a few writers and editors stand out

If you enjoy reading Electric Literature, join our mailing list! We’ll send you the best of EL each week, and you’ll be the first to know about upcoming submissions periods and virtual events.

Remember when Twitter was good? Now you wake up in the morning and see that Toad from Mario Kart is trending and click to find out why and it ruins your day. Everyone’s feed is mostly politics horror, racism horror, climate change horror, yelling at people for not being horrified enough by all the horror, petty trash talk, and drama. It’s gotten to where the petty trash talk is actually the good stuff. So, in our best attempt at a Marie Kondo, we’re taking a look at our social media homes and asking: “Does this account spark joy?” Or conversation? Or community? Or creativity? The world is rough, so we should be good to each other, and sometimes that means using Twitter to tell stories, boost other writers up, or make us laugh at ourselves.

Here are twelve of our favorite authors who not only know how to write long form with style, but can also command 140 characters in ways that inspire. Use this list to bring some signal to the howling void of noise. Or heck, unfollow everyone else and rebuild from here.

Tucker Shaw, @tucker_shaw

If you read one thing on the internet today, it should be editor Tucker Shaw’s reflection on a conversation overheard on the subway, and the AIDS epidemic “in the long run.” The whole thread. Do it now.

Rebecca Makkai, @rebeccamakkai

Makkai, author of the beautiful book on the AIDS epidemic, The Great Believers, also has one of the freshest twitter threads. Go to her for author-comrade boosts and lists like these:

Tayari Jones, @tayari

If you read one thing on the internet today and it’s Tucker Shaw’s thread, read two things, because you need this whole thread, too. Read to remember, in the words of Audre Lorde: “When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.

Her thread inspired the creation of a GoFund Me campaign to put ads in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times in support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

Jones’s thread also inspired one New York Times archivist to unlock the archive so we can zoom in on all the names in the full page ad, which include Audre Lorde and Farah Jasmine Griffith.

Emilia Phillips, @gracefulemilia

Phillips is a poet who has tweeted a beautiful thread about “fallow periods” in writing, and her own experience with the dreaded season. Read when “productivity” feels like an insensitive comment on your depression.

Samantha Irby, @wordscience

Go to Irby for important retweets, an education in how to use caps lock the right way, and the best methods for promoting your own work. (We’re sticking with Twitter for this list but Irby is also the Queen of Instagram.)

Sloane Crosley, @askanyone

When you need to laugh at that time you did the dumb thing. Or find fellow self-loathers. It’s okay, you’re still a smart person.

Ilana Masad, @ilanaslightly

Masad is real about mental health, open about rejections, and makes funnies, too. Go to Masad when you need to remember it’s all part of the process.

Brandon Taylor, @brandonlgtaylor

Our very own editor! For when you need to be reminded to live your truth.

Jami Attenberg, @jamiattenberg

And for when you need a pep talk/real talk on process, you can count on Jami Attenberg.

Nicole Chung, @nicole_soojung

Go to Chung for insights on the best reading recommendations and also to remind yourself that kids really do know everything.

Emma Eisenberg, @frumpenberg

For when you need a queer joy detective and also ice cream and also writerly love for a city that isn’t New York.

More Like This

The Coolest Literary Tattoos on the Internet

We asked our readers to send us their book inspired tattoos and they delivered

Sep 24 - McKayla Coyle

We All Live on Slack Now

Calvin Kasulke's work from home novel "Several People Are Typing" questions whether our colleagues are just disembodied avatars on the internet

Sep 8 - McKayla Coyle

Finding Self-Worth by Stalking Your Instagram Crush IRL

Beth Morgan, author of "A Touch of Jen," on how social media changes the way we see ourselves

Sep 7 - Richa Kaul Padte
Thank You!