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For every big city Twitter user complaining about the subway or crowded rooftop bars, there's a small town resident offering a glimpse into a much simpler life.
Welcome to "local Twitter," or tweets from teens and young adults who use the platform to share pure and uncomplicated thoughts.
Identifying what classifies a tweet as local can be difficult, because much of local Twitter is about a feeling invoked from a statement, paired with a complete lack of self-awareness or innocence. Local Twitter has roots in the suburbs but as Taylor Lorenz for the Atlantic points out, you don't need to live in one to participate because "local Twitter has more to do with what you tweet than where you live."
Some describe the tweets as very home-townie. Most tweets are uncomplicated, void of nuance, and simple — but somehow, many rack up thousands of retweets and likes.
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— the crouton kid (@thecroutonkid) July 26, 2018
There are a few key elements that make up local Twitter: For starters, the tweets are usually shared with zero irony whatsoever. There usually isn't a lick of internet speak present in them (nOo mEMe FoRmAts hEre, folks) and generally local Twitter is full of very obvious thoughts. On local Twitter you won't find political snark. There probably won't be fights or memes created at the expense of someone else. Instead, you'll be met with the warm comfort of a basic idea and thousands who deem it deep enough to warrant a like or retweet.
Still confused? Let's break down three examples of tweets that make up local Twitter.
I’m not a party guy but I’d be down if someone threw a real roaring 20’s party for 2020. Like real tuxedos and all. Not shirtless dudes with a bow tie. Like a real Gatsby party with everyone fully dressed like the era.
— Karter Machen® (@macheemach) June 23, 2018
When this tweet in June about "a real Gatsby party" garnered over 300,000 likes and 84,000 retweets, some people were confused. HuffPost even ran an entire investigation as to why it was so popular, asking teens to share their thoughts.
Nostalgia seems to be one of the many themes that fuels local Twitter, but like most things wistful of the past, it only takes the good and totally ignores the bad. Like this nostalgic tweet that glorifies the 1950s with writing letters, milkshakes, and drive-ins, ignoring the inequality and injustice of the day. Also, you can totally still get a milkshake, go to the drive-in, and write a letter in 2018.
I don’t wanna live in a “Facebook official” world. I wanna live in a 1950’s writing letters to each other, going out to get milkshakes, then to the drive in kinda world. When thing we’re real.
— Adam. (@SinnMan806) Sun Up Sleeve Letter Floral Zip Back Printed Proof Coat Long nvYYpwA0q
New future goal in life: to be the overly enthusiastic PTA mom & the one who gets kicked out of her sons t-ball game for yelling too much
— Tristin (@tkeccles) June 17, 2016
Another aspect of local Twitter is super uncomplicated and basic revelations or goals. Only instead of keeping them to oneself, they're broadcast to the world like early Facebook statuses. Some get an exorbitant amount of attention, others don't, but at the heart, they're overly normal sentiments that veer towards heteronormative ideas about relationships and families.
Starting a family that stays a family is one of my biggest goals in life
— sexual (@SexudaiIy) Dress Selling Casual life SONOMA style q0n0OIZw
Sleeping on FaceTime with somebody is actually really peaceful. Knowing that person is on the other side honestly makes it 10x better
— Emmett 🍒 (@emunz34) July 25, 2018
One of the most entertaining things about local Twitter is the repetitive nature of certain tweets that are presented as unique by the tweeter. The phrase "is it just me?" after a very common idea or thought is a red flag that you're probably reading a local tweet. These tweets below are all from people who are longing for handwritten letters — and there are tons more just like them.
idk about u guys but i still prefer handwritten letters :( is it just me or...
— ً💜 | hiatus 📌 (@BUSANPRINCEJM) August 2, 2017
i hate how handwritten letters are such a lost art.. i love writing letters because they are honestly more genuine and you’ll always have them. idk maybe that’s just me
— madison jordan (@madisonjordan23) July 25, 2018
I love handwritten letters. I kinda wish more people did them.
— philip (@philip_galicia) July 28, 2018
Local Twitter seems to be more of a Gen Z phenomenon, and one possibility to explain its rapid growth is that Facebook has largely failed to entice the youths into sharing their unfiltered thoughts. On Twitter, as noted by the Atlantic, your chances of going viral are intensified because of the insular networks of teens that make up local Twitter, paired with the sheer number of suburban tweeters.
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— Jamie💫 (@jamie_768) July 17, 2018
i wish i met some people a little earlier, some a little later & some never at all.
— SZRP (@trvpism) July 30, 2018
While local Twitter is usually reserved for tweets without images, pictures can definitely be a part of this ecosystem of tweets. The films La La Land and 500 Days of Summer are part of the canon of films that play directly into what local Twitter is all about. Plus, peep the framed poster in the lower right-hand corner. Peak local.
— femme fatale (@eliesaaab) June 30, 2018
Once you get the hang of what a local tweet is, the fun can truly begin. Identifying viral tweets as local tweets might just be the best part about local Twitter.
For better or for worse, it doesn't look like this phenomenon is going to go away anytime soon. So enjoy it (and life! and handwritten letters! and driving at night with the windows open!) while Twitter lasts.
For many, it's better than the rest of the conversation on the platform.