A decade ago, if you were a bored teen looking to post about suburban life, relationship problems, Starbucks, or fleeting thoughts like, “The holidays are approaching and being single sucksssss lol,” you might turn to Facebook. But of course, today’s teens don’t use Facebook. Instead, they take their most #relatable thoughts to Twitter, often racking up hundreds of thousands of retweets and faves in the process.
Twitter is full of tribes: gay Twitter, stan Twitter, politics Twitter, media Twitter, weird Twitter. The mostly white, well-adjusted suburban teens who share stale platitudes of the kind that some internet users might call “basic” are part of a tribe known as local Twitter.
Though most users do mainly follow people from their hometowns, local Twitter has more to do with what you tweet than where you live. The typical local Twitter user is a teen who is “in their own bubble of simple life pleasures and desires,” doesn’t live their entire life online, “and uses Twitter to connect to their real-life friends like they used to do on Facebook,” explains Raeequaza, a 22-year-old in New York.
any of you could lower your standards and create a tweet involving a best friend, a boyfriend, a dog, and some reference to wine and get 10k retweets from basic/local twitter but i respect all of you whom i follow for not stooping to that level of degeneracy— Vince (@V_Quach) June 23, 2018
They’re the well-meaning people who find out about a meme months after it has peaked, or the regular guy you know who shares uplifting news stories without fact-checking them first. They unknowingly mimic the out-of-touch behaviors that young people love to mock older people for. “A 55-year-old mom wouldn’t necessarily be labeled as local Twitter, but a teen would be if she shares stuff similar to what a 55-year-old mom would share,” says May Hickman, a 22-year-old college student in Indiana.
idk why local twitter wants flowers so bad. they sit there and die in a week. y'all nutty. https://t.co/OIWau78PZ5— nugget pouch (@killbyundrscore) June 11, 2018
Local Twitter teens are townie-like in the sense that their world mostly revolves around life in their hometown, though most will probably grow up and eventually leave for college. Some older local Twitter users might actually be townies, but the majority of local Twitter—particularly the part that has the power to make local tweets go viral—is made up of teens.
local twitter is like— z (@c9_joseph) June 25, 2018
Im so depressed that I have no makeup on and my grades are straight Q’s and all I’m doing is watching pizza and eating the office
337K RTs 654 ❤️
According to teens, some local Twitter tells include tweeting generic Drake lyrics, posting about suburban life goals, following only people you know in real life, and sharing updates about big school events like prom or homecoming. Local tweeters’ taste is basic—some people use the term “bare-minimum Twitter” to describe the genre—and their tweets are often stolen or regurgitated from big meme accounts like (the now-defunct) @Dory or @CommonWhiteGirl: Esmeralda, a 16-year-old in California, says that because local tweeters don’t have a good sense of internet etiquette, when they think something is funny they’ll just copy and paste it as their own.
i want someone to love me like local twitter loves mediocre white boys with a hint of a six pack committing one polite action— hamera (@thierev) June 22, 2018
Local Twitter users usually have earnest-looking selfie avatars and group-pic cover photos. They often have a few hundred followers, almost all of whom they follow back, and love putting their school or grad year in their bio. “Local Twitter is definitely high-school students, because they’re tweeting things that high-school students relate and connect to,” says Shandra, a 16-year-old in Texas.
local twitter pins their top tweet with 30 retweets to their profile— laura sofia🇨🇴 (@lithplaura) June 29, 2018
Local Twitter chugs along as the platform’s quiet underbelly, but can collectively wield immense power. Tweets that don’t appear notable at all can spread like wildfire through local Twitter, regularly racking up hundreds of thousands of faves and baffling those outside the community. In the Huffington Post reporter Ashley Feinberg’s recent investigation into one particularly viral teen tweet, several teens credited local Twitter with its spread.
local twitter accs that follow me for some reasons i truly can’t understand are the strongest people i’ll ever know i love you normies <3— corri (@bisexuaIbaek) May 21, 2018
“Since there’s so many [local-Twitter users] on here now who enjoy the same specific, socially acceptable, popular things, tweets about Target and Post Malone do insane numbers,” says Raeequaza.