If Salvador Dalí were alive today, he would have been fascinated by the surreal nature of Twitter. “Surrealist works feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur.” (wiki) I can think of no better way to describe the unyielding feed, the churn of entirely unrelated material streaming one after the other, side by side. Then, of course, sometimes you find the same unyielding incongruity from a single person. For the love of god, Megan Amram.
Her tweets range from hilarious:
Lactose intolerance stems from lactose IGNORANCE—
Megan Amram (@meganamram) February 21, 2011
To the outright bizarre:
For an ice cream truck, this ice cream truck sure is a cop car.—
Megan Amram (@meganamram) March 07, 2011
If loving you is wrong, I don't want to be fat.—
Megan Amram (@meganamram) January 22, 2011
Any time you see that horrible, horrible profile picture roll by, you know that, at the very least, you are in for something unique. It’s entirely unclear who this person is, but one thing is certain—she’s committed.
There are some people who are allowed to be different, unique, strange. These people somehow operate out of the realm of ‘normal’ and, initially, are met with confusion, revulsion and occasionally anger. However, if the utter absurdity of their persona is inaccessible in an strangely accessible way, they may be rewarded for it.
How do you gain lots of followers on twitter? Tell a great story and tell it consistently. Every “ugh, I hate my job,” every “took a nap today, woot” adds to (or more often subtracts from) your story. I read an article about how to create an online persona, or personal brand, that suggested going back, reading your tweets from the past month and asking yourself, “Would I want to sit next to me at dinner?” If all you see is a laundry list of complaints and lunch-related posts, you might want to rethink things.
Most people aren’t so concerned with maintaining a personal brand, but the way people see you is directly related to the story you tell about yourself. People who are just people are allowed to deviate from their message, but if the story you tell is an unconventional one, consistency is key. Wil Wheaton, for example, can go off topic, because he tells a conventional story (he’s “just this guy, you know?”), however someone like Conan O’Brien can’t say, “I hate the line at the post office,”* without some sort of follow up that brings it together. Conan O’Brien’s story is unconventional and, in order for it to hold up long term he must maintain it or the narrative flow is destroyed, often permanently.
Then we go over to the dark side, the unconventionaliest of the unconventional—the surrealists who tweet among us. Guy Kawasaki, NASA and Seth MacFarlane are not surrealists and the stories they tell are normal enough, but they must stay on message to the best of their abilities. It seems, however, there is no such thing as a part-time surrealist. You go or you don’t, there is no room for in-between. Salvador Dalí couldn’t suddenly decide that he didn’t feel like melting clocks, but instead wanted to lose the mustache, cane and creepy persona and go run a small convenience store only to return to art later on to pick up where he left off. No one would buy it unless he could convince them it was all part of his surrealist persona. He had to stay on message all day, every day. I can’t know what Megan Amram is like when she not going 90 elephants worth of crazy online, but when she’s on she’s on. Until all of her surreal tweets, posts and lipstick related content translates to the high paying writing job she deserves, she can’t afford to be off.
Do a quick search for Megan Amram and you’ll find her tumblr, her stirring rendition of We Built This City On Rock And Roll, you’ll read a little about Harvard and find plenty of tweety goodness. You’ll also find someone named Dan Smith trying to answer the odd question, Who is Megan Amram? with this equally odd response:
“No idea, but it sticks out a mile that you can get the word ‘anagram’ out of the name. Trouble is, that leaves ‘m’, ‘e’ and ‘m’. None the wiser.”
Yeah. Yeah that about sums it up.
*NOTE: in a bizarre turn of events, Conan O’Brien tweeted the following:
I had the most normal dream last night. It was just me waiting in line at the bank for a reasonable amount of time.—
Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) May 05, 2011