I started my Twitter account in 2010. I was at some sort of something for one of my English classes and a girl was staring at her phone and cracking up. We all asked what she was laughing at and she told us Charlie Sheen. He was having an apparent meltdown on this website that we had only really kind of heard of but didn’t know what it was.
We started asking the girl about Twitter, why she was on it, what exactly it was. She said she mostly only followed famous people, and it took no time for me to realize I needed to sign up immediately. My favorite things on earth are celebrities, gossip, and pop culture. There was a social media site that allowed me to find all of that in one place? Uh, yea, I’m in!
My first handle was @TheRealCaraCoop, which I came up with because it seemed like all the famous people had @TheReal(insert name here) as their handle so I thought it was funny to do that, too.
(Yes, I’m aware of another less cool person who was also @TheReal(insert name here)Twitter handle. No, he was not one of the people I copied.)
After a few weeks I started getting follows from a lot of celebrity news sites. E News, People, some random accounts that put “we retweet the funniest comedians on Twitter” in their bios. Did these people think I’m an actual famous person? OMG this is the greatest website of all time!
(It was around this time I learned there is another Cara Cooper and she is actually famous on Broadway so shout out to her.)
I’ve since changed my handle, but I’ve spent the last 12 years feeling like that celebrity, and tweeting like it too. Twitter made me feel like a totally different person. In real life I’m quiet and reserved, but there, I could say and tweet whatever I wanted. I’ve never really liked any other social media. Facebook is about posting life updates, and the one thing I hate more than anything is telling people about my life. Instagram is selfies and bragging about the places you’ve been, and there is nothing on earth I hate more than having my picture taken, and nine times of the 10 if I go somewhere I go to great lengths to make sure no one knows about it. And don’t even get me started on TikTok. You want me to watch videos? With sound? In public? Who does that?
Twitter is the one place I can send all the dumb, possibly funny, possibly not thoughts that are in my head out into the universe and no one is really going to see it but maybe they will and maybe they’ll think it’s funny, too. No other website offers that.
And it’s been fun to make Twitter into a community of my choosing. Twitter has been described as “the world’s largest sports bar,” and I love that. I’ve had the site open in front of me for every Super Bowl of the last decade, every Cubs playoff game, every awards show, every episode of The Bachelor. Everyone tweeting their jokes about the thing we’re all watching together. It’s the best.
Plus, that community has its own language that no one in my IRL life would understand. A few weeks ago I decided to do a thing called “No-social media-vember,” mostly because I knew if I was sucked into all the apps during the midterm elections I would go insane, but also I had a lot of work to do and personal projects to work on and wanted to not waste so much time on Twitter when I should be working.
I broke that ban within two weeks because I needed to tweet this:
“I’m briefly breaking my no-social media-month because I need to share something and Twitter is the only place people will appreciate it: There is a player on a local high school football teams who finished the regular season with 69 carries for 666 yards.”
That’s not something I could tell literally anyone if my life. I would rather die than explain to my parents why 69 is a thing and when people see it they say “nice.” None of my friends would laugh at that either (no offense to them they just have no sense of humor). Heck, probably no one on Twitter laughed at it, but to me it was funny and I could just throw it out there and not have it take up space in my brain.
Last night when everyone started freaking out that Twitter was on its last legs I tweeted:
“BREAKING: I’m hearing from sources Elon is currently speaking to every Twitter employee. I’ve the transcript: “I pride myself & think of myself as a man of faith, as there’s a drive into deep left field by Castellanos & that’ll be a home run & so that’ll make it a 4-0 ballgame””
There isn’t a single person in my life who would get that. And I don’t have the capacity to explain Marty Brennaman and the curse of Nick Castellanos and all that. But I can promise you that joke has been made on Twitter in some form at least 500,000 times. And it never got old.
Twitter isn’t this wonderful utopia of a place. Every third tweet I see on there is about how much that person hates it. If Twitter wasn’t around we probably wouldn’t have had to live through four years of a reality TV star’s presidency.
But, if it wasn’t for Twitter we also wouldn’t have had Crying Jordan, we would have all forgotten Will Smith’s slap, we wouldn’t get to see videos of important sports moments that have My Heart Will Go ON playing in the background, and we wouldn’t have had nearly as much fun making fun of Elon Musk. For as bad as it is, I wouldn’t have gotten through some of the hardest times of my life without it. It’s been completely stupid and a waste of time, but I pride myself & think of myself as a man of faith, as there’s a drive into deep left field by Castellanos & that’ll be a home run & so that’ll make it a 4-0 ballgame.