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Name: Twitter (now X)
Dates: 2006 –
Type: social network
Fandom: panfandom
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Twitter is a microblogging social network founded in 2006. It enjoys worldwide popularity and is used by fans for a range of fannish activities.

While it isn't suited to long-form writing due to its short character length limit (140 characters when it was founded, later expanded to 280 characters in November 2017[1]), it is used by fans to keep in touch with each other, post fanart (many fan artists migrated to Twitter after the Tumblr NSFW Content Purge due to its more permissive approach to adult material) and to interact with the creators of their favourite media. However, Twitter is not fully permissive of adult material, and limitations of length mean many fans use it in conjunction with other platforms like Pixiv, Privatter, and Patreon. The twitter account is in some ways used as a 'landing page' or 'update feed'.

Many creator-fan interactions take place on Twitter (where creators, actors and other TPTB are active), blurring the boundaries between fans and creators. We could consider the rise of Twitter as a huge change in fandom social dynamics.

For canons which include an interactive multimedia component, such as Check Please!, Lost in Translation (webcomic), or RPF fandoms, twitter interactions become part of

Twitter threads (a string of connected tweets) can be used to post longer-form meta or discussions. Threadfic, twitfic, or other similar terms are used to describe fic written with these twitter threads.

Twitter is also used for RP: some fandoms with a strong RP presence on Twitter are Sherlock Holmes[2] and The Dresden Files[3]. An example of a Celebrity RPG community on Twitter is Fake F1.

The day's tweets can be cross-posted to LJ, which some people find deeply annoying.[note 1]

Use Among Fans

The 280-character limit makes it so that most fans use Twitter for more casual conversation that they feel don't belong on their main tumblr or journal. Often, ideas for meta and fanfiction first brought up on Twitter will then be expanded and polished and be posted on the fan's main website. Collaborative headcanons, notfic (which can then develop into a proper story) and general brainstorming is common on Twitter. Tumblr-based users may also find it useful to have a locked Twitter to use for rl updates they wish to share only with a selected group of people.

Authors and fanartists also use Twitter to show the progress of their works, like by sharing sketches or snippets of their fic, or simply by updating their followers.

Some fans engage in "live-tweeting", where they post their reaction to media, usually television shows, as they are watching. This will often stimulate discussion with other fans.

Given the nature of Twitter as a site where parody accounts of celebrities abound, this has extended to fandom too, in this case including characters.[4]

Twitter and the Fourth Wall

Direct interaction between fans and celebrities, or fans and TPTB can sometimes have negative consequences. Celebrities may make comments that fans perceive as offensive or dismissive, inciting wank and damaging the relationship between fans and the media, band, etc. in question. Fans can also engage in boundary-crossing behaviour, sharing fanworks (views differ on whether this always crosses a line; some fans do not believe in sharing fanworks at all, while others draw the line at sharing RPF fanworks) and even engaging in harassment of celebrities and creators.

Notable Incidents

  • On July 23, 2013, then-Total Nonstop Action Wrestling promoter Dixie Carter launched the hashtag AskDixie, encouraging fans to ask her anything. Unfortunately for her, they did, as the fans responded with numerous questions about why the company was so poorly run and why the product was so terrible.

Elon Musk Purchase and Exodus

In April 2022 the news broke that Elon Musk had agreed to buy the platform. Fans investigated Mastodon as a potential alternative to Twitter.

A much bigger wave migrated over to Mastodon in October/November 2022 as the sale completed and lay-offs began at Twitter, sparking serious fears that this was the beginning of the end for Twitter. Some users also migrate to Tumblr.

Notable fanworks about this exodus include hand in unrebloggable hand (AO3 Link) by Drxxmingofblue.

With the name and virtual identity of the site changing to X instead of Twitter, the way to designate a tweet becoming xeet, countless jokes arose regarding the rebranding of the brand. Furthermore, rumors that all public content on the site will be used to train Artificial Intelligence caused many users to migrate to sites such as BlueSky.

Common Twitter Terms

  • LRT: Short for last retweet. A tweet preceded by this abbreviation is intended as a reaction to what the user has just retweeted. Some areas of Twitter (especially the art community) use this to avoid quote retweeting, since that takes metrics and interactions away from the original tweeter which is considered rude.
  • QRT: Short for quote retweet (though officially it is called a quote tweet). A feature, introduced by Twitter in 2015, that allows users to add commentary to a retweet directly. This feature has sometimes been used to harass or bully in fandom, by throwing shade directly (similar to callout posts on Tumblr) instead of subtweeting.
  • subtweet: Short for "subliminal tweet", this means a tweet complaining about some person/entity without specifically naming them. Equivalent to the Tumblr term "vagueposting".
  • oomf: One Of My Followers or One Of My Friends. Usage is similar to "mutuals".
  • Sco pa tu manaa: Lyric from a Ghanaian song; the phrase was given the meaning "What are your thoughts on this topic?" by Twitter users in 2019.
  • TL: Short for timeline. This is the feed of tweets a user sees when browsing. Equivalent to the "dashboard" of Tumblr. Sometimes used as an abbreviation for "t-list".
  • t-list: The people someone follows on Twitter.
  • Rkgk: a hashtag for doodles (typically used by Japanese artists)

Meta/Further Reading


  1. ^ Unsure if this is a reference to RP threads or general tweets. Can anyone find examples to show this activity?


  1. ^ Twitter officially expands its character count to 280 starting today, TechCrunch. Published November 7, 2017 (Accessed September 29, 2019).
  2. ^ for example the Twitter RP group Cumberholmes
  3. ^ examples: HarriedWizzard, John Marcone, JohnMarcone, sgtkarrinmurphy, mouse_the_dog, WardenSexypants, PadawanMolly, SigrunGard, DonarVadderung, Toot Toot, Godmother_Leah, Hellhound4Hire, BlackstaffMcCoy et al.
  4. ^ See for example Emo Kylo Ren
  5. ^ "'Star Wars' Actress Kelly Marie Tran Leaves Instagram After Harassment" on