Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Twitter All-Stars

Let's face it, half the reason anyone joins Twitter is so we can follow random celebrities and find out what they're thinking in 140 characters or less. Naturally, some of these folks are much, much more entertaining than others. Also, perhaps not shockingly, Twitterville is filled with celebrity nerds which means it's ripe entertainment territory for ladies of our ilk. Here's a few thoughts on the best of the best and all the rest:

The Best of the Best

Stephen Fry -- Hands down, the most entertaining celebrity on Twitter is Stephen Fry, British humorist, world traveler, bon vivant, technology wizard and the Jeeves to Hugh Laurie's Wooster. Fry is like the Russian gymnasts of Twitter -- he scores across the board in all categories and always sticks his landings. (I don't know what that means actually.) His Tweets are funny, cheerful and chatty. And he always writes about interesting things, whether it's traveling in New Zealand or just walking the streets of Manhattan. Reading his Tweets feels akin to riding around in the man's coat pockets while he points out all the amazing sights. Plus, you have to love a man who signs most all his Tweets with a little "x." His Tweets brighten my day...and that's not something I thought I'd ever say about a very tall, very grown man I've never met.

Wil Wheaton -- Pretty much anything Wil Wheaton releases into the world of the webs is worth reading. The guy is just a class act all around and manages to make just about every Tweet interesting and readable, whether he's writing about going to an L.A. Kings hockey game or talking about his column writing or making the occasional random Wesley Crusher reference. Plus, he's geek through and through. What's not to love? Wheaton's not a flashy celeb and he's not always aiming for the seats with his posts but he's just super-solid and never disappoints. I like that in an imaginary Twitter friend.

John Hodgman -- It almost seems as if Twitter was invented solely for a writer as pithy as John Hodgman. Terse and hilariously to the point, Hodgman's Tweets are little nuggets of sweet, sweet entertainment. The stuff he says seems to come from some slightly skewed realm of the universe, which is exactly what you want to be reading when you're stuck at your office desk all day long.

Neil Gaiman -- You may notice a trend here: the writers tend to be the best Twitterers and Gaiman is no slouch in either category. He tends to write about mundane stuff which is fine by me because he does it so well. In fact, yesterday, he single handedly made me want to eat a stick of butter just by describing how he gets his dog to swallow pills. (Hint -- it involves butter.) Again, as with Stephen Fry, I feel like I'm just padding around the guy's house with him, having a cup of coffee and conversing in really, really short sentences.

Jonathan Coulton
-- Okay, besides the writers, this musician's pretty good too. Even if you're not a fan of his music (which would be an actual sin, by the way), you've got to follow him just to read the dialogues that occasionally spring up between him and Hodgman, often with a Wheaton comment flung in for good measure. It's quite the geektastic trio of awesomeness when the Tweets start to fly.

The Middle of the Road

Felicia Day
-- Scores huge points on seeming quite sweet and nerdy but she just doesn't pack the entertaining punch the way the guys above do. She posts a lot, which is nice, and also provides some fascinating insight on what it's like to be a working actor. Again, did I mention she seems really nice?

Peter Sagal -- Host of NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" and my secret imaginary Saturday afternoon boyfriend, Sagal can make me laugh so hard listening to his show that I have to pull the car over sometimes just to catch my breath. Unfortunately, it doesn't translate well to the Twitter world, which just means that the man works better with more than 140 characters at his disposal.

Kevin Murphy -- Formerly of the MST3K and now of The Rifftraxx, Murphy's a dude I like as well but sometimes his posts just seem, well, like he's trying too hard. He doesn't have the Twitter ease of a Wheaton or a Fry. Total A for effort though.

The Not-So-Good

Penn Jillette -- For one thing, doesn't post very often. For the second thing, who knew a guy who comes off as brash and completely fucking weird as Penn Jillette could be so mild on Twitter? Seriously. I feel like he's raising his hand and asking permission before uploading each Tweet. C'mon, Penn, live a little. Don't let The Tweet Man hold you back. At least post in all caps once in a while. It'll make me worry about you less.

Brent Spiner -- Also known as The Man Who Once Played Data. Well, how can I put this? He just seems cranky. And also kind of a dick. I could be completely wrong. I've only been following him for a few days, but seriously, for every pleasant comment he has, he writes like four "get off my lawn" fist-shakers.

Dave Foley -- Only given low marks because he's apparently stopped Twittering. I hope he comes back. Any man who describes himself as "a less famous version of me five years ago" needs to return to the Twitter fold.

Are there any favorites you follow who we should all be adding to our lists? Please share!


The Modern Gal said...

I didn't even know Dave Foley had been twittering! How disappointing that he's stopped. I've always had a thing for his ridiculously corny quips.

Karen said...

Your Best of the Best are all my favorites as well. I'd add Bill Corbett to that. Yeah, he always seems to be going for the comedy isn't always successful, but I love his enthusiasm.

Diablo Cody and LaVar Burton are two more I enjoy. Diablo doesn't twit much, but when she does I feel like we're hanging out drinking martinis.

Graham Linehan, the creator of Father Ted and The IT Crowd doesn't seem to have the hang of it yet, but there's hope.

-ic0re said...

Warren Ellis (http://twitter.com/WarrenEllisSays) always fills those droll days with inane internetness...and I think thats a good thing.

Alyson said...

I enjoy Greg Grunberg's tweets as well.

With Spiner, I think we have to cut him a little slack, cause he's very, VERY new to Twitter and still learning the ropes. Wilw will get him straightened out in no time!

Angela said...

I tend to think Brent Spiner's curmudgeonly ways are more due to his brand of humor than anything. I've been kind of enjoying it.

And I have to agree with Alyson that Greg Grunberg is top notch. I loved his "Grunny Missions."

Elimare said...

I agree with you about Penn. Bringing the kids bowling? hmmm, ok. I only followed him cos Neil mentioned he was on Twitter. Levar is pretty good, actually I pretty much agree with your categories. Oh and Warren Ellis is on http://twitter.com/warrenellis

Sonya said...

I spent the evening giggling like a mad woman at Brent Spiner's. Thanks for the link!

crone51 said...

I heard Brent Spiner refer to David Letterman as an "asshole" at a Trek convention once- many years ago. I was mildly peeved as I had my young Trek worshipping daughter with me but I don't think she notices. He did seem a bit cranky.
Yeah, yeah, I went to a Trek convention...so shoot me.

Ok, so actually I have been to four Trek conventions...

I'll shut up now.

Oh wait! This is the place I won't get mocked for being a Trekkie...erm..isn't it?

Liz said...

No need to ever apologize for Trek convention attendance here. I went to one in 1992-ish and bought a Brent Spiner CD there. It all comes full circle. :)

How can anyone say mean things about David Letterman?? That makes me sad.

Anonymous said...

Brent Spiner was a god to me growing up. Being a true nerd, I loved ST:TNG. I recently followed him on twitter. I realized that the disparity of the magic and reality that is Data and Brent Spiner is on us; he's only a human actor afterall.

To me he doesn't seem cranky, he kind of seems arrogant, like he knows geeks fawn over him, b/c let's face it, TNG and Data kicked ass. So with his convention hopping and ego stroking, what do you expect? Like "I know you all worship me, I can still be a dick if I want to on Twitter". However he might be different in person, I can't judge him too much through twitter. I'd still be star struck if I met him though. Just my .02. Nice blog btw.

Anonymous said...

I follow former Savage Garden frontman Darren Hayes on there. http://www.twitter.com/darrenhayes he's quite quirky lol