Notifications on Twitter, ranked from best to worst:
#1. No Notifications, Because You Don’t Have Twitter
Man, fuck Twitter in general.
Owning and operating a Twitter account is like a daily exercise in self-flagellation. Some fresh new bullshit on Twitter will make you genuinely unhappy every single time you visit. And once you start tweeting, you’ll develop this nagging, empty feeling that can only be filled with notifications, which means you’ll be whipping out your phone every 15 minutes just to check on those 3 new notifications, chasing that meaningless, empty thrill you get after some complete stranger in Wichita fav’d your sports joke. It’s like some shitty form of heroin without the euphoria.
Twitter’s a cesspool of memes, brands, porn bots, and a bunch of self-absorbed dipshits blowing vape smoke up each others’ asses. If you haven’t joined Twitter, I say this to you with the harsh, grave tone of a life-sentence inmate talking to troubled teens on one of those Scared Straight shows: please, stay off of Twitter. Twitter will make you miserable. Get out while you can, my young friend. What lies below will kill you.
#2. Someone Retweeted You
If for some reason you still think Twitter is worth your time, then this right here? This is what you’re in it for. The classic retweet. The sweet, timeless thrill of sending out something into the limitless ether of cyberspace, and having someone out there read it, and appreciate it, and share it on their timeline. Mmmmhmm. This right here is the good shit.
#3. New Follower
Well hey there new buddy! Now, don’t get too excited - it’s almost certainly some zero-follower spam account called “ƁUy FRƐƐ 1ƤH0NƐ 6S”, and after their Russian botnet scam gets shut down by Twitter Security within the week, they’ll be out of your life just as quickly as they entered it - but still, it’s always a great feeling to get a new friend!
#4. A Helpful @-Reply
Look, a lot of @-replies are trash, don’t get me wrong. But some people, bless their hearts, actually use Twitter to engage in meaningful conversation. You’ll tweet “hey, what’s the best place to get certified gluten-free sex lube in the #Indianapolis area”, and some helpful Hoosier soul will see your tweet, and give you an actual answer to your question. Then, for a brief moment, you might think “maybe Twitter can be a useful means of communication!” And then you’ll get some random asshole named @ColtsFanPalin2016 with an egg avatar and 4 followers sending you a bunch of unsolicited replies correcting your grammar.
#5. Someone Favorited Your Tweet
It’s alright, I get it - not everything’s worthy of a retweet. Some tweets are fav-funny, but not necessarily ha-ha-funny. I’m pretty sure that the original meaning of the fav button was for people to say “this tweet is interesting, let me mark this so I can check back with it later”, which actually makes a lot of sense. Nowadays, a fav essentially means “Hey, I’m OK with this.”
Someone made a Simpsons reference? Drop them a fav to let them know you get jokes. Someone posted a picture of their cool new socks? Throw a fav their way to show ‘em that their socks are appreciated, but not necessarily “retweet-this-into-my-timeline” appreciated, since that would be weird. Favs are pretty good to get. They’re the friendly nods of the Twitter world.
#6. Someone Retweeted Your Retweet
A big part of Twitter is the idea that you’re supposed to be retweeting the best stuff from your timeline, which in turn creates a snowball effect as more people are able to see and retweet a particularly good tweet you helped them discover. You have a responsibility to your followers not just as a tweet-creator, but also a tweet-curator. The “someone retweeted your retweet” notification is a nice little way of knowing that you plucked a good-ass tweet out of relative obscurity, like some sort of minor-league scout for under-the-radar tweets, and now it’s getting the attention it deserves.
#7. Someone Favorited A Tweet You Retweeted
Sure. Thanks for the heads-up.
#8. Someone Retweeted A Tweet You Were Mentioned In
This notification can be nice, but it’s almost always useless. I guess it’s nice if someone’s saying something nice about you, and a third-party is retweeting that compliment about you, but this is Twitter. There are no compliments. It’s probably some guy you don’t know calling you wrong, and then that stranger’s friends retweeting him. Which, OK, great.
#9. Someone Quote-Retweeted You
The quote-retweet is a fairly new Twitter feature where, instead of just giving someone the classic retweet treatment, you can put their tweet in a little quote and chime in with your 2 cents on top. It’s mostly a bad feature.
Now, don’t get me wrong! In certain cases this can absolutely be a useful feature. Say you see a tweet, and there’s an opportunity to add an even-better joke on top of it. Or, say some mysterious account gets created today and tweets a context-free photo of Roger Goodell snorting mountains of cocaine, you can quote-retweet it to provide the context of “hey, check this out: this appears to be Roger Goodell snorting a mountain of cocaine.” Most of the time, though, you won’t be seeing useful quote-retweets that improve on the original tweet. You’ll see Ronnie Retweet out here taking the useful/funny tweets of Connie Content and quote-retweeting it to chime in with a “Wow”, or a “lol”, or with 17 straight crying emojis. And now, this tweet belongs to Ronnie Retweet, and he’s out here basking in the glory.
And if you think this is all a lot of stupid stuff to get worked up over, well, you’re right, and welcome to Twitter.com.
#10. Someone Tagged You In A Photo
This is almost always bad.
Either someone thinks this is Facebook, and they’re tagging you in a picture representing some sort of concept you enjoy (block these people and report them for terrorism), or it’s the most God-awful drunken photo of you taken in some bar basement. My God, why’s your forehead look so shiny? You always look so shiny in these damn photos.
#11. Someone Dot-Replied To You
On Twitter, you can only see a conversation between Party A and Party B if you follow both of them, but, if you’re Party B and you want to annoy your entire timeline with how much you’re owning Party A in some meaningless goddamn argument about Tom Brady or something, you can preface a “.” before the reply, and every single person on your timeline will see the exchange. There are a few valid reasons for doing this, but mostly, this is the sort of drama-laden shit that makes Twitter so miserable. If I wanted to watch strangers argue about some private shit I don’t care about, I’d ride public transit.
#12. Getting Called A Fuckboy By The Pope’s Verified Account
#13. The Modified-Manual-Retweet
Back in the Wild West days of Twitter, we didn’t have the option to quote-retweet someone. If you wanted to copy someone’s good-ass tweet but get all of the glory in the form of retweets down the line, what you’d have to do is copy and paste the text of their tweet, and drop it into quote marks at the end of your tweet, accompanied by some stupid message like “Wow. RT...” or “Big if true. RT...”. This was generally considered the very worst thing you could do on Twitter short of actually running an ISIS recruitment account.
The only way to make it worse is by dropping a modified retweet on someone, where, since you added that stupid “wow” message off the top, the original good tweet went over the maximum 140 characters. You’d then need to edit what the original person said, erasing words and using abbreviations, to cut the quoted part down to 140. If this sounds like a lot of work just to rip off someone’s tweet, when there’s a “Retweet” button sitting right there, well: you’d be right. Plus, with the advent of the quote-retweet option, people out here still manually-retweeting in the year 2015 sure are putting a lot of energy into being the guy from the I Made This cartoon.
Now, is there any way to prevent some Twitter power-user from dropping a manual-retweet on you these days? Sure there is.
Just use this one weird trick: Don’t Tweet.