The cultural figures you need to follow, from Conan to Kanye.
As everyone knows, the only real reason to bother with Twitter is following famous people — at least the ones who actually tweet for themselves. But since time is precious and there are an endless number of gratuitous tweets to wade through in this world, we’ve taken the liberty of selecting the array of politicians, writers, and musicians who used the medium to the best effect in 2010. For better or worse, they made us pay attention.
Conan O'Brien, @ConanOBrien
After the excruciatingly public firing as host of The Tonight Show, Conan did what so many other unemployed, depressed, and newly bearded individuals have done before him: he started spending a ton of time on Twitter. Predictably, the results were weird, great, and a relief after months of his his disappointing late-night material. Now that he has his own show again the feed is still good, but his manic early efforts were the best. Like his decision to pick a random person (@lovelybutton) and follow her, changing her life forever.
Kanye West, @KanyeWest
Given that he’s basically better than everyone else at everything, it’s not too surprising that Kanye West is also among the best at Twitter. Ever since he joined this summer his feed has been the perfect storm of one-sided conversations with other celebrities, images explaining West’s increasingly “Kingish” taste in home decor, logs of his personal growth, and actually pretty engrossing insights into his recording process. Then someone decided to put them on New Yorker cartoons, and we were speechless with joy.
Sarah Palin, @SarahPalinUSA
Chances are you read this one just because you can’t help yourself, not because Sarah Palin ever has anything to say that isn’t terrible. But either way she’s one of the most fascinating unemployed people on Twitter, and most notably used the medium to invent the word “refudiate” this summer. Whether or not you want to, you’ll end up hearing about this one.
Mindy Kaling, @MindyKaling
Don’t get me wrong — Mindy Kaling is great on The Office and a talented writer and all of that stuff, but what she’s really known for at this point is her Twitter. It’s more or less impossible to read her observations on the Top 40, romantic comedies, and the best revenge fantasy to help with your workout without secretly assuming that the two of you would be best friends, if only you had the opportunity to hang out.
Courtney Love, @CourtneyLoveUK
More or less an exercise in un-self-awareness, Courtney Love’s Twitter is all about awkward juxtapositions. Though it mainly exists as a medium for pictures of her outfits (part of her semi-successful transition into “lovably crazy fashionista-about-town”), she’s also been known to accidentally post nearly nude pictures of herself and emotional missives to her daughter Frances Bean in spite of a restraining order. Basically, all bets are off. Even after threatening to quit the site this fall, Love tweets more than ever, so expect a clogged feed if you bite the bullet and follow her.
Best Coast, @bestycoastyy
It would probably be annoying if it was just some girl from your work, but for whatever reason, when Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast tweets nonstop about weed, her cats, and reality TV, the results are totally charming. The super pleasant, stream-of-consciousness feed is largely taken up with tweets at her boyfriend Nathan Williams of Wavves (@WavvesWavves) and her increasingly famous cat, Snacks (@snacksthecat), but even if you’re not into the idea of cats (or couples) tweeting, she’ll also give you a way more candid look into the actual day-to-day of a band than just about any other performer out there.
No one really knows how Questlove finds the time to tweet, in between his regular gig on Jimmy Fallon and his countless other side projects, but we’re glad he does. With an endlessly on-point use of trending topics (“#celebperfumes 'Purple Rain' by R Kelly”), and constant updates to his eclectic, informative SwiftFM account, the Roots drummer comes across as a guy who really just wants you to be happy and to have better taste in music. The ultimate feel-good Twitter feed.
David Lynch, @DAVID_LYNCH
It’s hasn’t gotten to Blue Velvet-levels of unsettling — yet — but David Lynch’s Twitter is still delightfully odd and tangent-heavy, not to mention (for the most part) extremely sincere. And now that his recording career is in full swing, our fingers are crossed that he’ll balance out his unexpected wealth of carpentry tips with a few more insights into what he’s listening to… something for everyone!
Justin Bieber, @justinbieber
Okay, so it’s mostly retweets of his rabid thirteen-year-old fans and constant Chuck Norris jokes, but still. Tweets to, by, or somehow related to Justin Bieber take up three percent of the site’s traffic at any given time, so attention must be paid. Plus, he has a dark side: after a Detroit teen hacked into a friend’s account, Bieber tweeted the kid’s phone number, resulting in 26,000 text messages in just one night. Not bad for his first public feud! There may be potential here yet.
Karl Lagerfeld, @Karl_Lagerfeld
Just like the man himself, Karl Lagerfeld’s tweets are cryptic, stylized, and really, really judgmental. His missives are few and far between, but when he does grace Twitter with his presence, the results are inevitably a terrifying window into the Kaiser’s soul. Also worth noting that while he has over 400,000 followers, Karl follows no one. Which is exactly as it should be.