3 things I hate about Twitter [#19]

Quasi-giveaways, low-effort newsletters, life improvement accounts – do they drive you insane too?

3 things I hate about Twitter [#19]

I swear I lose 5% of my brain cells (neurons?) every time I browse Twitter. So I'll never fully lose all of my brain cells, but I'll get pretty close if these 3 things continue happening on Twitter. So, in no particular order, here they are:

1. Quasi-Giveaways

Quasi-giveaway (noun): A type of giveaway tweet where the tweet author offers a free product (typically a Notion template) if the respondent likes, retweets, and replies to the tweet. Once the respondent has satisfied the requirements, the tweet author DMs the product to the respondent.

So I really hate quasi-giveaways, and they're everywhere on Twitter. This is what a typical quasi-giveaway looks like:

As you can see, they're characterized by:

  • low-effort Notion pages or low-quality ebooks (typically with no clear organizational framework – often just copy-pasted information disguised as a "swipefile")
  • baity hooks ("People are making millions of dollars using GhatGPT in 2023" – yeah, but people make millions of dollars in 2023 doing literally everything)
  • Taki writing (text spaced out to the logical extreme – aside from optimizing for "readability", there's absolutely no reason to separate the first three sentences in the above example)

Quasi-giveaways aren't exactly rare, either. Maybe I'm on the wrong side of Twitter, but I see them show up about twice a day, which drives me insane. If I use the Twitter search function, I can find nine quasi-giveaways (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) in two minutes. (If you search Twitter using the phrase "must be following", you'll find a ton of them.)

Quasi-giveaways will hang around for a while, and that's because they get massive engagement. If a reader wants to receive the crappy Notion template or ebook, they typically have to like, retweet, comment, and follow the tweet author. This "tricks" the Twitter algorithm into serving the tweet to more people – and since engagements, impressions, and followers are considered to be the holy grail of Twitter, fame-hungry Twitter users love using quasi-giveaways.

2. Low-Effort Newsletters

Hmmm, what completely unoriginal listicle will I write next?

I've seen a lot of these recently. Low-effort newsletters specialize in creating listicles that could be entirely written by a monkey – if you gave the monkey internet access and a banana every time he finishes copy-pasting 90% of the listicle's content. Here's a list of headlines you'll often see for low-effort newsletter articles:

  • [number] of reasons why you should [quit your job / eat healthier / start journaling / become a software engineer / become an Indonesian monk]
  • [number] of the most useful [websites / tools / ChatGPT prompts / skills] to [accelerate / 10x / advance / supercharge] your [productivity / learning / wisdom / intelligence]
  • The [number] most useful [ChatGPT / GPT-4 / AI] prompts to earn [$100 / $1000 / $10000] per [week / month / year] guaranteed

You can Google all of this stuff (or ask ChatGPT, if you prefer) and receive all the information you need. ⌘ + C and ⌘ + V are your best friends if you want to write a low-effort newsletter!

You'd expect that these hopelessly lazy, cobbled-together newsletters wouldn't be successful – and you'd be wrong (1, 2, 3, 4). Some of these newsletters have 20k+ subscribers, which is completely ridiculous. Plus, these newsletters contribute basically nothing of value to society, since most of the content already exists.

And if people don't want to write low-effort newsletter articles, they'll just turn them into Twitter threads (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) – often with the infuriating hook "10x your productivity."

I cannot fully express how INFURIATING the phrase "10x your productivity" is to me. Almost no AI tool or no-code tool will magically increase your productivity by an order of magnitude. Personally, it's become synonymous with "oooh this thread is just like a low-effort newsletter! I'm not gonna read it!"

3. "Life Improvement" Accounts

"Life Improvement" Accounts (noun) (aka LIAs): Extremely generic Twitter accounts that somehow thrive, even despite posting run-of-the-mill, copy-pasted content from the internet.

I mean, just look at the original, incredible, insightful, and inspiring content Art of Life posts (who has 500k+ followers).

Why hasn't anyone else figured out this trick yet? You can get a ridiculous number of likes, engagements, and followers by POSTING EIGHT WORDS!!! Here are some more examples of truly wonderful & original content: (1, 2, 3).

Oh wait, other people have figured out this trick (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10). And the monkey from section 2 has an even easier time creating content for these LIAs – seriously, it just needs to know how to google "motivational quotes".

I'm seriously concerned for the welfare of anyone who decides to create and maintain these LIAs. What are you accomplishing? Have you ever considered being original, ever?