Every now and again, some paper or other runs a list of ‘Top Tweeters,’ a sort of who-to-follow guide. They’re a quick and cheap way of filling space, I suppose, and they’re guaranteed to get people talking because, inevitably, not everyone agrees with the choices.
Today’s list in the Sunday Times, though, was pretty poor. I don’t cavil with a lot of its inclusions – many of them are people doing really good stuff on Twitter – but it ignores some genuinely marvellous work. So I’d like, if I may, to suggest my own alternative who-to-follow list. Obviously, these are all people I follow and whose work I enjoy or admire, so this is a very personal list. Any suggestions for who else to include would be most welcome.
So, in no particular order, here we go.
1. @TheRealBaglady. Writer and comic Wendy Lee’s blog about her experience of colostomy is beautifully-written, deeply personal and a thing of great wonder, as are her tweets. Everyone should follow her.
2. @vivienneclore and @CosyFanTootie. For me, one of the great joys of Twitter was the discovery that it’s full of people who enjoy making puns and playing word-games. Vivienne and Cosy are simply the best. Accept no substitutes.
3. @brokenbottleboy. Writer, journalist, commentator on the zeitgeist, Mic Wright is one of the best writers about the media – particularly the emergent world of online media – I know. I don’t always agree with him, but his writing is never less than interesting and thought-provoking, and if he isn’t having a row with someone on Twitter I worry he’s ill.
4. @mattleys. Genuinely a very, very fine writer, and a tireless campaigner for the NHS.
5. @MooseAllain. The Guv’nor. Artist, illustrator, writer. In my opinion one of the very best Twitterers. If you’re not following Moose, you’re not really on Twitter at all.
6. @PME200. I’d advise anyone taking their first steps on Twitter to follow Peter on Day One and read his timeline and his blog before doing anything else. His writing about Twitter etiquette is indispensible and I think he’s an enormously decent human being.
7. @themanwhofell. I’m not sure what’s happened to Greg Steckleman. His last tweet, ‘Twitter is no place for a human being,’ was back in May, but I would recommend those new to Twitter to follow him in case he comes back because his writing is extraordinary.
8. @bengoldacre. Scourge of Bad Science and all-round Very Bright Person.
9. @DaftLimmy. There are times when Brian Limond frightens me, and times when I genuinely fear for his sanity, but his Twitter account is unique. There’s no one using the form like him and he can be utterly compelling.
10. @TheMichaelMoran. I first met Mike on Facebook, and he was an early mentor of mine on Twitter. Media observer, television reviewer, all-round fabulous chap.
11. @HistoryNeedsYou. Genuinely indispensible. Really. Sir James Pennyman’s patient retellings of history, 140 characters at a time, are some of the very best things about Twitter.
12. @DavidAllenGreen. The New Statesman’s legal correspondent, writer of the excellent Jack Of Kent blog. Thought-provoking and never, ever dull.
13. @PlioceneBloke. Pliocene Bloke arrived on the scene earlier this year, recounting the day-to-day experiences of a caveman. The quality of the writing, and the fact that it’s very, very funny, make this a work of genius. Recently, the Bloke teased us by getting trapped in a bog and I really thought it was all over for him. He also coined the phrase ‘not invent yet.’ One day I would like the shake the hand of whoever’s behind Pliocene Bloke.
14. @RevRichardColes. Tweet by tweet painting a picture of life as a parish priest that’s easily as vivid and vibrant as Lark Rise to Candleford. A joy to read.
15. @sixthformpoet. One of the earliest people I followed. Incredibly smart and funny.
16. @TicBot. Yes, I recommend you follow a bot. Why? TicBot is a bot programmed to produce tweets based on the tics of Tourette’s sufferer Jess Thom – who also tweets as @touretteshero and should also be on everyone’s follow list.
17. @damiengwalter. Damien is thinking hard about science fiction, and writing in general. I don’t always agree with him, but everyone should read him. He’s a top bloke as well, incidentally.
18. @ellaboheme. Lotty writes a blog of great beauty and fragility, a thing of great wonder to me. I think she’s one of the great unsung writers of Twitter, and everyone should read her.
19. @OhLookBirdies. Sebas is taking a break from Twitter for the moment, but he’s one of the most consistently funny and entertaining people about.
20. @BenedictFarse. For some reason, I think of Benedict as the Derek Raymond of Twitter, which probably does him a huge disservice. A genuinely original mind and huge fun to read.
21. @Wytchfinder_Gen. ‘If I were in Kenny Balls Jazzmen, I would be a treat forsooth I woulds’t wear mukky grey y-fronts and cry my fukking eyes out as I played..’ Matthew Hopkins writes this wonderfully idiomatic stuff and makes every tweet a joy to read.
22. @sturdyAlex. Former lawyer Alex Andreou is, like many of my other recommendations, a very fine writer and, I suspect, a very decent man too.
23. @mrsnickyclarke. Not afraid of a fight, Nicky is utterly tireless in defence of disabled rights and the rights of carers. In any sane world she would be running the country and we would all be better off for it.
24. @francesbarber13. Just very, very funny, and never, ever dull.
25. @arrroberts. Adam Roberts is one of our very best writers. Witty, erudite, and with a deliciously twisted sense of humour. He knows his way round a pun, too, probably in several archaic languages.
26. @welsh_gas_doc. Should be running the NHS. ‘Nuff said.
27. @OctoberJones. A delight. His Texts From Dog are fabulous.
28. @jacques_aih. Very sharp, very funny.
29. @RealPengy. Continually daring the Powers That Be to sue him. Frequently angry. Good man.
30. @gdorean. I love this chap’s sense of humour; there’s a little bit of Flann O’Brien in his writing, I think.
31. @Pundamentalism. Again, very, very funny.
32. @cluedont. Ditto. Fantastic one-liners.
33. @fiatpanda. A properly sensible and funny man. Good stuff.
34. @al_vimh. Really very good stuff. Twitter wouldn’t be the same without Al.
35. @origami_owl. A really innovative artist who loves doing Twitter collaborations. I think his work is brilliant.
Twitter is full of fantastic people who I haven’t mentioned here, but they’re my friends. Go get your own.
(Yes. I know there are only 35 people in the list. Sue me.)