The Twitter Hall of Shame: 50 Tweets That Will Echo in History

Updated: May 15, 2009

Twitter is a fun Web 2.0 communications tool that allows users to deliver quick messages of 140 characters or less. The hastiness and ephemeral nature of these messages means that Twitter has become more than a communication tool — it's a source of angry, funny and awkward messages that would be sometimes best left unsaid. Whether they're embarrassing or just interesting, these tweets are worth preserving.

Political

The 2008 U.S. presidential election is the most Internet-fueled race to date. Check out these related tweets.

  1. Abandoned by John Edwards: Before John Edwards dropped out of the presidential race, he dropped out of the Twitter community without a word.
  2. Debate Torrent: USofA discussed torrenting the Democratic Debates.
  3. Downing Street Shirks Back: Downing Street doesn't engage in emotive political dialogue.
  4. Barack Obama Gets Snarky: Sen. Obama mused about a second-place vice-presidency offer.

Popular Culture

These tweets focus on shameful pop-culture conversations.

  1. Predicting "American Idol": These users shared their "American Idol" preferences on Twitter.
  2. "Showgirls": This Twitter user admitted to watching "Showgirls."
  3. "American Idol" Spoilers: There were a variety of funny and embarrassing posts about spoiling the "American Idol" finale.

Corporate

See what kind of hilarity ensues when corporations try to use Twitter.

  1. Comcast Complaints: Comcast found out what customers really think of it on Twitter.
  2. Moonman: MTV Networks tries to reach out via Twitter.
  3. The New York Times: The New York Times uses its Twitter feed to push headlines, so it's no wonder that the majority of subscribers are just other The New York Times feeds.
  4. Innocent Drinks on Twitter: Innocent Drinks has been criticized for creating a one-sided, underused Twitter account.
  5. Comcast's One-Person Outage: Michael Arrington publicly complained about his Comcast connection and got results.

Society

These tweets highlight a few embarrassing social moments.

  1. Banned from The 2008 Time 100: Julia Allison realized that she's in a class of her own.
  2. Laurel Touby Brags: Laurel sent out a few tweets about her dinner with two "Bloomergonians."
  3. Drunk Twittering: Zappos.com Inc. offers a warning against Twittering while drunk.
  4. Twitter Wine Tasting: Project Vino held a Twitter wine-tasting party.
  5. Arrested: A University of California, Berkeley grad student told his Twitter followers that he's been arrested, and they came to his rescue.

At Work

Twitter isn't all fun and games — sometimes, you bring it to work.

  1. Fired: Former Yahoo! Inc. employee Ryan Kuder used Twitter to document the progress of his layoff from the company.
  2. Hard at Work: Alex Payne revealed the real reason behind Twitter's scaling problem.

Love and Family

These tweets get a little bit intimate.

  1. Twitter Marriage Proposal: This couple got engaged via Twitter.
  2. Forgotten Engagement: This couple forgot about their anniversary.
  3. Getting Personal: This user told Twitter about her sexual needs.
  4. Twitter Baby: Robert Scoble microblogged his newborn son's hospital delivery.

Mistakes

Check out these tweets that highlight accidents like unintentional pornography and needle-swallowing.

  1. GroupTweet: A user of GroupTweet accidentally posted her direct messages to the group account, sharing private conversations with a number of different people.
  2. Unintentional Pornorgraphy: One Twitter user checked out translation work, which turned out to be pornography.
  3. Twitter Suicide: A man contemplates suicide, and his Twitter friends sort of come to his rescue.
  4. Matching Titles: Mashable used the same title as SocialTimes.com about an hour after the original article was posted.
  5. Opposite Day: Twitter had a bug that caused some users to log in and send updates as other people.
  6. Trashing PC Magazine: Steve Rubel, of public-relations firm Edelman, posted that he throws his free PC Magazine in the trash, which prompted a backlash from clients who pitch to the magazine.
  7. Needle Swallowing: Jenny of The Bloggess worried that she might have inadvertently swallowed a needle.
  8. Primal Tweet: One user let out a primal scream of 140 uppercase A's with no breaks, screwing up the formatting for his own Twitter and his followers.

Spoofs

In these tweets, the joke was on the readers.

  1. PayPerTweet: On April Fools' Day, ProBlogger launched PayPerTweet, an advertising service.
  2. PodTech.net Firing: Chuck Olsen tweeted that a PodTech.net employee was fired, and everyone believed him.

Anger

Tweets may grow old and tempers may calm, but these messages will live on forever.

  1. An Interviewer's Shame: This interviewer defended her highly criticized questions.
  2. Unfollow Me: Leo Laporte called for a boycott of Kevin Rose but later regretted it, as he was "drunk and out of control."
  3. Blaine Cook on Downtime: Blaine Cook, former architect of Twitter, took a cheap shot about Twitter's downtime using Twitter.
  4. Twitter Racism: Hayden Black posted a surprisingly rude tweet about Kanye West's dead mother.
  5. Name-Calling: After Twitter founder Evan Williams overheard a woman call the service boring, he mockingly called her a bitch via Twitter, and Valleywag posted it as a serious story.
  6. A Tweet Too Far: Although Twitter's terms of service forbids harassment, one user has trouble with enforcing this rule.

At Home

Twitter is often used for mobile updating, but these users decided to take home use to a whole new level.

  1. The Clapper: Justin Wickett set up a remote switch triggered by Twitter.
  2. Alarm-Clock Shame: Chris Adams uses Twitter to shame himself into getting up on time.
  3. Botanicalls: This tool will let you know when your plants are low on water.

Fakers

It's hard to say who these tweets embarrass more — the people who wrote them or the people being impersonated.

  1. Dvorak Versus Rupley: The Cranky Geeks practiced Twitter impersonation.
  2. CNN: A CNN spoof poked fun at Hillary Clinton's emotional state.
  3. The Dark Lord: Darth Vader tweeted about the balance of evil and more.

Funny

These tweets are shameful but funny.

  1. Toilet Humor: This comic followed a few Twitter updates that are a little immature and best kept private.
  2. Plane Crash: One user said that he or she can't wait to crash on the plane.
  3. Twenty-Two Incher: This tweet discussed a computer monitor, but it sounded like it was referring to something else.
  4. Twitter Cough: In Michael Arrington's test of TwitterFone, he sent out a coughing tweet.
  5. Awkward: Michael Arrington tweeted about Robert Scoble visiting his house after writing a critical post about advertising.
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