Twitter Loves Meta


A week ago a fake Cormac McCarthy tweet from a falsely verified account racked up over 120,000 likes before the account was suspended.

As someone casually familiar with McCarthy's work—we read The Road in high school English class—the tweet was stylistically convincing. It had no punctuation and used fancy words like "infernal." The writer for The Verge clearly paid more attention in class and was able to point out how out-of-character the tweet was.

The tweet and its follow-ups did display a level of meta humor incongruous with claims of unfamiliarity with Twitter. The tweet's actual author, operating behind a misspelled handle (@CormacMcCrthy, missing the "a" in "McCarthy") understood something key: audiences love themselves.

Even though the content of the tweet implicitly demeaned the very audience that poured viral attention, the adulation poured in. We believed that the great novelist would actually step on stage through the shattered remains of the fourth wall. That by walking among us he acknowledged our platform and community as important.

We who are in the business of getting attention online have a lot to learn from this tweet. Above all else, audiences love themselves, and you can demonstrate you share that love through appropriate use of meta humor.