Whether you are or not, everyone just wants to be loved and envied. No, shh, it's true. And thanks to the ease of the internet, you can finally realize the dream. Here's how to be the center of Twitter attention.
Twitter, as delusional and perverse as it may be, serves as a social barometer of the day. Unlike Facebook, where piling on the friends becomes sort of gauche, the higher your follower count, the more influential and weight you appear to be. You may in fact be an idiot and a charlatan, but that doesn't matter—people love a growing number. With some sneaky steps and a little strategy, you too can bloat your followers, even if you're not worth following.
Twitter makes it easy to import contacts, trawling your Facebook and Gmail accounts for people you know and maybe even like who are also tweeting. Load up both of these accounts, and follow everyone. All of them. If this list includes people you don't really care for, that's alright—you won't actually have to read their drivel cascade. All you want is for them to get the email notification that you're on Twitter, in the hopes they'll follow you back—so go ahead and hammer ‘unfollow' until you've culled out the crap contacts.
This gives you a nice foundation.
This is so, so important! By and large, hashtags are worthless, inane, and linguistically cancerous. But everyone loves them, so get over it and start tweeting popular ones. Find what's trending on Twitter, and exploit that, hard.
Many hashtags take the form of a group joke—#neversaythisonafirstdate, or something like that, rather than news of a meteor explosion or celebrity death. These are ones you can participate in as much as you want, but more importantly, people will be scanning trending hashtags to read the jokes of others. If you tweet along, your name will show up in the list, exposing you to thousands upon thousands of potential followers and followees of would-be followers. You follow? Maybe your contribution is witty. Maybe your picture is attractive (subtip: pic an appealing picture). Maybe someone will just follow you because they like clicking things (these people exist!). No matter what, getting yourself out there is good.
Say something about current events too. Was there an earthquake? "Oh my god did you feel that earthquake? #earthquake." Is today the day Facebook goes public? Make some lame joke about the Winklevoss twins, Facebook blah blah blah. It'll show up in search results.
But one hashtag per tweet, please, or you'll get murdered.
There's nothing honorable about this, but for the price of lunch, you can spam hundreds of thousands of people with your name. Go to Pay4Tweet, pick a couple of accounts—fake celebrity profiles do well!—and tell everyone to follow you. Then immediately walk to the bathroom, look into the mirror at your own bloodshot eyes, and contemplate what you've just done.
Did someone cool mention you in a cool tweet in a way that makes you cool? Don't retweet it. Reply instead. That way, it looks like you're "continuing the conversation" when it fact you're just "showing everyone else that you were mentioned by someone else," thereby making you look worthwhile.
Celebrities will retweet you if pretend it's your birthday and write something like OHHHHH MY GOD RIRI I LOVE YOU PLEASE PLEASE RETWEET ME IT'S MY BDAY!!!!!!. No results guaranteed here, but it happens. And then you're in the limelight. Alec Baldwin and Ricky Gervais are usually pretty good about this. So is Lil B, if the stars align.
Don't self-promote too much. Gizmodo reporter and Twitter self-promoter Mat Honan recommends a ratio of 1 self-promoting tweet to 10 tweets about whatever other shit you talk about. And if you have something really awesome to share about yourself, that could net you a ton of retweets. And retweets mean followers. And followers mean you, my friend, have made it.
Above all, be an interesting, cool person. Just be that way. Don't make bad jokes. Be smart. Can't you just be smart? Make astute observations and witty cracks. You can fish for all the follows you want, but ultimately, if you're just a boring suck, this is a lost cause. Perhaps that should've been mentioned earlier.
User Manual is Gizmodo's guide to etiquette. It appears as if by magic every Friday.