Opening Twitter can be like a walk into an anxiety-inducing hell, but thanks to screenshots of good tweets that people collect, the best way to experience Twitter is through Instagram.
And now, Twitter wants its due.
Twitter used its official Instagram account this morning to post a petty message about how Instagram users use tweets to rack up likes.
The message, seen in the screenshot below, spans six boxes (6 crops from one tweet screenshot) to spell out that Twitter knows what everyone is up to, it sees you, and it’s about to do the same thing. Clout is still clout.
The tweet is real, and, upon further investigation, Twitter’s team did reach out to ask if they could use it. Since then, Twitter has decided to play into Instagram’s game. The account is now posting screenshots of random tweets. (I think they’re supposed to be funny.)
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This isn’t a new phenomenon. People, especially those under the age of 30, figured out long ago that Twitter could be used as a way to boost Instagram accounts. The way that tweets present themselves in screenshots is funnier on Instagram, creators told The Verge last year. It’s also why visual gags on sites like Tumblr can perform better on Twitter or Instagram as screenshots. A tweet that might do decently well on Twitter before it’s lost forever to the constantly moving timeline can play out much better on Instagram.
“You’d think, ‘I have a viral account on Instagram. Almost 50,000 people pay attention to me. Surely they care about what I’m tweeting?’” one creator, Cori Amato Hartwig, told The Verge. “But people absolutely do not give a single shit about what you’re tweeting,” she says. “When I post on Instagram, I can expect about 2,000 likes a post. With Twitter, I expect about two retweets and 20 to 30 likes.”
Twitter curating its own feed of good tweets to follow, even if it’s on Instagram, is a smart social play. It allows the company to appear more conversational and cool (in a way less cringe-inducing way than its main Twitter account) without having to put in much effort. Just screenshot a tweet, post to Instagram, and voilà! Fans.
The original six-photo Instagram spread might be petty, but it’s also enjoyable content. And considering the state of Twitter most days, it’s a welcome respite.