What is Weird Twitter?

Hard to say.

It's sorta this neo-digital, backroom yakuza party fueled by inside jokes that *racks brain for funny reference” post-post-modern Geocities!

Try to spell out Weird Twitter and 139 times out of 140 you'll sound like Stefon describing New York's hottest club.

Weird Twitter started around three years ago in a musty corner of Twitter Dot Com when a core group of users began writing in a less accessible form—sloppy punctuation, stage directions, throwaway character names, choppy timbre, screwy formatting—to amuse each other. And it confused the hell out of everyone else. Until, in the last year or two, normal tweeps stopped scratching their heads and began throwing them back in laughter, yours truly included. And, just like that, Weird Twitter went the way of bowties. Check out @DennysDiner—liberator of such tweets as "hashbrowns on fleek"—for proof Weird Twitter not only went mainstream, but done got monetized.

Once the secret got out, pubs and bloggers poked at and tried to dissect the discovery. Who started it? Who was involved? What was the point? Years later, the answers to these questions are still "we don't know" and "haha we definitely don't know." Worse, bringing these questions to the surface made the thing pretty much explode, the way bringing a deep sea creature to the surface makes it pretty much explode. Weird Twitter was suddenly aware it was special. Appalled originators dipped out of the sub-culture, presumably to work on the next secret thing we'll toss our cookies over. Newcomers tried to get their foot in. And probably a host of other chain reactions that weren't properly documented because, well, it's Twitter. But so, putting Weird Twitter on blast changed Weird Twitter.

Maybe more important, though, is that unearthing Weird Twitter changed the rest of Twitter. At least a bit.

But in a word, yeah, #Menswear Twitter might be out here actually changing how lurkers think about clothes, which is both scary and cool, but makes sense.

A kindred overlap would be how the Internet changed menswear into #menswear, which gave rise to what I'll call #Menswear Twitter. #Menswear Twitter is a screwball cabal of side zipper-obsessed madmen who communicate through rap lyrics (miss me wit it!), slang about clothes (The "Alphet" Rises) and ladies who lunch revelations about what a burden it is to be an #influencer

The similarities between #Menswear Twitter and Weird Twitter are obvious. It takes time to develop an ear for the #Menswear Twitter lingua franca. But, once you do, and start to recognize its core members—a few Pinz alums and their chums, a bevy of style writers, a photog or five, a few parody accounts—a profile starts to take shape. It's a culture that ridicules itself, which you know if you've ever watched your timeline crumble under the weight of a "read @Four_Pins once" mortar strike. It's also got its own look and feel. Some of the stage directions and formatting are shamelessly lifted from Weird Twitter, but #Menswear Twitter has made the trend all its own. Throwaway acronyms like "tbh" and "lmao," and numbers used in places of words like "to" and "for"—not to save any characters, mind you—land like matter of fact bookends delivered by a comedian high enough to believe anything he says is insightful. And, entre-nous, it's usually pretty hilarious.

The key differences between these two Twitter flavors, though, are more interesting. Weird Twitter was weird for weird's sake. #Menswear Twitter is weird to make light of relatively serious business: the shit we put on in the am before we present ourselves to the world. Even if #Menswear Twitter's chieftains never intended that (probably just doing it to make the crew laugh over brunch), it's hard to imagine newcomers not taking a few of their opinions to heart. Which can actually change how people look at clothes, since 90% of #menswear exists on social media. So, I ask you, does that make #Menswear Twitter more influential than Weird Twitter is/was?

As with anything without a definition, or clear boundaries, an answer is just an opinion. But in a word, yeah, #Menswear Twitter might be out here actually changing how lurkers think about clothes, which is both scary and cool, but makes sense. #Menswear—and #Menswear Twitter by association—is a culture bent on finding the next cool trend, endorsing it for a spell, then abandoning it for something more en flique. So #Menswear Twitter isn't influential because of Weird Twitter. Weird Twitter is just something else for #Menswear Twitter to devour and move on from once the energy runs out. Did I just describe Galactus?

Rick Morrison is a writer living in North Carolina. Follow him on Twitter here.