I encounter a lot of graduate and undergraduate students who feel that twitter is new to them and who wish they knew “how to do that.”
For these folks, I am an imperfect guide. My twitter account is a spare, barren thing. In truth, I’ve had several accounts, and I’ve deleted each one, walked away for a little while, and then come back too late to restore it. Given that the original notion of the thing was that Twitter would work like a police scanner, it just never clicked with me. My present account dates only to April of 2016. It went relatively unused for a while.
That changed in November of 2016. And I think I “do it better” now.
In the wake of the election, I deleted most of the people I was following and replaced them with historians and journalists, the better to track the blizzard of lies. The result is a twitter feed that, well, works more like a police scanner for those who feel like we’re watching a cascading series of West Wing felonies in progress.
So, for those students, here is an amateur’s list of extraordinary, insightful, indefatigable people worth following at the start, with voices worth hearing on Twitter’s lower frequencies and a penchant for retweeting stuff that is super important. Think of this as a “first cut,” with deeper cuts to be released by those who know a lot more than I do. (That is, those I list here).
Follow the retweets – and then follow some more.
@petridishes – AKA, Alexandra Petri, the gifted, darkly funny satirist for the Washington Post.
@nkjemisin - AKA, NK Jemisin, the Hugo-award winning sci-fi and fantasy writer and all-around superb world builder. (Also, seriously, read the Fifth Season).
@ktumulty - Karen Tumulty, another Washington Post columnist.
@Sifill_LDF - Sherrilyn Ifill, President & Director-Counsel of the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund
@jamilahking – journalist Jamilih King, who writes for Mother Jones, and is wicked smart.
@kwazana - scholar Kyla Wazana Tompkins of Pomona College, author of Racial Indigestions. Also, just an extraordinary mentor and thinker about inequity, power, and public life.
@seungminkim - Seung Min Kim is a reporter for the Post. And not just any reporter: last week, during the debacle in the Senate Judiciary Hearing,I was glued to the feed of the Washington Post’s White House reporter Seung Min Kim. Amazing insight and details in the midst of a powerful political crisis.
@marthasjones_ - Martha Jones is a historian at John Hopkins and all-around genius about 19th century history, birthright citizenship, and the struggles for democracy that really resonate now.
@roopikarisam - Roopika Risam is a professor at Salem State and the author of New Digital Worlds. A fantastic digital humanist.
@LisaDNews - Lisa Desjardins is a glibly humorous, story-breaking news correspondent for the PBS NewsHour.
@JessicaValenti - Jessica Valenti is the author of Sex Object and a writer for Medium.
@JamilahLemieux - the all-around awesome black feminist writer and speaker and public intellectual.
@tressiemcphd – Tressie McMillan Cottom, author of Lower Ed and a Professor at Virginia Tech.
@rinkuwrites – Rinku Sen is an amazing organizer and anti-racist activist.
@VABVOX - Victoria Brownworth, an investigative journalist, cancer survivor, and writer for multiple venues.
@JRubinBlogger – Jennifer Rubin was, for a long time, a conservative voice on the Post’s page who vexed me. She still does, sometimes. But for some long time now, she has been a singular right-leaning voice on the best political newspaper in the country.
@nhannahjones - Nicole Hannah Jones writes many, many excellent things for the New York Times.
@ProfCAnderson - Carol Anderson is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies at Emory, and the author of, most recently, of One Person, No Vote.
@sarahkendzior - Sarah Kendzior is a scholar of authoritarian regimes who now finds herself in the unenviable position of understanding our national predicament better than almost anyone else.
@rgay - Roxane Gay is, at once, the funniest, sharpest, most insightful pop culture critic I know.
@annehelen – Anne Helen Petersen, Senior Culture Writer at Buzzfeed.
@Historiann - AKA Ann Little, award winning historian, trailblazing blogger, and deeply committed straight-talker.