Op-Ed | Who I Follow
Who I Follow: Miel Bredouw
How do the best accounts on Twitter use Twitter? How do they balance their Tweeting with their day job, how often do they check their mentions, and, most importantly, who are their favorite follows? In Who I Follow, we explore the habits of our favorite follows each month. This month’s edition is drawn from an interview with Miel Bredouw, comedian, writer, and host of the musical comedy podcast “Punch Up The Jam.”
When I first found out that my friends were Tweeting, I made a Twitter account, followed whoever was popular at that time, and desperately tried to be funny. I was definitely trying to sound like other people, because I thought that's what Twitter was for. I gave up pretty quickly. When Vine came about, it was just a fun outlet, I wasn't thinking about it as an opportunity, because back then social media had nothing to do with career — it was a hobby.
I remember making this Vine with my brother, checking my phone and realizing, “Oh my god, people like this.” I really thought it meant something until a week later, I was like, “Right, my life's exactly the same.” So I’ve never taken it that seriously, or at least I've tried not to. But certainly, when you have a piece of content, get that little fire emoji next to it, there is something strangely validating, especially once I did start putting more effort into it and actually tried to refine my comedic voice and figure out who I wanted to be online.
I think I'm still figuring out when to Tweet something versus when to put it in my pocket and work it into something. I’m big-time into drafts, so I'll save [a Tweet] to drafts and then later it might hit me, “Oh, that joke I was trying to figure out, I need to rearrange the order.” But that's probably 20% of the things I actually Tweet. Most of the things that live in the drafts die in the drafts. The drafts are a wasteland. [laughs]
If you're into #FilmTwitter at all, Karen Han has the wildest takes. She’s big into the director Bong Joon-ho, big time into that. My friend Jill Gutowitz, she Tweets the most ridiculous shit from a queer female perspective, a perspective that I only want to see more of on the internet. I feel like no one's doing satire better than Reductress. I'm embarrassed by how many times I've thought something or said something to a friend and then in a few days, it's showed up on Reductress ironically, and I'm like, right, yeah, I'm the bad guy here. [laughs]
I know that everyone loves him but I think @jaboukie is almost single-handedly defining the voice of Twitter right now. You see Jaboukie Tweet something and then the next day, everyone's Tweeting in that same voice, and I don't even know if he's getting enough credit for that. Josh Gondelman is known for being the kindest comedian in the industry and periodically he hops on Twitter and just says “I'm around for five minutes if anyone needs a pep talk.” If people respond, he finds a real thing to say and validates people on Twitter pretty regularly; strangers, friends, anyone. It's beautiful.
Just now I'm reaching a point where I'm realizing it's one thing to mindlessly scroll, but when you're actively talking to people and maintaining conversations, it can end up taking a lot of currency that I might want to spend in other places. I think that the only way to stay true to yourself online is to not overthink it. So if you find yourself thinking, “This needs to be funny,” I don't know, maybe by trying to be funny, you're actually being less authentic, which is inherently less interesting.
“Punch Up the Jam,” until a few months ago, was half Demi Adejuyigbe. We met on Vine, so our common ground is a social media literacy. I have found, just make it fun, keep it light. I also think in podcasting, when you listen, you're a part of a conversation that you're not actually able to be a part of. Social media can be the bridge for people to be able to feel like they’re contributing.
Demi brilliantly thought of this emoji clue thing. We have such a unique format for our show that what song we do is half the reveal, so being able to promote the song in a sneaky way, 24 hours out, and get people drummed up to listen to it — it promotes hype.
When I took over the podcast entirely, I was worried about how to maintain the clues, and pretty quickly I realized, don't try to do what he did, do emoji ciphers in the way you would do them. For the “Steal My Sunshine” episode, there's so many orange mopeds [in the music video] and they're all riding in this formation, so I just Tweeted a triangle of orange moped emoji. I love that he came up with that, it's such a gift.
Who I Follow
How do the best accounts on Twitter use Twitter? Explore the habits of our favorite follows.