There are thousands of hilarious parents on Twitter. Of all stripes.
Many of them are featured in the Big Book of Parenting Tweets, and I am flattered to have been selected alongside so many funny moms and dads (I’m in the brand-new sequel too!). There are stay-at-home dads, working moms, gay dads, single moms, goofy dads, nerd moms, asshole dads (that’s me!), etc.
Aside from being parents, about the only thing we all have in common is our constant drinking. Which, of course, is one of the key steps towards being a funny parent on Twitter.
I use Twitter to vent. Because if there’s anything parents need, it’s a place to vent to other parents about how much parenting can suck, and this strange little social media platform has proven itself to be the perfect outlet.
The character limit forces brevity, and the brevity forces wit (it’s the soul of it, after all). If you want to write a long, heartfelt screed about the ways your kids are ruining your life, start a blog, or head to Facebook. But if you want to blow off some steam with a half-joking/dead-serious comment about your son’s frustrating refusal to take a bath, or your daughter’s insistence on wearing a tutu to school, Twitter is where it’s at. I’m happy to have found a place where I can make jokes at my son’s expense without being judged for it.
Let’s be honest, guys: I’m kind of a huge deal on Twitter. People constantly ask me, “Dad, how do you do it? How can I be funny on Twitter?” (No one has ever asked me that.) So I thought I’d try to help. Because I’m nothing if not a giver.
There isn’t really a trick to Twitter, whether you’re a parent or you live a luxurious child-free lifestyle. But I’ve put together a list of tactics that have worked for me. Attempt at your own risk.
How to Be a Funny Parent on Twitter
- Have kids! You’d think this would be a pre-requisite for being a funny parent, but in the online world, not having kids isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. Who’s gonna know? But it’s definitely a lot easier if you do; I can’t imagine having to drum up material without the endless fount of innocence, idiocy and irritation that my son provides. Without him ruining my life in painfully hilarious ways, I’d be stuck live-tweeting awards shows. Just be ready: getting Twitter material out of it is just about the only upside to parenting.
- Exaggerate. Hell, even lie outright. Who’s gonna know? Never let the truth get in the way of a good tweet. For example, I probably don’t hate my son as much as I say I do. And sure, sometimes I quote the kid verbatim, but sometimes I doctor it a bit, if only to it the 140 characters or to land with more impact. He’s just a child; he doesn’t know how to craft a joke. I’ve been in HuffPost Parents’ roundup of funniest tweets! I think I know what I’m doing a little more than someone who still calls cupcakes “cupcapes”. (Even if that is gold!)
- Disparage your kids. Seriously. Pretty much all I do is mock my son. While it admittedly comes very easily to me, since I hate my kid so damn much, but if you have the stomach for it, I encourage you all to do it. We’ll understand. It’s a little different if you’re sharing something Facebook or the Huffington Post, but on Twitter? Nobody takes it seriously. Parenting on Twitter – at least the corner of Twitter that I call home – is all about venting. It’s therapeutic, and a total blast, to sarcastically bash my kid, especially among like-minded individuals who know the score. Plus, it’s so easy. Kids are assholes. You’ll never run out of material and people will thank you, even if only in their heads, for saying what they’re thinking.
- Disparage yourself. Maybe you’re not comfortable mocking your kids. I get it. Not everyone has one as hateful as mine. But you’d better be comfortable mocking yourself. Twitter is no place for braggadocio. You don’t kiss your kids’ asses, and you sure as hell don’t kiss your own ass. Especially when you’re a parent. Because we’re in the trenches with you, and we know that anything you do right was just luck. You want a pat on the back for it? Go to Facebook. We want to laugh at your mistakes, not question our own.
- Drink. Don’t worry, you don’t have to. Not really. Truth be told, there probably aren’t a lot of people who write better when they’re drunk. But that’s not the point. The point is to talk about drinking. Parenting and drinking go hand in hand, like parenting and venting, or parenting and crying. Check out the mom accounts; every other tweet mentions wine! Does every mom who mentions wine have a bottle-a-day habit? Of course not. (See “Exaggerate” above.) Drinking is merely symbolic of relief. It’s codified into the language. Long day at work? Go to happy hour and have a drink. Fed up with your kids? Get them to bed and have a drink. Booze is the oasis in the desert of childcare and your chances of relating to other parents on Twitter increase exponentially if you buy in to that. No matter whether you’re typing while wearing a beer helmet or not (I am.)
- Engage in your kids’ lives! In real-life, your kids are a drain. On your free time, on your energy, on your bank account. But on Twitter? Your kids are your meal-ticket! Without my son, I’d have no one to mock on Twitter except the Kardashians and people who play hashtag games. And, believe it or not, when your kid is driving you up the wall, knowing you’re getting a good tweet out of it can actually calm you down. Honestly, sometimes I wind up my son on purpose, give him some food I know he won’t eat, and break out my pad and pencil. Favstar trophy here I come! (FYI: Favstar is a handy way to interact with other people’s best tweets without digging through their timelines, and it gives them access to yours as well. Put your link in your bio to get some more engagement – just don’t bother paying for Favstar pro.)
- Tweet! This should go without saying, but in order to be a successful tweeter, you have to actually tweet. It’s a muscle. The more you do it, the better you get at it, and the more you’ll show up on other people’s timelines. If you want to get noticed, getting out there is important. Engagement is really the key. The more you tweet, the more people you’ll interact with, the more opportunity your tweets have to be seen. Get lucky and get retweeted by a huge account, or by being featured in HuffPost Parents’ tweets of the week, and that’s even more exposure. It’s a circle that feeds on itself, and you can’t win if you don’t play.
One quick caveat before I go: Don’t let anyone try to tell you how or what to tweet, least of all me. Be yourself.
Just remember, you’ll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy than Twitter. It’s a lawless wasteland overrun with degenerates, lunatics, and perverts, and that’s just the parents!
Which is probably why I like it so much.