I never wanted a Twitter.

Then I learned that “joke Twitter” was a thing. Did you know it’s a thing? (That’s why we have Favstar.)

But it is, and it’s actually a very cool thing. Here are 12 things I learned about that thing by writing at least 5 jokes every day for the last 3 months.

1. Being nice is nice

Saying thank you is nice. For getting a trophy from a Favstar Pro user, for getting a shoutout, when someone visits your TL and shows it lots of love.

Not stealing other people’s jokes is nice. Letting other people know how much their joke made you choke on your drink because it was so hilarious is nice. Being quick to praise and slow to partake in mean-spirited fuckery is the best kind of nice.

Here is June being nice to me. Isn’t that nice?

2. DM rooms are wonderful

And busy and sometimes annoying and pointless and just plain too much. If you’re doing it wrong.

If you’re doing it right, there are friendships to be made. Things to learn. (Did you know there’s DM rooms just for workshopping tweets?) Ideas to be had. (Also ones for coming up with contest ideas/running them.) Ridiculous gifs and photoshop jobs to share. (Hey Greenz.)

Some tips:

  • Turn the room notifications off.
  • Check in a couple times a day.
  • And try not to get obsessed, because it’s likely the people in those rooms with you are super cool and all you want to do is shoot the shit with them all day.

Here is the joke I tweeted just before Burt got in touch with me about joining a DM room. He never said so, but I’d like to think my genius burst forth through this joke with such great force that it poked Burt in the eye and said, “Notice me! And my stupid jokes, too!”

3. Some big accounts just want to help

It’s true. What? Why? But I am so small and sometimes very stupid and sometimes I write very terrible jokes.

But sometimes I don’t. And I’m lucky a handful of lovely folks noticed that. Surely they’re very busy people who have lots of other worthwhile things to do, and yet they chose to take a few minutes out of their day to shine the light on lil ole me. Ain’t it sweet?

I feel very warmly towards Dave Cactus—I swear to god the first person that ever really noticed me on Twitter and helped me win lots of followers and Twitter love.

Dave helped get Toxic’s attention, who has also been very kind to me.

June is another lovely lady who’s taken an interest in me. And trust me, she’s just the best.

And Burt, of course, for noticing me before all this, in a different way, and wanting to include me in some DM rooms. He just could not resist my McDonald’s jokes. Kiss kiss, Burt. Come home soon.

This is the tweet that made my Twitter notifications blow up. It was a wild night full of laughter, tears, chicken wings, and memories.

4. There are rules of etiquette

Some spoken, some not so much.

They mostly come down to this:

  • Don’t steal jokes
  • Don’t be a tool
  • Be nice.

Be mindful enough to take notice of how things work around joke Twitter and do what’s right and you won’t have to worry about “rules” at all.

5. You will get discouraged by the comedic genius of others

And then you’ll choose to let it inspire you instead of hold you back from your work. And you’ll keep on writing anyway.

Because although that sounds heavy and although “joke Twitter” sounds like some big, fun, non-serious thing, it’s art and it’s comedy. Writing jokes takes work and it does take work to get good at it.

Appreciating that will make you feel good about what you’re doing and help you feel a connection to others who take the time to do the same. You’re writing. You’re making people laugh. It’s a noble thing, indeed.

Don’t get yourself down; watch and learn. Pay attention to those who are better than you. And take notes.

When I see this tweet I would like to cry and spank myself on my naughty hairless bottom for being such a dry, humorless fool.

6. Honesty is not the quickest way to the top, but it’s the best way

Serial following is not being genuine. Stealing the work of others is not being honest.

For some people, it literally does pay to be dishonest. But when you realize you’re ripping off the work and ingenuity of someone else—someone who put in the time, the effort, and is probably a pretty cool person—you realize it’s not really worth it at all.

7. These friends are real

Don’t let anyone tell you they’re not. Because you met on Twitter, because you haven’t actually “met”, because they live somewhere else. These things don’t matter.

From affectionate and subtle interactions I’ve quietly witnessed in DM rooms I’ve learned of powerful friendships among their members—friendships I know have existed long before I got there—and felt just warmed to my gosh dang heart. I’m not there yet, personally, as far as making close friends goes. But I know I’m in the right place.

Here is June laying down some very real shit.

8. …And you WILL make friends

As long as you’re decent, which you probably are. Would you like to be friends?

There are weird-ass people here on Twitter. Keep tweeting your personal brand of weird-ass shit and I’ll bet you find your weird-ass people in no time.

Who would want to be friends with this person? I don’t know, but all the same I’ve tricked them into falling for me.

9. Style is cool

Having your own is cool. Appreciating others’ is cool.

Mimicking others out of appreciation and naming them as your inspiration is very cool. (Thank you, Nic. Thank you Andrew. Mucho love.)

But being too cool—to participate, to respond, to be nice—is not cool. That’s not style. That’s being a toolbag.

10. …And so is participation

Look out for contests and participate.

There’s this thing called “sending & checking” where you reply to someone’s tweet with links to some of your own tweets (that’s the send part!) and then go check out their tweets and sprinkle on them likes and RTs.

Do that too.

Here are some contest Twitters to look out for:

11. Your job is to provide value

If you want followers, that is.

As far as feedback systems go, the level of interaction you get on Twitter is second only to a room full of people and a microphone. (We’re talking about standup, here, friends.)

It’s a gift. The feedback you get from the Twitter community is a gift, even if that feedback is none. Especially if that feedback is none.

Even if you really thought your diaper joke (that you won’t even link because it’s so stupid and failed so hard and are pretty sure you deleted—did you notice we’re talking about me?) was genius and that everyone else is just a bunch fools who have not yet graduated to your transcendental level of comedic genius. (It turns out this was not the case.)

The people want what the people want, and through trial and error you’ll learn to give them what they want. Because we want to give them what they want—we want to make them laugh.

Don’t ask why you don’t have more followers. And don’t ask why more people aren’t paying attention to you. Give them a reason to pay attention. Ask where you lack in value. And do your best to fix that.

This is just one sampling of the immeasurable value I provide to my many lucky followers. I haven’t been asked on a date yet, though, and I’m not sure why.

12. You will meet someone on the other side of the country, or the planet, who has the exact same pet peeves as you, or who just wants to help you learn how to eat marmite on toast the right way

…And because of people like them, you’ll feel a little bit better about the human race. (Thanks, ladies’ DM room that complain about creepy internet dudes in a hilarious way with me. Thanks @trojansauce.)

And that’s the nicest of all. Because for every asshole (there’s lots of them), there’s at least one cool cat who likes the same stuff you do and just wants to be nice to you. (There’s lots more of these.)

Don’t let anyone bitch to you about how the internet is a waste of time or how it’ll be the death of social interaction. Because if you do it the right way, it’s neither of those things.

If you do it the right way, you can learn 12 very valuable lessons in 12 short weeks. You can get inspired, get some practice, and get some friends.

And you’ll have lots of weird-ass jokes to show for it.