Chris Scott is your friend. He lives, works, writes, gardens, kayaks, and bakes pies in Boston, Massachusetts. He grew up in Illinois and has never shared a flight with Emmy award winner Edie Falco. He reviews movies he hasn’t actually seen, and he sometimes pretends to be the kid from Jurassic Park, who’s now an adult, at @The_Tim_Murphy. This week Scott spoke with me about three of his favorite tweets, and he told me about turkey trots, toilets, and the protective feelings he gets about certain pieces of writing.
Maybe it's just something about the 3 other people on this yacht but I can't shake this sense of four boatingChris Scott (@iamchrisscott) February 28, 2013
Do you often feel protective of your jokes?
Not at all. I’ll fully admit that a lot of my jokes occupy a space somewhere between ok and awful. I’m just protective of this particular one because a few people have told me, repeatedly, that it’s a really bad joke. So then I feel the need to defend it. On the other hand, a few other people have told me that this joke is good. Those people are right, in my opinion.
Do you think Twitter makes it easy or difficult to be precious about jokes and thoughts?
Difficult, for me. I’m much more protective of short stories and essays I’ve written (which are all flawless by the way) if only because they take a lot more thought and attention and emotional investment, and feel more representative of who I am as a person. For the most part, Twitter – at least for me – is such an ephemeral and unending stream of off-the-cuff silliness that it’s difficult for me to get too precious about any of the jokes I make. Of course, I’d always rather people not make fun of my tweets. And I’ve had people plagiarize my tweets before, and I’d rather they not do that either. But there’s a lot of things I’d rather people not do, like drive aggressively, or kill elephants for their tusks, or refuse to flush after using a public restroom, which is absolutely insane to me that full grown adults still do this, in the year 2015. Like I go to a toilet, which everybody uses, and I have to literally flush someone else’s urine because they didn’t feel like doing it themselves, or they just don’t give a shit about anybody else? It’s madness. Nothing is more baffling to me. Anyway, I have a whole list on my computer.
A good comeback when someone doesn't believe you're a time traveler is "Yeah well nobody cried at your funeral."Chris Scott (@iamchrisscott) September 12, 2014
Have you noticed the way you tweet change over time/if so, how?
I honestly haven’t paid close enough attention, but I doubt it’s changed too much. When I had fewer followers I did feel a little more free to do shit that was funny only to me. For example, and this is true, I spent a couple months in the fall of 2012 training for the Alexandria Turkey Trot 5-miler in Virginia, and I did a thing where I tweeted only about the Alexandria Turkey Trot for a month and literally nothing else. Every day was just a dozen or thirty tweets about the turkey trot, and they got progressively more unhinged and obsessed with each passing day. Some friends who knew me were in on the joke, but to most people who didn’t know me, I probably came across as this mild-mannered guy who out of the clear blue sky one day decided to devote 100% of his attention, hopes, dreams, and fears to the annual Alexandria Turkey Trot for no real reason at all. I lost a lot of followers, and people explicitly asked me to stop, and pretty much nobody thought it was funny except for me. But me was all I needed then, you know?
How do you think your tone and style on Twitter compare to your voice in other writing and in real life?
I sense that I’m a little more reserved in real life than on Twitter, but I’m not sure. I get that a lot of social media is vanity and performance and presenting an ideal version of yourself to the world, but it would be exhausting, I think, to create a persona on Twitter that’s vastly different from who you are in real life. And I’ve had the good fortune of getting to meet a handful of people in real life who I first met on Twitter and on every occasion they’ve been just as delightful and smart and hilarious as they came across on Twitter. Not that I’m saying I’m delightful and smart and hilarious. That’s really up to other people to say, as often and to as many of their friends as possible.
Sometimes I'll just point at trucksChris Scott (@iamchrisscott) April 30, 2014
Would you say it’s more gratifying to tweet out earnest non jokes like this one or jokes?
I don’t know that I would describe any tweet I’ve ever done as particularly gratifying. I know that the people I most enjoy following are good at mixing it up, so it’s not all jokes all the time. So sometimes I’ll throw out an opinion about a book or an album or a TV show, and nobody cares at all, but I’ll just put it out there for the hell of it, just to see what happens. “American Horror Story is bad.” “This Vince Staples record is excellent.” And so forth. And then other times I’ll just point at trucks.
Jenny Nelson lives and writes in Brooklyn and works at Funny Or Die.