Allegra Ringo lives in LA, where she writes for VICE and CollegeHumor as well as her Maude team at the UCB Theatre. She spends most of her free time hanging out with her dog Pistachio and yelling about the patriarchy. Recently, I asked Ringo for some behind-the-scenes information about three of her favorite tweets, and we talked about Reading Rainbow, the intersection between jokey tweets and ones about social justice, and her surprise when a silly tweet unexpectedly performs well.
Ringo: The Reading Rainbow song starts off with the pleasant imagery of a “butterfly in the sky,” then proceeds to tell the butterfly in question that the narrator is better than it at flying. It just struck me as a weirdly aggressive move to pull on this butterfly that’s just flying around minding its own business.
Were you watching Reading Rainbow when you wrote this or was it just on your mind? Do you think one or the other is more common when you tweet about a specific reference like this?
Weirdly, I was not watching Reading Rainbow when I wrote this. It was just on my mind for some reason, and I wish I could remember why. Usually, though, if I tweet about a specific reference it’s because the thing is right in front of me.
Would you say that more often you find yourself surprised at what kind of tweets resonate with people or is it something you can sense as you’re writing?
I’m almost always surprised! My tweets that have done well have mostly been silly thoughts about guys or dogs that popped into my head. And on the other side, whenever I’ve written a tweet and thought, “this is it. This is the one that blows up the Internet,” inevitably it’s a total flop.
This is kind of a joke but also just kind of my real feelings. I hate dating, and I love dogs. I tweeted this during a time when I was single and going on a lot of boring dates, and I was fantasizing about a better world; one where my time was spent primarily with dogs instead of boring men.
Do you ever struggle with keeping your Twitter balanced between jokes and less jokey feelings or observations? (Is that something you think about?)
I don’t think about it too hard. Most of my tweets are jokey, but I sometimes tweet about more serious social justice-type stuff, especially feminist issues that are in the news. My favorite thing is when there’s an opportunity for overlap overlap, like when the hashtag #INeedMasculismBecause was trending. People (including me) used that hashtag to make fun of men’s rights activists, and it was a lot of fun.
My friend Kaitlin (@Kaitlin_B_) and I like to discuss how all guys love the movie Drive. They cannot get enough of it. This tweet is a tribute to that fact and to the comedy stylings of 1990s standups.
Do you have favorite styles (such as 1990s standup) you like to use when you tweet?
I’m not super married to any particular style. Looking over my Twitter, I guess I use a lot of straight-up sarcasm, which makes me feel like a jerk.
Do you have favorite styles or formats you like to see other people use when they tweet?
I like tweets best when they don’t follow an established format. My favorite kind of tweets are sort of free-formish thoughts that point out some kind of tiny truth. Especially if it’s about dogs.
Jenny Nelson lives and writes in Brooklyn and works at Funny or Die.