At the time of this writing, Anne, who you can find on Twitter under the handle @ventriclemouse, lives in Chicago and works at a library. This week I spoke with Anne about three of her favorite tweets, plus baby animals, nice and good things, and staying in her own space on Twitter.
*Interviewer looks over résumé* “Interview question: what is your biggest weakness?” Baby goats. “…” … “You’re hired” *we shake hands*— Anne (@ventriclemouse) December 4, 2013
Anne: I don’t mind job interviews very much, but ones that ask these types of interview questions make me feel like I’m being tricked into playing a game. Well, baby goats are the trump card in this game. They have cute feet, cute tails, cute ears, they move in cute ways, and their eyes are weird.
Do you have favorite topics to tweet about? Are there any topics that you don’t like to tweet about?
I like to tweet about nice things and I do not like to tweet about mean things. My favorite topics are animals and ghosts, me being friends with them, them being friends with each other. I just want everyone to be friends. I tweet about demons and being anxious, but I don’t exactly like doing that, it’s just a way for me to put those thoughts somewhere. I try not to talk too much about my personal life including anything about being on Twitter, and I keep from @ ing people as much as possible, especially people I don’t know. I feel like I am invading their space.
How long ago did you join Twitter, and has the way you use it changed much since you joined?
I joined Twitter in April 2008, but I didn’t use it heavily until 2012 or so. I think I was just testing things out. I remember saying I wanted to “figure out Twitter” enough to reach one hundred followers, then quit. I didn’t quit, and now I just talk a lot more now, including things about myself, which can start feeling like gross oversharing.
If you have ever held a medium size fish in your hands, alive or dead, that is what it is like to talk to me. — Anne (@ventriclemouse) April 2, 2014
This is an accurate description of being in a conversation with me. I don’t really even know how to explain it in any other words, but it’s all there, for both sides (my side is being the fish).
What are your favorite things to read on Twitter?
I like to see as many animal pictures as I can without following only animal picture accounts. I tend to follow artists, comedians, activists, librarians, scientists, and Chicago people even when I am not sure what they do. I see a lot of animal pictures from those, and I like to see a mix of jokes, creative things, and people caring about the same things I care about. Hatred really can find its way into every little piece of the Internet, but I have been able to avoid a lot of it or at least balance it with some good things.
“A pup tent is as good a place to cry as any.” Pup Tent Weekly. Volume 7, Issue 3.— Anne (@ventriclemouse) October 21, 2015
I don’t cry as often as it seems like I do from Twitter. I also don’t read Pup Tent Weekly, so I hope I didn’t get anyone excited for the latest issue.
How similar is your voice in IRL to your voice on Twitter?
I don’t talk much in real life. I’m really shy. I think some people who know me outside of the Internet are surprised that I have any thoughts to share at all.
For similarities, I compromise a lot of what I’m saying, “well, you know, like, I guess, like, I don’t really know” and those types of phrases. I don’t think I have a great handle on my speaking voice or my written voice. I rarely go back and read what I write, and when I do it’s like when you hear your own voice and feel horrible for making people listen to you.
What, if any, are elements of your sense of humor that you think don’t come across on Twitter as well as others? Are there elements that you find do come across really well?
I don’t know what my sense of humor is or how to describe that, but I think details come across well on Twitter, or snapshots of my inner world or something like that. It’s like building a little Universe for myself, and people have to accept the things I say as part of my Universe’s deal.
When things don’t come across well, it’s usually because I made something that felt complete to me, but someone responds with a comment or addition of their own that’s way off the mark of what I was reaching for. I want to be nice about it, but sometimes I treat Twitter like a one-player game and it’s jarring to get reminders that it isn’t really like that.
Jenny Nelson lives and writes in Brooklyn and works at Funny Or Die.