We’ve got @AndyAsAdjective in the Twitter interview seat today. Andy’s one of my Twitter buddies. He probably doesn’t know that, but he is. He’s on my “short list.” Not physically short, I have no idea how tall he is, but short, as in, the list is kept short so I can see more tweets by my favorites. If you’re not following Andy, go do it now. You’re in for some fun!
Facts about @AndyAsAdjective
Name: Andy Hardy
Living in: United States, Georgia, just north of Atlanta; originally from the foothills of the North Georgia mountains
Graduated high school: 1996. Voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in my senior class. Boy, were they off…
Joined Twitter: February 2011 – my first Tweet was about equal rights for women extending to killing a spider in one’s house.
Number of followers: I just recently crested 10k, which felt like a nice solid milestone; I think currently I’m right around 10.1k
On to the Interview!
Tell us about your family.
Married to my beautiful wife. We recently celebrated our 10-year anniversary. I have two daughters, one eight years old and one four. When I tweet about my family, it’s usually a hyper reality – I’m either being a jerk to my girls or them to me. And if one were to go strictly off the Twitter version of my wife, you’d think she sleeps a lot and thinks I’m an idiot. Okay, so maybe that part is actually reality, not hyper reality…
What do you do when you’re not on Twitter?
I work for an ad agency near Atlanta. My background is video but now I’m a manager in the digital department of our company, working on websites, emails, web ads and social media for our clients.
As for away from work, I love to run. I will run trails to clear my head and get away from the world. It’s meditation for me.
I like to go to college football games with my buddies (I’m a Georgia Tech fan). I like to golf, but I don’t get to do it as often as I used to. I also have an affinity for niche sports, like curling, croquet, shuffleboard and beer pong (Hey! That’s a sport!).
I also like to write – mainly poetry. I even self-published a book of my own poems (drastically different style than my tweets). But since Twitter came along, those writing opportunities have diminished.
*steps to podium *clears throat Stranger Danger Baby Jesus in a manger My favorite TV show is Walker Texas Ranger *wins poetry competition
— Andy H. (@AndyAsAdjective) July 14, 2013
Why did you join Twitter?
I joined Twitter because I like to make people laugh. I thought this would be the right avenue for that. At first, I followed celebrities, but then I got caught up in live-tweeting breaking news (I vividly recall being glued to Twitter during the Boston Marathon bombing, as well as embarrassingly live-tweeting the Academy Awards a couple of years ago – I think I deleted most of those).
Then I started to see the path that could take me to the realm of Twitter that sustains itself off of comedic creative writing. That’s where I hang out now. It’s not joke telling, it’s storytelling – with a humorous tint to it. I find it to be a very effective writing exercise for me – a challenge to myself to tell a story or convey a humorous thought in a way that hasn’t been done before.
When I first got into this subset of Twitter, I tried to be on my own and do nothing but my own tweets – no retweets (RTs). But I saw no growth. I was speaking to an empty room, so to speak. It wasn’t until I was exposed to Favstar that I saw what Twitter could truly be – a place to share your thoughts, but to also share the thoughts of others by way of RTs. It wasn’t just about me telling my jokes – it was even more about finding something that makes you laugh and sharing that with the world.
I became so proud and protective of my timeline – what showed up on my page. I don’t just wholesale RT dozens of tweets by one account at a time (what I’ve found is that sometimes that becomes white noise and you don’t get to truly dive into any one specific tweet like you do if it’s stand alone). Instead I hand pick ones that make me laugh, that strike me as funny and that impress me with their creativity. There is SO much of that out there in the Twitterverse. Within all of those RTs, I’ll do two or three of my own a day. And that sustains me now. I’m content with that.
What’s the meaning behind your handle, @AndyAsAdjective?
When I first joined Twitter, I wanted to describe myself with my handle. And to me “andy” feels like an adjective. It’s the perfect adjective to describe my personality in an “oh, that is soooo Andy” kind of way. My name is deeply connected to my personality, I’ve found. It sets the stage for how people view me. Andy is my name but also a way to describe me – very “andy”. It’s an adjective.
The following photo was taken at my office during a “show your personality with a prop” photo shoot that we did for employees. I think it’s an accurate representation of me.
What’s with Tom Selleck and the previously displayed naked Burt Reynolds? (Andy has a photo of Tom Selleck as his header on his profile. Previously, it was a photo of Burt Reynolds, naked, his manliness strategically covered by his arm.)
I love kitsch comedy. I love having something that visually represents me in a goofy, ironic way. I’ve always been a Magnum P.I. fan and that header photo cracks me up EVERY time I see it. It’s perfect.
As for the Burt Reynolds one, that was kind of my trademark on Twitter for a while. And I chose it for a specific reason – Burt described that image as his idea of what was funny to him. He did that photoshoot for Cosmo because he thought it was a hilarious joke. He said the rest of the world didn’t get it and it looks silly to most, in retrospect. But he thought it was funny and that’s all that mattered to him. That’s comedy to me in a nutshell.
I took it down as my follower account grew because I realized the above description doesn’t readily come across to everyone without deeper explanation. And I thought it was giving mixed signals. So R.I.P. Naked Burt header. I still miss you to this day.
Why do you tweet? What do you get out of it?
As I said above, it’s a writing exercise for me. A challenge. To see if I can tell the story I want to tell in that short space provided. I try to make myself laugh. If I laugh, then that’s really all that matters. It’s like the Naked Burt story, if I think it’s funny, then it’s funny.
I also get a sense of pride out of looking back over my tweets and seeing my attempts to be creative in different ways. I am proud of them. They are close to me and I can look at them and say, “I did that. For that brief moment in time, I came up with that. And I like it.”
I love the metric system with every ounce of my being.
— Andy H. (@AndyAsAdjective) November 7, 2013
So your avi is a picture of you standing next to a trail sign, “Swinging Lick Gap” where the “L” was altered to be a “D.”… Based on one of your tweets with the same photo you mentioned hiking the Appalachian Trail several times. Have you hiked the entire trail? Do you do section hikes? Are you a hiker?
I’m a hiker. I love to hike. I’ve section hiked all of the Georgia portion of the Appalachian Trail. And I’ve done a few of the North Carolina sections. Nothing more than that, though. I love getting into those woods and those mountains and just releasing myself. Letting nature envelope me as I put one foot in front of the other. I don’t take in the beauty of it enough because the runner in me is obsessed with making good time from gap to gap, though. 🙂
To be honest, just now, in reading your question, I didn’t know that it was called “Swinging Lick Gap”. Ha! I thought it was “Dick” all along! And I never bothered to confirm. That’s hilarious to me and I’m actually quite grateful that I now know this. It adds one more layer to that silly photo.
What goes through your mind when a tweet bombs?
I hate it when a tweet bombs. You let it sit there for a few minutes. That sense slowly starts to creep over you. You think, “Is it funny?” You reread it. Still somewhat funny to you. No RTs, no stars. You see it dying on the vine. No chance. And then you make the call, “Do I delete?” When I feel I’ve tried to force the joke is usually when a deletion is warranted – or if I didn’t convey the joke the way I wanted to. Or you know what? Sometimes it’s just not funny and you don’t realize it until you release it.
“Twitter cliques” is a common term seen around Twitter. What does “Twitter clique” mean to you? Are you part of a Twitter clique?
I know about Twitter cliques. You see evidence of it. To me, it means you support your Twitter friends, sometimes blindly. Nothing wrong with that, really…until it starts to become pack mentality and folks aren’t thinking for themselves.
I’m not a part of a Twitter clique. But I do have friends I’ve made on Twitter that I support. Nothing spoken. Just kind of a mutual respect and admiration.
Just as I was about to step on the bathroom scale this morning, I heard it softly whisper “Please don’t do this."
— Andy H. (@AndyAsAdjective) August 8, 2014
Do you ever panic that you’ll never come up with another funny thing to say again? (I do, at least five times a week – I wish that was an exaggeration)
I used to worry about the funny running out. But I just don’t think about it anymore. I’ve been doing Twitter long enough now and I’ve had enough fun with it that I trust my brain to churn out something. And oh, those days when your creative brain is humming and you crank out five or six drafts in a quick burst…those are rare but fun. You build up a bank of material and you let the tweet brainstorming calm down for a stretch.
What I do fear, as time goes on, is becoming a parody of myself or that I lose self-awareness somehow and lose sight of what I want my twitter account to be. As long as I stay focused on making myself laugh though, that seems to work for me.
As your audience has grown on Twitter have your tweets changed?
Yes, my tweets have changed as my account has grown. I’ve learned so much about writing styles and approaches from other tweeters. You expand, you grow. You test your limits.
I’ve found certain themes and styles of mine are more popular but I try hard not to rely on them while writing. It’s hard not to though, when you’ve seen what has worked in the past. I just try to stay original and make myself laugh. I think, though, as your account grows, you slowly start to let that majority audience aspect creep in just a bit. You know you can go to a certain topic or style and appeal to the masses. It’s a struggle against that mentality sometimes.
What bothers me sometimes is that I’ve got old tweets out there that I know would appeal to new followers – tweets that I churned out before anyone was really reading them. But I’ve decided not to mine those for new laughs…I just leave them be. And I focus on new ones.
Sometime during my 6th or 7th glass of Scotch it suddenly dawned on me: the premise for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is somewhat far fetched
— Andy H. (@AndyAsAdjective) September 13, 2014
What advice do you have for someone who’s trying to get better at joke writing on Twitter?
My advice for someone? If you think it’s funny, don’t worry about how others will perceive it. Throw it out there and see where it lands. And keep throwing it out there. There is an audience for it…I promise. But it takes work and commitment to consistently deliver to those who would want to seek it out.
Don’t force it. Figure out your “brand” and stick to it.
Absorb the work of others and appreciate it. See how they use text and punctuation and tense and then see what you can glean from that. I look back at old tweets of mine that I would have worded differently, perhaps, now. But you build your writing arsenal over time. You grow. You adapt.
Brevity. Don’t overdo it. Sell the joke and then get the heck out of there before you go too far with it. Embrace that economy of words. Don’t hit the reader over the head with the joke. Let them come to it on their own.
Another piece of advice is to get into Favstar. It’s kind of a necessary evil. And it won’t necessarily help your joke writing, per se, but it does give you exposure you otherwise wouldn’t get.
The Roomba vacuum cleaner just beat me to a piece of popcorn I dropped on the floor & this is how the war against the machines begins.
— Andy H. (@AndyAsAdjective) November 30, 2013
Tell us something about yourself people on Twitter may not know.
Nerd alert: I had perfect attendance in school from kindergarten through senior year in high school. And I missed only two individual class periods across my four years in college. I, thankfully, was never really too sick to miss school, and on top of that, my parents instilled in me a mindset of always showing up…no matter what. I took it for granted what kind of achievement that actually was.
How would you rate most of your tweets (G, PG, PG-13, R, I’m kind of a pig)
I think I would rate my tweets as PG-13. Mine are mostly silly and tame. I joke about family life or mundane daily stuff. People have told me they see a lot of me being a huge Seinfeld fan evident in my tweets. And I think that’s an accurate description of what I try to do, content wise. But occasionally I’ll drop an f-bomb or curse word or provocative thought in a tweet. And I always feel iffy about it, at first, when I do. So yeah, PG-13 would be a good way to describe me.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Anything else I’d like to share? Hmmm…I guess I would say that Twitter is a wonderful place to share ideas and creativity. But it is black hole that will consume your thoughts and time if you let it. If you’re into Twitter or looking to get into it, find a balance that works for you. Don’t let it consume you. Enjoy it.
Name five tweeters whose tweets make you laugh out loud.
In no particular order:
SoulYodeler – A juggernaut of stream of consciousness comedy
VestaTot – so incredibly witty
JasonLastname – Absurdity, hilarity & consistency
WilliamAder – A Twitter idol…this guy does it as good as anyone
WoodyLuvsCoffee – Consistent funny & always entertaining
If you think you can ride your kid's Razor scooter over the curb dip of your driveway without severe injury, you're an idiot. I'm an idiot.
— Andy H. (@AndyAsAdjective) September 8, 2013
Thanks, Andy! Appreciate you taking the time to do the interview!
Feel free to tell Andy how awesome he is, in the comments.
Next week on Beyond the Bio: @LindaInDisguise.
In case you missed it, last week on Beyond the Bio: @Cheeseboy22.