I have the very secretive and funny @LilBlackRncloud in the Beyond the Bio HoT seat today. Check him out!
Me in therapy: …..
Me on twitter: blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
— LBR (@LilBlackRncloud) December 5, 2013
Things to know about @LilBlackRncloud
Living in: Washington, the state, not our nation’s capitol. I have an irrational dislike of the state’s name due to confusion over Washington D.C. My google search efficiency would increase 30% if I didn’t have to append “state” to all the searches.
Number of followers: Officially about 3,100, but probably a dozen who follow most of my posts (thank you so much). I stopped actively adding followers after just over 3,000.
When did you start tweeting? I started my twitter account quite a while ago when I did a business project for Twitter and thought I should try to understand it. I got serious and started tweeting in the fall of 2013 when I shed all celebrities, news accounts, hashtags, and became anonymous.
What year did you graduate high school? Back when Microsoft Word came on a floppy disk and you had to swap it out to save a file.
Since I'm driving to the family reunion, I have to stay sober. That's like going into surgery without anesthesia.
— LBR (@LilBlackRncloud) July 6, 2014
On to the Interview!
Tell us about your family.
I’m married with two adult children, a boy and a girl. My wife is actually funnier than I am on social media (a qualifier she’ll dispute), but doesn’t tweet much and doesn’t think much of my tweets.
Me: You never retweet me.
Wife: Honey, I love you, but I'm not retweeting you.
— LBR (@LilBlackRncloud) April 21, 2015
My family is happy you all listen to me so they don’t have to.
You choose to stay anonymous, why is that?
I like to remain anonymous because I want to keep a separate real life, but also because it allows me to be defined by my words and actions rather than a preconceived notion about an identity. There’s a tweet I like about being anonymous that I didn’t write that I think is on point.
Here we take maximum responsibility for our words by hiding our identities.
— ❤♛❤ ~Spaced Princess (@GingerGander) December 30, 2013
I like my Twitter handle, but I think there are some misconceptions about what LilBlackRncloud means. It doesn’t mean I’m sad or morose, in fact I’m fairly well adjusted (don’t tell anyone or I may be thrown out of Twitter). It started as my Xbox gamer tag because I like irony. It comes from the Winnie the Pooh story where he’s disguised as a little black raincloud and tries to steal honey from the bees. You know, I’m not a bear covered in mud hanging from a balloon about to steal your honey, don’t mind me. Thankfully, @E_lok44 shortened it to “LBR” early on and it’s stuck ever since.
You mentioned you started tweeting for a business project. Were you not anonymous at that point?
I wasn’t anonymous then, but I didn’t tweet. I didn’t care about having followers and just read others. I have a non-anonymous account, but it’s business Twitter so it’s mostly just links and pictures of networking events. Yawn.
What do you do when you’re not on Twitter?
I’m in finance/accounting by trade. Until recently, most of my time was spent following the children around their various activities.
Why do you tweet? What do you get out of it?
I get to meet smart, creative people I probably wouldn’t discover outside of twitter. My job requires boring objective and technical writing, so this is a creative outlet. I love words and what some people are able to do with 140 characters. My google search history is full of words I’ve looked up. Even when I know what they mean, I’ll look them up to find their official definition.
Have you interacted with any celebrities on Twitter?
The first one was the voice of “Snapped,” the TV series about wives killing their husbands, which should be outlawed in my humble opinion (both killing husbands and that TV show should be outlawed).
Wife likes the TV program “Snapped” a little too much.
Please favorite this note as it may be the first clue in case of my untimely death.
— LBR (@LilBlackRncloud) November 11, 2013
Playing very loose with “interacted” (meaning once) @JustinGuarini because he’s one of us and gets our twitter. Maybe if more celebrities tweeted like him, I’d follow them. However, if I had known about the L’il Sweet Dr. Pepper commercials before I followed him, I probably wouldn’t have.
What?! I love Lil’ Sweet. My son still quotes him all the time. “Somebody cryin’ because they can’t have a cupcake.” Speaking of Justin, he’s going to be on the American Idol series finale on Tuesday. I’m totally watching.
So how did you share your humor before Twitter? Have people always thought you were funny?
I don’t know, so I asked my wife. She said, “People think you’re funny but not as funny as I am.” I think my sense of humor is a little too dry and sarcastic for many people in real life.
Oh that sounds like my humor. I had to learn long ago to keep my mouth shut and the sarcastic thoughts inside if I wanted to keep friends. Sometimes I still open it. Which is probably why I only have like, three friends. That or the social anxiety.
Okay, what goes through your mind when a tweet doesn’t do as well as you expected?
None of them go as well as I expected. I’m not intentionally writing bad tweets. I’ll give most 100 impressions before terminating them for nonperformance.
* saves that little gem to the draft folder for release later *
We mustn't overwhelm them with too much greatness in one day.
— LBR (@LilBlackRncloud) October 24, 2014
Do you feel like you have a good handle on which tweets will do well and which ones won’t?
Not really. It’s the tweets that do the best that hurt the most because it reinforces that all the others really are just getting pity love from friends.
Do you find you have to be in a certain place or state of mind to be able to compose funny tweets? Does something in particular inspire you?
They tend to ebb and flow, but I can’t control when. Most of my tweets are embellishments of actual events, so I have to be interacting with the real world to come up with tweets. Also, DMs. Virtually every DM conversation gives me an idea for a tweet.
Do you exchange a lot of DMs? Can you share an example of a tweet that was inspired by a DM?
I get the impression that it’s not a lot relative to others. I don’t belong to any DM groups or Kik groups. I’ve had good exchanges with most everyone so far. I guess I’ve been lucky in that respect.
This one came out of a DM follow-up to someone’s tweet about cavities. Pretty salacious material in my DMs.
Would have less tooth decay if it wasn't necessary to artificially sweeten my naturally sour disposition.
— LBR (@LilBlackRncloud) March 15, 2016
When you started out, how did you go about getting exposure? Did you do a lot of retweeting in the hopes that people would reciprocate, or did you follow a lot of people or something else?
It helps if a big account takes an interest in you and retweets to their masses. I remember looking forward to returning the favor when I had more followers. Paying for favstar used to help, though many are critical of it. People used to get very excited when you gave them one of those trophies and they’d retweet a bunch of your stuff before they came to their senses. Seriously though, heavy retweeters take a lot of flak, but many are kind with their time and want to help out smaller accounts. They make the Twitter world go ‘round.
Who are some comedians (or comedy shows/sitcoms) that have influenced you?
Steven Wright because he’s always looking at the odd angle of everyday situations. I’m a big fan of the much maligned Big Bang Theory. There I said it.
If you could meet anyone in person from Twitter who would it be and why?
There are several people, but I have to be selective due to the axe murderer concerns from my wife. We did meet @osoplain who is as nice in person as she is on Twitter and not at all like an axe murderer.
Wife in cab: We'll be gone for a week, but our son will be home
Me: Let's visit a Twitter friend
W: No, they could be an axe murderer
— LBR (@LilBlackRncloud) November 11, 2015
How did you go about meeting @osoplain in person while being anonymous?
We had to exchange contact info to coordinate. Code names and single use cell phones would have been pretty awkward.
I’ve met some people here I’d consider friends in real life. I’m more candid with them, so I guess I don’t have a purely anonymous account. One of my goals here is to meet new people who could potentially be friends.
There’s been talk lately about Twitter dropping in popularity. Where do you see Twitter in three years? Where do you hope to see Twitter in three years?
They just came out with exploding hearts. That pretty much tells you everything you need to know about where they’re going. I hope they don’t change anything and since I don’t own their stock, I don’t care if they get smaller.
What advice do you have for someone who’s trying to get better at joke writing on Twitter?
Play to your strengths, don’t force it. Take out extra words. After you’ve taken out the extra words, see if you can trim it further. Don’t write “shows self to door, I’ll be here all week, raises shades, etc.” It’s implied.
If the 140 character limit has taught me anything, it's that we use a lot of unnecessary words that are not needed.
— LBR (@LilBlackRncloud) January 28, 2014
Being a small account is like a starving actor at a cafe. Busing RTs, Stars, pushing tweet scripts to directors, hoping to get discovered.
— LBR (@LilBlackRncloud) November 7, 2013
Tell us something about yourself people on Twitter may not know.
In my heart of hearts, I’m a conversational tweeter, but I don’t participate much because I’m not as quick-witted as the good ones and can’t keep up. I often prefer reading someone’s conversational tweets to their stand alone tweets.
The crushing rebuke of an @ left unfavorited.
— LBR (@LilBlackRncloud) March 6, 2016
Is there anything else you’d like to say/share?
Don’t take it too seriously. If you’re not having fun, take a break, but don’t make it a dramatic twittercide.
Earned 3,662 impressions, but still fell a hair short of self-actualization.
— LBR (@LilBlackRncloud) February 23, 2016
Name some tweeters whose tweets consistently make you laugh.
Thanks for the great interview, @LilBlackRncloud!
Up next on Beyond the Bio: @SuperRandomish.
In case you missed it, last time on Beyond the Bio: @Underchilde
A butt-load of the funniest parenting tweets all packed into one place! – The Bigger Book of Parenting Tweets, available on Amazon. Or try the original, The Big Book of Parenting Tweets. They make great gifts!