19 March 2022 |

The art of the quote retweet

By Trung Phan

PLUS: The funniest subreddit.

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  • Vitalik Buterin + the art of the quote retweet

  • The funniest subreddit

  • Apple is crypto’s biggest wild card

Vitalik Buterin + the art of the quote retweet

In previous emails, I’ve discussed how quote re-tweets are where Twitter get the most absurd (and toxic). Here’s some background:

  • The quote re-tweet (RT) feature was launched in 2015. Before then, it was a janky and manual process to comment and retweet on someone’s original tweet. You had to type out everything (and didn’t even technically retweet the original tweet). Conversely, the quote RT function lets you comment on a tweet while sharing the entire original tweet.

  • Quote RTs can be used for many reasons. To show support, make a joke, add context or promote an existing tweet. However, the quote RT is most well-known for “dunking” on people. This is when you take a tweet and quote RT with a snarky remark. It’s an easy way to score points (likes, retweets) with your own audience at the expense of the original tweeter. The hardest I’ve been dunked on was this tweet below. Some dude named Brooks Otterlake eviscerated my take on Nutella (receiving 464k likes and 47k RTs along the way).

Why is the quote RT so effective for dunking?

Two guesses:

  • Setup + punchline: The quote retweet is Joke Telling 101. The original tweet provides fodder for a “set-up” and the quote RT is the “punchline”. It’s not just the content of the original tweet that provides fodder, either. The individual typing up the original tweet adds to the joke set-up (example: every politician — no matter what they say — is serving up dunk material for the other side).

  • Built-in virality: As pointed out by Claire McNear in the The Ringer, the quote-retweet puts the original offending tweet in front of more eyeballs than it otherwise would be. Why? Well, if you disagreed with someone, you wouldn’t only retweet their content. And leaving an angry reply isn’t enough to get a point across. Ergo, the quote-retweet provides the ideal format to mock someone (eg. dunking). And the “retweet” part of the equation sends the offending tweet across the network.

Dunking is so widespread that when a tweet looks like it’s going to get roasted, people post this American Psycho-meme in the comments.

Full disclosure: I’ve typed up some tweets that are pure quote RT engagement bait.

Anyways, the reason I bring all of this up is because Vitalik Buterin — the mastermind behind Ethereum — got absolutely crushed on quote RTs after Time gave him a magazine cover.

The best part: Vitalik himself singled out the crazy quote re-tweets (many of which hysterically compare him to Tom Brady).

Here’s the kicker: Vitalik is so deep in his craft, he doesn’t even know who Tom Brady is! Amazing. That’s def a buy signal for ETH:

UPDATE: After this article was written, Tom Brady quote RT the above Vitalik tweet. We officially have come full circle.

The funniest subreddit

There are a lot of solid subreddits out there.

But the one that makes me laugh the most is r/TrippinThroughTime. It has 4.1m members and the description is perfect:

In historic art pieces depicting multiple humans, there is a law that at least one of those humans will look like they have no clue how or why they got there. It’s like Where’s Waldo, except instead of looking for Waldo you’re looking for the dude that looks like he just dropped acid.

As some of you may know, I was a subpar History student at McGill University. My claim to fame was once raising my hand during a World War II – era history class and saying “that was gangster” in reference to something General Douglas MacArthur did (probably the time he escaped from Japanese-occupied Philippines on a PT Boat before flying to Australia and then saying “I shall return”…which he did).

Anyways, r/TrippinThroughTime combines my love of history with my love of s**tposting and memes.

Here are some hilarious posts:

Apple is crypto’s biggest wild card

Here’s my latest Bloomberg Opinion piece: Apple Is Crypto’s Biggest Wild Card.

The overarching idea is that Apple — with 1B+ iPhone users and its expertise in user experience — can help onboard millions of new crypto users by building the right tools.

These are 2 ideas relayed to me by Ric Burton, an early contributor to the Ethereum Foundation:

Safari browser extension: One of crypto’s biggest on-boarding tools so far is Metamask, a Chrome extension crypto wallet with 21 million users. Apple’s iOS 15 update in November provides more browser extension support. And with 54% of mobile traffic in America coming from Safari, there’s an opportunity for more crypto iPhone tools.

Hardware wallet: The iPhone has a hardware feature called a secure enclave. It’s a subsystem on the iPhone A1 chip that stores information (passcodes, biometric data) for sensitive applications like FaceID and Apple Pay. Crucially, iOS is unable to directly access the data. If Apple added an encryption signature known as Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA), the iPhone could become a secure crypto hardware wallet to hold private keys and for digital authentication.

Def read the whole thing.

Meme dump

And here is an acceptable use of the quote retweet: