Thanks to social media services like Twitter, we know more about our favorite pop artists–their personalities, their personal lives, and so on–then ever before. Of course, this can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Sometimes, these artists reveal themselves to be personable, funny, occasionally even insightful, and other times, they reveal themselves to be sleazy, unintelligible, and/or disturbingly short-tempered individuals. So with a friendly reminder that tweeting isn’t a right, it’s a privilege–especially when your followers rank in the six to eight digits–here is the Popdust list of the the best and worst tweeters from all of popular music, awarded categorically to specify just what makes them so follow or unfollow-worthy.
BEST ALL-AROUND TWEETER: ?UESTLOVE OF THE ROOTS (@questlove)
Cool music recommendations, interesting links to subjects relating to everything from politics to Parks and Recreation, and some funny (and occasionally controversial) previews of upcoming fare on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, where he and The Roots serve as the in-house band. Besides, nobody’s Twitter account is more timely–how many other musicians can see they warned Occupy Wall Street protesters about the surprise raid on Zuccoti Park before it happened?
BEST “SONG OF THE DAY” TWEETER: ROB THOMAS (@ThisisRobThomas)
You might not expect the singer of Matchbox 20, one of the definitive Adult Alternative bands of the last 20 years to have the most interesting taste in music, but Thomas’ Song of the Day recommendations are almost always on the money–recs from the last seven days include underrated classic rock jams (The Kinks’ “Celluloid Heroes”), riot grrrrl punk anthems (Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl”) and modern under-the-radar pop nuggets (Butch Walker’s “Synthesizers”). Plus, he actually updates it every day–a level of discipline rarely seen on the Bluebird.
BEST SUBTLE AND ACERBIC TWITTER: OWL CITY (@owlcity)
Most pop musicians aren’t exactly known for their dry wit, especially over a service with such potential for self-indulgence as Twitter, but “Fireflies” chart-topper Owl City (real name: Adam Young) is that all-too-rare musician feed that can actually make you think a little with its brand of humor. (Recent examples include tweets like “Nothing kills time like ripping open the fabric of existence” and “Lemmings. They’ll follow anyone.”) And guaranteed, no pop musician has ever gotten more mileage out of the perennial “That Awkward Moment” hashtag–so much so that he doesn’t even include the tag anymore when posting them.
BEST FAN-INTERACTIVE TWEETER: RIHANNA (@rihanna)
Few pop artists have as many followers as Rihanna’s 28 million strong Navy, but fewer still take care of their own better than the Barbadian megastar. On a good day, Rihanna will go on a tear of re-tweeting and responding to a dozen or so fans at a time, thanking them for their kind words with an encouraging message like “Yall R SO MAJAH” or “My fans run dis world!” or just “#approved.”
BEST STREAKY TWEETER: KANYE WEST (@kanyewest)
If you were to take bets on who would be the first pop musician to compose an entire novel over Twitter, Kanye would have to be the prohibitive favorite. Once ‘Yeezy gets going, there’s no telling when he’s going to stop–he might spend an entire night ranting about Steve Jobs, Spike Jonze, and his new proposal for an international think tank named after his dead mother before all is said and done. The flipside to this, of course, is that he also might go weeks at a time without tweeting at all–as of writing, his feed hasn’t been updated since Jan. 7th (“The world is our office”). But once you see him get off a couple in a few minutes’ time, stay tuned to your computer–it’s guaranteed to be some riveting stuff.
WORST CAPITALIZE-EVERY-WORD TWEETER: WIZ KHALIFA (@realwizkhalifa)
Some artists Capitalize The First Letter In Every Word of their tweets, likely due to a text-compositional quirk in the phones they tweet from. In Tyler’s case, it just makes each of his tweets come off funnier and more surreal, but in the case of a significantly less interesting artist like Wiz Khalifa, it just highlights how little they have to say. Most of Wiz’s tweets are meaningless few-word phrases like “Self Love,” “Can’t Hate” or “Im In Space,” with no elaboration or follow-up, like inside jokes that even Wiz himself might not be in on. Maybe he should go ALL CAPS in the future–at least then he wouldn’t sound quite so lazy.
WORST SHADY TWEETER: 50 CENT (@50cent)
50 Cent may be just as fan-interactive a tweeter as Rihanna, but in a significantly less admirable way. Many of Fiddy’s fan tweets are from females offering some variety of their services to him, or just complimenting him on (and/or begging him to show more of) his physique–including one fan who recently offered him an I’ll Show You Mine vs. You Show Me Yours bet over the Giants winning the Super Bowl. (He accepted, natch.) Throw in some ill-conceived tsunami jokes and….yeah. Not a good follow.
WORST SHORT-TEMPERED TWEETER: CHRIS BROWN (@chrisbrown)
Twitter isn’t often the best venue for people who don’t respond well to criticism–especially for those criticized as often as embattled pop star Chris Brown. He’s feuded with artists like Frank Ocean and Raz B, hurling homophobic epithets at the ex-B2K member, and has gone off on fans who want to take too close a look at his relationship with ex-girlfriend Rihanna. Possibly for the best, the latter incident inspired Brown to delete his timeline, but he’s recently started up again, tweeting a dozen different links to the same picture (a coded image of his new album title, Fortune) at 2:00 in the morning a few nights ago. Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess, and we’re not all that excited to find out.
WORST ABSENT TWEETER: BEYONCE (@beyonce)
7,205,779 followers, 4 tweets. Nothing much to say here, except step it up, Bey. The Internet demands it.
Got a favorite tweeter you love or love to hate? Let us know in the comments below.
Andrew Unterberger is a staff writer for Popdust, an online site voraciously covering the world of pop music. Unterberger lives in Astoria, New York, prefers Coke to Pepsi and casts a voodoo curse on LeBron James every NBA post-season. Popdust is the world’s foremost authority on pop music. Founded in February 2011, Popdust super-serves fans with a vibrant, irreverent, 24/7 mix of news, opinion, interviews, reviews, music premieres, and original video and content features on today’s biggest and brightest pop, hip-hop, R&B and country stars. Pop music has never been more commercially dominant or more creatively fertile-think Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, and on and on-and yet its artists have never been afforded the kind of expert, passionate online coverage so often lavished on lesser, and lesser-selling, rock artists. Part music-nerd watering hole, part tart gossip outlet, Popdust is laser-focused on the never-ever-boring creative and personal lives of this generation’s most compelling entertainers.