There was a pig loose in St. Paul.
A small white pig — someone's stray pet — ambled down Grand Avenue Thursday morning, nibbling the neighborhood shrubbery. It was cute, it was odd, and it was a chance to dust off the old 30-50 feral hogs memes. It was everything Twitter loves best.
Minnesota Twitter swung into action. People joked. People fretted about the little pig's welfare and invoked the ghosts of Pig's Eye and debated whether ancient state law really requires the commissioner of agriculture to lead the hunt any for feral hogs spotted within the Twin Cities. Then, before people could even come up with a decent hashtag, the little pig waddled happily back home, replaced on the timeline by something else cute or odd or interesting or infuriating.
It was a great day on Twitter. Maybe one of the last.
Or maybe just another weird day on Twitter. With Twitter, it's hard to tell.
Twitter moved on from Rue the mini pig of St. Paul. Midterm results were still rolling in.
It was the 47th anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald and if you knew who to follow, the names of her crew scrolled across the timeline one after the other. Twitter remembered. Then immediately pivoted to a photo of a serenely pregnant guinea pig getting an ultrasound.
The social media platform that day, like every day, whip-lashed from jokes to rants to breaking news updates about the Russian retreat in Ukraine. In Canada, Gurdeep Pradash danced bhangra across the Yukon snow just to make you smile.
Then a verified Chiquita Banana account tweeted that the company had just overthrown the government of Brazil.
It's been two weeks since Elon Musk paid $44 billion for Twitter, for some reason.
It's not going great for him.
Other real-looking fake tweets popped up like mushrooms, all bearing the blue check mark that used to signify the person tweeting is who they claim to be. Until Musk decided to sell validation for $7.99 a month.
Worthless blue checks swirled across the timeline like confetti. "Nintendo" posted a picture of Mario flipping Twitter the bird. American Girl dolls broke the news that Felicity owned slaves. The pope was selling indulgences. The U.S. Department of Education was re-canceling student loan debt.
Eli Lilly's stock nosedived after a fake-but-verified account said insulin would be free now. The hoax was cruel, but not as cruel as the price Eli Lilly charges for insulin.
Musk played whack-a-mole with ersatz Elon accounts that figured eight bucks is a small price to pay to give a billionaire buyer's remorse.
Two weeks after he bought the company, alienated its advertisers, insulted its users, damaged its brand, and fired half the workforce by email — Musk announced that Twitter was on the brink of bankruptcy.
Before Twitter collapses like a heap of flaming garbage; a benediction.
Twitter can be a hellscape of misinformation and disinformation and hate; populated by trolls and mean roving mobs.
Maybe one in every five Americans regularly visit the site, and more power to you if you don't. Nobody needs to know this many memes.
But I've been on Twitter for more than a decade and I've loved it more than I've hated it.
It's a place to wander, listening to your neighbors talk about joy and frustration and yard work and school board elections and the cool cloud they just saw.
You can surround yourself with a cozy echo chamber of people who think like you think. But new voices and new ideas will break through. Political commentary from high schoolers. History lessons from the reservation. A dairy farmer in tears. Scientists. Poets. Clergy. The excellence that is Black Twitter.
Twitter gave us The Dress. The MPR raccoon. It blessed us with 30 to 50 feral hogs. A large boulder the size of a small boulder.
At the end of every summer, I live-tweet the Minnesota State Fair, moseying from 4-H bunny to 4-H bunny, zooming in on the gar in the DNR pond, scoping out the lines for the giant slide. Anyone who can't make it to the fairgrounds that day is welcome to follow along.
It was dumb. It was fun. It was a great day on Twitter.