#LastTweets: Mysteries created and solved in 140 characters

08/29/2010 By Shawn Burns

I have discovered the secret, mysterious, hilarious and sometimes sad messages of the those who are no longer among us.

I have discovered #LastTweets.

I was using Twit Cleaner to peruse the accounts of those I followed on Twitter who had been absent for a while, unfollowing dead accounts and those posting too infrequently for me to continue following. Because at the moment all Twit Cleaner can do is show you who the accounts are and not actually help you unfollow them I was clicking through to profiles and reading a few of the last things these people had decided they wanted the Internet to know before….

Well, before what?

I started to wonder what if these were the Last Tweets of users, not just noise but meaningful messages that had something to tell us about why they were no longer Tweeting.

It was just a game to pass some time while I went through and culled the list, and at first it was just funny.

“Going to try something new for dinner,” and “Did I mention we’re moving in with my parents?” were the first two I published, before I even thought to start attributing them, memento mori in 140 characters. “Ha ha” I said to myself.

Many had to do with food, which I found darkly funny, as though the last thing the person had done was to get excited about the meal that was to be their last. There were so many of these that I stopped publishing them, because the funny was wearing off a bit with that theme.

But it wasn’t all funny. As I read more and more from this sampling of abandoned Twitter accounts there were messages that were genuinely ominous or so sad that I couldn’t bring myself to publish them in this game I was playing. Many had to do with children who had become sick, or real problems with loved ones. Others, which I did publish, revealed self-doubt and a mild darkness that we’ve all dipped into.

“Why do I always watch food network when I’m hungry, dieting, and not doing well?”

“So tired and angry. Help?”

There was one addressed to me, which left me wondering if I had responded to them, and of course if my response or lack of one had contributed to this person abandoning Twitter. I left that one unpublished. Another I left unpublished was clearly a goofed direct message, since it listed provided the Tweeter’s mother’s telephone number.

There were motivational Tweets, perhaps indicating the person had chosen a new direction in their life, one which no longer involved sending messages out to the internet:

“If not now when? If not you who? Love it!” 

"I want to have great memories with no regrets. We only get to do this life thing once."


But my two favourite #LastTweets were both in the “hilarious” camp.

"I upgraded to #HootSuite 2.0 because It’s the best!" (And then promptly stopped tweeting.)


Yeah, there’s no way she survived that one.


Sadly, my bank of dead accounts is depleted, so I can’t play #LastTweets again for a while. But there’s no reason YOU can’t play. Run a Twit Cleaner report and just start clicking on some of the profiles it says haven’t said anything in a while and you too will probably find some gems.

Also, if you had already posted your last tweet, would it say anything interesting? Would it intimate why it was your last? Would it be funny, intentionally or otherwise? Entertain me with it in the comments.