Brand Twitter accounts are constantly fighting backlash — they serve as customer service for disgruntled patrons, field bizarre messages from people hoping to clown on companies, and face allegations of cringe when they attempt voicey posts.
After the official Amtrak account tweeted only the word “trains,” other brands joined in with one-word posts related to what their brands are selling.
Wendy’s and Burger King tweeted “burgers,” and McDonald’s opted for “clown.” Not everyone enjoyed it, but it’s not a complicated joke. It’s funny because it’s so random, like Minions and the word "bacon."
And yes, President Biden tweeted “democracy” moments after giving a very intense speech where he declared that “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”
The pressure to be sassy on the timeline has been around since the Denny’s and Wendy’s accounts were dunking on people in the mid-2010s, but sassiness is becoming more commonplace. Even the official White House Twitter joined in recently by calling out Republicans who were mad about student debt forgiveness.
While TikTok’s algorithm makes it easier for random people to go viral, Twitter users are still reliant on their established follower account for views — and an existing audience is a necessity for boosting a one-word tweet to virality, because it’s not like there was a hashtag or a trending word that directed people to a place where they could find similar posts.
Company and celebrity social media pages have cemented their own genre of brand-only trend that only works if a wide audience knows who you are, like TikTok’s “That’s Not My Name” and “Teenage Dirtbag” trends. Brand social media managers feel compelled to join in, even it makes them cringe. It helps if it’s as easy as the one-word trend, which was a welcome reprieve for employees on the Thursday before Labor Day.
“No better indicator of SMMs needing a long weekend than this single word tweet trend. just absolutely phoning it in and i love it,” tweeted Shelby Jacobs, senior social strategist for Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fish at Dentsu Creative. “I hope it’s everyone’s best performing tweet of the quarter if not the year.”
“The rare ‘we won’t need a single approval for this’ trend is always a strong one,” tweeted Josh Stein, a social media manager for Microsoft. The Xbox account retweeted its own tweet of just the word “Xbox” that was originally posted in 2019.
Social media managers from various large brands told me on Twitter they feel “burnt out” and they’re “just doing our best” with this one.
"It's always fun to see which trends brand accounts jump on and which they don't,” Alexa Heinrich and Austin Braun, the two social media managers who curate industry drama for Social Media Tea, told BuzzFeed News in a statement via DM. “The one-word tweet trend is kind of an ideal one for social media professionals because it's wonderfully simple, yet wildly engaging. It's a trend that not even legal can take issue with!"