Design Personas for Twitter #DesignTwitter

A collage of illustrated characters, with large text: "#design twitter"

Twitter isn't how people really are in real life - well at least I'd like to think not. You could say people on Twitter are a small segment of polarised online personalities participating in the Internet's town square (thanks, Elon). The majority of those active on Twitter are just small subset of the rest, who as Axios put it, are a silent majority that are too busy to tweet:

Most people you meet in everyday life — at work, in the neighborhood — are decent and normal. Even nice. But hit Twitter, and you'd think we were all nuts and nasty. Erica Pandey, Mike Allen in Axios

That, plus the algorithm promoting controversy, leaves us in a really crazy place. Imagine sitting down to come up with personas for #DesignTwitter. Below are some exaggerated ones you might recognise. Which one are you? Who do you recognise?

The Guru

This is usually a man who tweets 1 liners. Short sentences of sage old wisdom. Gurus thrive in positions of power, and usually hold titles such as Design Director, Head of Design, or Design Partner. They insist on using a full-stop and punctuation, even though it’s social media. It’s annoying, but we end up replying to them in their own manner.

Cartoon man wearing monacle saying 'that's the tweet.'
The Guru/Mr Expert

The Threader

Anybody who uses this emoji combo: 🧵👇. They're either joking by it, or one of the many self-deluded 'Threaders'.

90% of people (the silent majority) who see this emoji use cringe painfully. The 10% minority go on to leave 100 comments and 1000 likes, and so The Threader only sees positive feedback. This cycle goes on and on, snowballing out of control, until delusion morphs them into a guru.

Cartoon person pointing to a yarn of thread, with text 'look thread'
The Threader

The Self Promoter

Often an early stage Threader. Usually selling a course or a gradient tool, they often send a profound quote or two. They then retweet their own profound tweet so you have to see it twice (and puke twice).

Luckily, a Self Promoter is easy to spot because their profile banner image always has an arrow drawn on, pointing to the ‘follow’ button. Their bio will also say something along the lines of “that build in public guy”, accompanied by a progress bar made from emoji squares.


Illustration of person wearing a cap reading and holding a sign, both saying 'follow'. A lightbulb sits above the cap, and surrounding text says MRR and Pie Charts
The Self Promoter

The Moral Compass

This character always resides in San Francisco, California. Despite their strong ethical stance on privacy, they work at Facebook, reeling in the big bucks. Preachy about mental health, and self righteous without realising. The Moral Compass often types in all lower case to emulate children.

They're often found posting conference and podcast banners of themselves, and sharing career ladder advice having snaked their way to the top. At regular intervals, they will announce how they have enjoyed mentoring some unfortunate early career designer.

Person wearing 2 earrings, and a diamond ring, with the Meta logo across their forehead. Surrounding text says: mentor, detox, mental health, career paths, jewels 
The Moral Compass

The UX Tipper

Usually bearded men with backgrounds in front-end development. The UX Tipper preys on the innocent social media interns running InVision’s social accounts.

Partial to the odd thread or two, this critter spouts reams of subjective design advice to rapturous applause from content marketers and the Self Promoters who want to learn design. It's all to the dismay of The Guru and other veteran designers, who watch from their towers, refraining from engaging.

Illustration of man with facial hair saying 'Make it blue', and a thought bubble saying 'I like purple'
UX Tipper

The Icon

You’ll find the Guru and the Moral Compass in 'The Icon's' comments and DMs - 'The Icon' is highly skilled, well spoken, fun, yet authoritative too — always wearing a hat. The Icon is everything the Guru and Moral Compass want to emulate, but never can, due to their personality disorders.

Person wearing wooly hat, with surrounding text: 'Turn left yall' and 'gradien'
The Design Icon

Tool Hero

Design Advocate for a popular design tool. They have gained the power of an Icon, but it can one day be taken away.

Illustration of person wearing a cap that's coloured like the Figma logo. Text surrounding them reads "Auto frame out", and "collabonate"
Tool Hero

The List Maker

This person makes lists. They just love listing things. Lists of tools, lists of articles, lists of lists. They make lists, then share the lists - sometimes in a thread. We thank them for their resources but never use them. 

Cartoon of person with a large list, with text 'for you'. There is a Diamond towards the bottom of the list, followed by a small turd
The List Maker

The Ragebaiter

This person thrives on controversy. The Ragebaiter says outrageous things, purposely attempting to offend anyone and everyone. Their goal is to stir up as much controversy as possible to garner attention for their YouTube channel.

Although 'The Guru' can withstand the UX Tipper's antics, the Ragebaiter is their ultimate Cryptonite. The Guru inadvertently helps the Ragebaiter get astronomical attention by quote-tweeting their lewd opinions in order to advise people not to give them any attention.

Illustrated person with glasses and fire next to them. Surrounded by text reading: "no code 4 women", "fire", "hate me now"
The Ragebaiter

The People Tagger

A tactical List Maker. The People Tagger also works in lists, but lists of tags. They tag a list of people that supposedly inspire them. Amongst them, they list Gurus to garner attention. They keep doing it until they become a guru, and then find themselves listed by junior People Taggers.

People Taggers often form groups that trap each other into a tagging and praise cycle that can go on for eternity...

Man with long list containing @ symbols. Text on the right of him says "love me"
People Tagger

Bonus Persona

The Veteran

Been on every stage, every podcast, and appeared on multiple documentaries - years ago. An award winning designer and poster girl for the industry but quite frankly, tired of it all. They don't know why they still use Twitter, but secretly love having a legion of adoring followers.

A lover of the finer things in life such as tuscan leather, suede, and only drinks whisky over 40 years old.

Person with overgrown beard and big hair. Surrounding text reads: "tuscan leather wallets" and "documentary"
The Veteran

The DMer

This person doesn’t tweet - they just send direct messages.

The Liker Retweeter

Liked and retweets everything. Doesn't say anything, ever.

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Rob Díaz