Humblebragging: How to Disguise-Twitter Your Vanity

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Tweeting is a delicate balancing act: How to be amusing, informative or just plain not dull in 140 characters or less? Now those of us who fail at that task on a regular basis have something else to aspire to – the Humblebrag.

Created by comedian and Parks & Recreation writer Harris Wittels, the Humblebrag twitter feed calls out “false humility” on behalf of Twitter users everywhere that “allows the offender to boast his ‘achievements’ without any sense of shame or guilt.” Wittels explained more to the Wall Street Journal:

Actor LeVar Burton had my all time favorite. The tweet was “It’s a good night for natural light in LA” and then he posted a picture of his fireplace, but on the mantle above it were like 20 Emmy awards. A masterpiece! He did a follow-up one three days after Christmas where he tweeted “Stockings still hung…” and attached a picture of his family’s stockings all hung on his Emmys. That guy really seems to want us to know he won a bunch of Emmys for “Reading Rainbow.”

The feed retweets the best – or worst, depending on your point of view – of these tweets, celebrating the linguistic twists and turns some people are willing to go through in order to pretend that they’re not boasting. It’s kind of amazing, really; if nothing else, things like Patton Oswalt’s “I’m in today’s @WSJ, like I’m a real writer or something” either demonstrate a complete lack of self-awareness or – and this is the option I’d rather believe – a complete self-awareness that allows for vanity and faux humility in order to further bolster said vanity at the same time. And in less than 140 letters!

If the idea of doing a WSJ interview about a Twitter feed sounds a little like a Humblebrag itself, don’t worry; Wittels is well aware of that: “I would first like to say that there is a chance this entire interview is a humble brag on my part, just to save people the time of calling me out on it,” he says before responding to the first question.

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