For Dril, the chaos surrounding Musk’s property has been entertaining, and he intends to get through it. “Elon, he invented the Hyperloop,” Dril said in a rare interview, referring to Musk’s vision of high-speed underground transportation, which hasn’t been built yet. “I think Twitter will be like that. It’s a work in progress, he’s building it from the ground up. He’s going to make it more fun, and they’re going to use free speech to reduce bulls in everyday life. I think at the end of the day it’s going to be a beautiful thing.”
For those trying to predict the fate of Twitter, there’s probably no one more representative of a particular part of Twitter than Dril. His posts have become meme formats and copypasta, in one tweet he even appeared to have predict the end of Twitter in 2022. Academics have dissected and analyzed his tweets. The AV Club, an online publication dedicated to pop culture, declared Dril “the patron saint of the Internet itself” and “a rare gathering point and muse for everyone, regardless of creed or creed.”
Dril is a symbol of what many people loved about Twitter, pre-Musk. His account is strange and absurd, often blasphemous, and he is the type of creator who is unlikely to thrive elsewhere.
Twitter user Nick Farruggia recently carefully catalogued all posts by dril. “Refuse to lose the tweets of the best poster ever…here it is: every @dril tweet in chronological order, forever up & free,” he said recently tweeted.
DOCTOR: You can’t keep doing this to yourself. being The Last True Good Boy online will destroy you. you need to stop honorably posting
— winning (@drill) January 7, 2016
While Musk tries to bend Twitter to his vision, Dril exemplifies the kind of power center he won’t be able to budge: established, popular, and indifferent.
“Drill and Elon are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to Internet-based language,” said Jamie Cohen, an assistant professor of media studies at CUNY Queens College, who once taught on Weird Twitter. “Dril is a member of the community, he was born from the internet, Elon took it alone. If Elon is to succeed and make this thing work, Dril and his community is the person he needs to win over the most.
“Dril’s tweets are basic text for Twitter, they’re part of the structure of Twitter,” said Alex Turvy, a PhD researcher at Tulane University who studies memes and digital culture. “He is the godfather of Twitter and his tweets are a shared reference that we can all call upon when talking to people online. He is part of Twitter’s cultural memory.”
When reached by phone, Dril agreed to chat about the new era for a platform he helped define, provided The Washington Post only mentioned him through his Twitter account, due to privacy concerns. It’s the kind of interview that should be read with an understanding of Dril’s role as a comedic entertainer, not to be taken too seriously.
“I’m not property! I’m not property!!” I insist as I slowly shrink and transform into a corncob
— winning (@dril) November 11, 2011
The ups and downs of Twitter
So far, Dril said, he’s enjoying the spectacle of the Musk takeover. “Elon seems like one of the classic comedy showmen,” he said. “Everything he does is comical. He always tries to laugh, that’s why he makes all his cars suicidal. Just watching everything burn, it’s entertaining, that’s for sure.
One thing he’s noticed since taking over Musk is that his messages don’t spread as far as they used to. On Friday, Musk stated that “negative/hate tweets” will be “deboosted and demonetized”, effectively thwarting their ability to spread in a practice known as shadow banning.
Dril said the negative post ban already affected his account. “It’s wild what they’re doing to me,” he said. “My freedom of speech has been eradicated.” He expressed his frustration at the lack of clarity on what constitutes a negative post. “Suppose a Tesla ran into my son and killed him,” he said, referring to one of Musk’s other companies. “Maybe I think it’s fine, it’s not negative that a Tesla ran into my son and killed him. That’s fine, because it’s a work in progress.” Musk has no way of knowing whether a Tesla running over his son was actually very positive, Dril explained, and so it shouldn’t rank as a negative tweet.
Still, he added, “Maybe I was just negative from the start, maybe I have a negative attitude.”
Dril said he would be willing to work at Twitter himself if Musk asked. “I think it’s my duty to answer the call,” Dril said. “I absolutely would. I would be his dog, I would follow his every command like a disgusting dog. I would beg his mercy and I would learn to code if it pleased him.
While other users scramble to join Twitter replacements and find alternative ways to connect with friends online, Dril said he couldn’t find an app that also met his needs. He has set up official Dril accounts on Instagram, Tumblr and YouTube, but very rarely posts. He also has his own website and a Patreon for fans willing to pay a few bucks a month to support him.
The more emerging apps confuse him. “I’d like to know what these apps are because none of the apps I’ve used are any good,” he said. “They ask you for pictures of your son, your father. They are basically useless. They have Russian pop-up ads and malware. I don’t plan on leaving Twitter any time soon.”
Mastodon, the much-publicized haven for people fleeing Twitter, is too complicated, he says. “Which server can I join?” he said, referring to Mastodon’s many choices of servers. “The good mail server or the bad mail server? I don’t know. There is no guide, there is no little blue bird you can click for help.”
TikTok has been banned because: “I have a reprehensible face that prevents me from using video-based apps,” he said.
Substack worries him. “With Substack, it’s right in the name,” he said. “You submit. If you sign up for it, you are subservient to the internet content clique.”
One platform he’s open to exploring is the metaverse, a concept recently championed by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Dril said the opportunity to interact with people in the metaverse while not wearing pants appealed to him. “I’ll be the man there and I’ll win whatever game Zuckerberg tries to create,” he said.
someone good in economics please help me budget this. my family is dying
— winning (@dril) September 29, 2013
Dril is also open to accepting deals from smaller platforms that could pay him to post. “If any of the apps were any good or run by people with more than three or four brain cells to rub against each other, they would recognize the potential of my posts and offer me five or six hundred dollars to become the ambassador of their new platform. , and I would bring all my followers,” he said. “I think they would all be on board, no matter how unusable the platform is. If there are any potential Twitter replacements reading this, I’d love to that you give me your money.”
He is disappointed that under Musk’s regime he would apparently not be able to make money from negative messages.
“It would be nice to get a little something in the mail now and then for all the content I’ve put my blood on,” he said, “but you know, Elon says, ‘I’m demonizing you if you have a nasty attitude. have.’ Sometimes I need a nasty attitude to keep myself safe in this world. The Westworld show, that’s how it is out there.”
“I used to be able to post without being threatened,” he said, “now I’m basically under the barrel of a gun 24/7 because people are constantly saying, ‘This joke was better when you said it in 2014.’ I hope Elon cuts back on that stuff because that’s just barbaric what people say to me.
While Musk’s proposed verification system, where each user can pay $8 per month for a blue check, has been linked to the spread of misinformation, Dril is unconcerned. “People like me know the truth when we hear it,” he said. “It hits you in the heart. You feel it in your stomach. When someone lies, you see him sweat. They look very messy and ratty.” But $8 is too much for him personally, so he said he will never pay for a tick.
it is with a heavy heart that I have to announce that the celebs are at it again
— winning (@drill) September 24, 2014
He appreciates that Elon uses his personal Twitter account as the de facto communication channel for company news. “The reason it works so well,” Dril said, “is that if Elon wants to accuse a random guy of being a pedophile, he can do it. … Everything is a streamlined approach with Elon, you don’t want a red tape blocking the news cameras, you just want the straight-up joke from the man himself.
Looking back on his 14+ years on Twitter, Dril said he has fond memories. He loved the day when a man threatened to sue a grain company for shrimp pieces in the box, and he loved when someone called Garfield a slander and got kicked off the platform. He said one of his best moments on the app was when Dog the Bounty Hunter blocked him.
A low point for Dril was when Musk himself stole one of his posts about his drafted into a skeleton war and claimed it as his own. “He literally posted the tweet and completely cut my name out,” said Dril. His girlfriend Grimes approves of this kind of behavior. He steals my messages and doesn’t even pay me. He’s threatening to demonetize me while he’s already profiting from my content, and I’m not getting a dime.”
If Twitter’s infrastructure goes down and the platform goes down for good, Dril is okay with it.
“I think it will be like a cleansing fire,” he said. “It will burn down the house I grew up in, and all the memories will be gone with it. I can start with a clean slate, tabula rasa. From there I can try again and hopefully make an account that is really good.”