People who sign up for Twitter, post once, then never return.

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June 8 2009 11:41 AM

Orphaned Tweets

When people sign up for Twitter, post once, then never return.

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Phillyrules it hurts to breathe. should I go to the hospital?
10:09 PM Aug 23rd, 2008     

muthuboss life is hopeless ......  
10:26 PM Jul 6th, 2008

rvictor   Trying to escape this insanity
7:24 PM Jan 7th

jeffreyshardy Sitting next to a big, hairy, smelly guy on the bus
5:04 PM Feb 11th

DouglasAllen  I am writing an email to the makers of Spray N Wash to thank them for making a product that got the blood stains out of my new PJs and robe.   
7:40 PM Aug 27th, 2007       

Not all orphan tweets inspire such macabre thoughts. At their best they resemble found art, an index of first lines of poems that have yet to be written:

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mundial marching backwards toward the source of the four winds       
9:45 AM Jul 17th, 2007

stonelove27 I am standing behind my nose...    
11:59 AM Sep 5th, 2007

ladydrea Marcus Aurelius! You are loved! (I'm typing now...)   
10:53 AM Jun 7th, 2008

newdayrising sold your soul to Jesus for a carton of yoghurt. He doesn't even like yoghurt that much.     
12:48 PM Mar 31st, 2008

boustanyn Getting ready for the third phase of life on this earth....        
12:51 PM Nov 17th, 2008

bkennedy weeping gently     
2:47 PM Mar 30th, 2007

In at least one instance, two orphan tweets appear to have been in conversation.

marcbresseel getting ready for cannes - printing latest briefing - I hate folding my shirts 8:36 AM Jun 14th, 2008

Kolcott @Marcbresseel You fold your shirts?
9:13 AM Jul 10th, 2008

A lone call followed by a lone response; a social network of two.

While we found thousands of orphan tweets, our search was by no means comprehensive. Slate readers, let us know if you've come across orphan tweets in your travels across the Twitterverse. Send your favorite examples to slateculture@gmail.com, and we'll publish them in a follow-up on Brow Beat, Slate's new culture blog. Also, if any of the authors of the orphan posts featured here happen to read this, please send us an e-mail and tell us why you quit. To verify your identity, we'll ask you to log back in to Twitter and file that long-awaited second tweet.

Update, Monday, June 8, 5:18 p.m.: Some good orphan tweets arriving via e-mail from Slate readers so far. Here's another idea: If you find a great one, retweet it and add this hashtag: #orphantweet. This way there will be a collection of orphan tweets that folks can peruse on Twitter.

John Swansburg is Slate's editorial director. Follow him on Twitter.