Even David Lynch is on Twitter. But that doesn’t mean you should be too.
Apparently Social Media are slowly replacing real life. If you aren’t on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr or Google Plus, you practically don’t exist – that applies double to businesses – and triple to any creative person who wishes to tell their story. The problem with Social Media, though, is that if you don’t actually enjoy it, it’s a tremendously hard wave to ride. And of all the potential platforms you can choose to stand on and shout about your product (or project), Twitter seems to be the scariest and most confusing.
I love Twitter, but this wasn’t always the case.
When I joined Twitter in 2011, I was planning to use it as a professional tool (although I had no idea HOW) as I reckoned it wouldn’t be too hard to get a couple of thousand followers and so promote my filmmaking. Perhaps I would also catch up on some current events while at it? The problem with this brilliant plan was that I’ve never really enjoyed being all professional and serious. Don’t get me wrong, cinema is my passion and I genuinely enjoy current affairs, but my perspective on both has always been a bit irreverent. And frankly, 140 characters does not facilitate neither in-depth artistic or political commentary.
I sucked and nobody followed me, until…
…I found my kind of people. Twitter is just like the real world – populated by individuals who are passionate about the same things as you. Whether you get all hot and bothered about inspirational quotes or feminist media critique, you CAN find like-minded humans to connect with, and many of them just happen to be on Twitter too.
The quality I most enjoy in other people is sarcasm. And guess what? Not only do a lot of people love sarcastic humour too, but this particular style also happens to lend itself very well to the 24 character limit.
When I started thinking within the lines of tweeting to tell my stories (instead of just trying to project an image) something changed. Just like in real life, the freaks and weirdos became the people who embraced me. The maladjusted, the bitchiest and sharpest keyboards started following and interacting with me.
What If Twitter Was A Poor Man’s Shrink?
The best thing about the twitterverse is that almost none of my real friends use it. If I want to moan about something in my real life – be it my mum, my job, my child or myself – I tweet. The kind of people that specialise in my favourite kind of humour generally prefer an honest fart rather than a fake smile. In fact, the less successful you are in real life, the more of an anti hero you are – the more they will like you. And many of them are dead funny.
Will I learn about current events from these freaks? Hell no.
Will they help my career? Well, they just might.
Not necessarily because they are big film producers who will fund my films – but because they are teaching me exactly what my sense of humour is all about. As a comedy writer, this is a vital lesson – my protagonists are almost always decadent antiheroes with a naughty sense of humour. Just like my Twitter pals.
What if you don’t enjoy it?
If Twitter feels like a terrible chore or a party where nobody wants to talk to you, it is ok to abstain. Maybe Facebook is more your thing? Think about where your strengths are – if, for example, you are a sociable high functioning alcoholic, there are so many filmmaking networking drinks dos you can attend which would allow you to expand your human database AND be drunk all year long. Win-win!
But if you suffer from social awkwardness and have a body odour problem, then sticking to Twitter might be a smarter choice.
If you are an unknown scriptwriter/filmmaker/artist/whatever, don’t expect people to become your fans overnight. You are much more likely to gain followers by following and interacting with your target audience than simply shouting advert like tweets into the void. Retweet, heart and @ because in Twitter, karma DOES exist and remember that it’s not all about numbers. Look for the kind of people who inspire you, make you laugh or fascinate you. I have found brilliant collaborators, paying clients and new friends on Twitter. And most of them made me laugh.
David Lynch hasn’t followed me just yet
But YOU can find me on @voxerbrant for sarcasm or us at @thestorydesk for film and writing related stuff. Still, don’t take this as an excuse to forget what is the most important part of your screenwriting work.
Seriously, there is no shame in Real Life.
Look up from your screen now – who do you see?
They just might be the main character in your next script.