|Exactly, John Steinbeck. Exactly.|
First, storytelling (as it relates to social media). I think I've been pretty vocal here about the effect I think social media is having on us as a society, both culturally and linguistically. But also artistically. We aren't relating to each other as well, and worse we're beginning 2 write words as numbers or syllables of words, which I really h8. In 1976, as a Kindergartner, this would have confused the holy crap out of me; I submit my final evaluations, later on, in Algebras I and II, along with scary ass Trigonometry as hard evidence.
I worry about how much time I spend on it. I'll be honest: I think I'm on Twitter and Facebook way too much. I'm also on Pinterest and Instagram, but not as much because I don't get to interface with other users there like I do on Twitter and Facebook. (Narcissism, Ego. I'm saying this out loud to you: Twitter and Facebook are all about narcissism and ego...so is Instagram, but you have to know how to use it properly and I still don't have a clue how to do that.) I'm also on LinkedIn, but nobody wants to hire me, so I'm bored there already. And I'm on Google+ but...have you been there? I feel like I'm standing in an abandoned warehouse.
I'm worried about how much I'm on my phone or my laptop as opposed to, say, riding bikes with Miss M or gazing up into the night sky, pondering stars. I look around me and see other people doing this as well. I find it worrying, and yet, this is how the 21st century just seems to be turning out. And if you aren't doing 21st century things, you get left behind.
However! I see that social media really does has great intrinsic value in getting the word out, whatever your word may be. One of the reasons I started actively tweeting about a year ago was to build an audience for my writing (and to win friends and influence others, but none of that has happened at all...oh, wait, no! Except for the friends part. I am WAY up in my friends data....cause I'm a sweetheart). It's been slow going--mostly because I'm crap at Twitter and muck it up a lot. And also I'm worried about bugging people too much--famous and not famous.
But live tweeting (or, actually, just hitting the star button a lot since I had no clue and everybody was going too too fast for me) DIG (on USA!) was an eye opener for me. I saw what a community Social Media can build. I met some new friends. I made some important connections. Jason Isaacs sat back and admired my geeky researcher issues. It taught me a lot.
One thing it taught me was that this is how making Art will most likely work for now. If you are an actor, a writer, a director, a producer, a poet, a painter, a journalist, a musician, a storyteller of any kind? You HAVE to be on Twitter. You HAVE to tweet and interact with people consuming and potentially consuming your product, your Art. And also on Facebook to some extent, but what I see is most people heading toward Twitter. I think because it's short and it's quick, and also because a lot of famous and influential people are on it and people (cough ME cough) like to be able to announce to their friends: "Brad Pitt favorited my weird tweet yesterday!" (Brad Pitt isn't on Twitter.) (But he SHOULD be.)
Millions and billions of people from all over the planet are on it. If you want people to see you, to be exposed to your story, you HAVE to do it. Well, wait. No. You don't HAVE to do anything...I'm not trying to be the boss of you. But if you don't do it, your story won't reach the mass number of people it could potentially. (But then, on the flip side, can I also just say that sometimes just regular word of mouth works, too? In my neighborhood, people leave books in Miniature Libraries people have placed in their yards; I still ask friends for good movie/tv show/book recommendations. To their faces. In person. Offline. It's a thing humans can still do.)
For television storytelling, because of the way it's gone--which is that nobody really has time to sit back and watch shows AS they're airing (the exception being you're a fan and a geek and so you make the time)--it's absolutely essential you have as many people involved with the show tweeting. And the more interactive, the better. Right now I'm watching a show on NBC called American Odyssey fight for renewal, and the reason it's in a fight and has a chance is because dedicated fans are fighting for it. And the reason they're dedicated is because they feel seen and heard by the storytellers making the show. Therein lies the power of social media. The artist in me wants to cry out, "But cannot Art just be ART?!" (Because I'm dramatic.) But the social media addict is going, "Yeah, man. This is how it WORKS." (Because I'm a complete dichotomy.)
In addition, it's a nice way to connect with your favorite storytellers in general. The other day, I watched STOCKHOLM, PENNSYLVANIA, which was written and directed by Nikole Beckwith (you MUST see this if you can--it is amazing; unexpectedly unsettling but also beautifully sad and thoughtful). I sent Nikole a tweet and told her how wonderful her story is. And she responded to me--so sweet and kind. I will love her forever now.
Therein lies the power of social media: I'll watch anything and everything Nikole Beckwith is involved with now. (Actually, I would have anyway, because I think she's gifted and talented...but she's also lovely and nice, and so now I'm in her corner forever.)
Ditto that for novelists, poets, musicians, actors, etc etc and so forth. If you can connect to people who admire one bit of any work you've done, and if you can make them feel heard and appreciated? They will wrap you in gobs of love and light, and when some dickhead comes to you and says: YOUR ART SUCKS (as dickheads on social media are wont to do), these same people will gather up their pitch forks and their angry torches and they will go beat up those dickheads for you. I swear it, I swear it by all that is holy and good. They will. And then they will bring you those dickheads' dead dickhead bodies and lay them on the porch for you to find in the morning, just like cats do to show they love you.
Okay, that's done. Do you want to hear my Very Important and Big Announcement?
I got a writing job!! And I'm suuuuper excited about it. Here's how the power of social media works: I started tweeting (or, you know, trying to keep up) with DIG live tweets by Jason Isaacs back in March. Because of that, I met a new friend who is way, way better at live tweeting than me. We got to know each other pretty well. G thought my DIG research was amazing and brilliant and is delusional that I am talented.
Then, G connected with a nice lady named Erin from a big Sci-Fi website called Three If By Space (which, if you are a big Sci-Fi fan and don't know about this website--WHAT?! Wake up! Go HERE and be amazed), and let me know they needed writers. And it just so happens I'm interested in a new show coming to the SyFy channel in December called THE EXPANSE, which looks like more good storytelling and amazing acting and also there's a conspiracy theory and you kind people know how much I loved that aspect of DIG...and! AND! there's zero gravity sex in this show. (Do you guys even know about zero gravity sex? Oh, wait until December...you will. Apparently, Isaac Newton may have thought about it some. I know for sure I would have, especially had I been one of the first people in Outer Space. How can you NOT ponder this? Not thinking about this aspect of Outer Space existence is like...like...eating pancakes without syrup. How can people DO that?! No. NO. Pancakes need syrup. Humans need sex. We are NOT arguing about this, it's just how it is, the end.)
So that's my big announcement: I have a writing job (no pay, but I get to be legit published AND! more important, I get an editor, and god knows I so need one of those). My main writing job will be to write up stuff about SyFy's THE EXPANSE, sort of like I did for DIG (on USA!), but less archaeology and no red cows or Essenes (although I don't know. Maybe...maybe there are Essene-like aliens in Outer Space!). I can do more writing for them once I get the hang of it.
Just. Everybody pray I don't muck up Three if By Space's super nice website. If you go there and you see, like, misplaced vowels and off kilter stuff, that's me. I can't even figure out how to do Twitter cards on this frickin' blog, let alone get a web address without the "blogspot" in it. (I actually do know how to do get rid of the "blogspot" part of this site's address--I just haven't yet. Because procrastination.)