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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tweet This, Facebook!

Twitter and Facebook are both the social networking sites du jour, with huge followings. Do you partake of such activities yourself? Or are you disciplined and focused on your writing to the degree that you stay away from what seems like frivolity and micro-sharing? Aspiring screenwriters do need to stay on top of trends in pop culture more than other types of writers. We are always fueled by zeitgeist and we have to be. I personally find Twitter kind of - odd. I try to do it but I honestly don't have the time to Twitter, in 140 characters, my thoughts or observations several times a day. I marvel at the Twitters I do see - it's like people are journaling their lives in real time. The Robotard - man, they tweet up a storm. Sometimes I wish I weren't "following" them because I don't really find any take away value; it's all an ongoing inside joke that becomes more and more confusing rather than entertaining. Is Twitter meant to entertain?

I have networked with some great people on Facebook and I have gotten in touch with friends from the past and executives I used to work with and it's a nice way to casually say hello and stay on someone's radar.

So today I ask Wavers - do you use Twitter? Do you use Facebook or MySpace? How about LinkedIn - a much tamer but more powerful networking tool - are you signed up there? What do Wavers think of online social networking? A powerful tool or a waste of time?

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Dave Shepherd said...

I've got paying screenwriting jobs through online networking, so definitely not a waste of time.

Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! said...

I have met some cool people on Twitter, other commenters (or are they called commentators?) that I met on film forums. Turn out many of them are aspiring screenwriters, filmmakers, or work as production assistants. So I've become friends with them and I plan to meet 'em someday in real life.

Myspace is fun for making new friends, but it's a bad tool for networking. Nobody takes you seriously there. It's really a website begging for attention.

Facebook is better for networking because it's more "professional" and it forces you to use your real name (unlike myspace).

I've met some theatre folks from NYC and London cos they stumbled across my blog. so yeah, there you go.

(sorry for the long comment, by the way!)

Tavis Sarmento said...

Been on FB for awhile. Twitter confused me at first -- but then I realized it gave me two things I didn't have before:

1.) an exceptional resource to stay on top of the latest happenings in the entertainment industry -- which is beyond useful for me since I work for a blog that promotes celebrity stock photos.

2.) it let's heretofore undiscovered screenwriting talent like myself put their creative thoughts out into a pool where A-listers and other industry people are wading. Perhaps I'll be at a Hollywood event and meet someone and they'll say, "hey, your're that GooseRats guy that posts those witty and thought-provoking tweets. Can I read your screenplay?"

So basically I see it as a way of doing soft networking before you get to the more serious networking. It seems like a good way to get your name and personality out there.

Now the better question is why do non-aspiring screenwriters using these sites?

Seth said...

I've actually discovered Facebook to be useful in another way.

You know how in Barton Fink the screenwriter is always nattering on about how he wants to write about the nobility of the common man, but whenever the common man (John Goodman) tries to talk to him, he totally ignores what the guy has to say? Well, a lot of people I had totally forgotten about from high school -- some of whom I barely knew even when we were in high school -- have friended me on FB. And I read their status updates... and they're fascinating. People I had largely ignored in real life because they weren't just like me become, through the strange window of Facebook updates, these compelling dramatic or comedic narrators.

This makes me realize two things. One, I was kind of an ass in high school. But two, there are all these amazing little stories lurking around us all the time that we don't even notice because they don't fit what we're looking for.

J.J. said...

@DIMA! actually, Facebook doesn't 'force' you to use your real name--heck, some of the people I've run across actually borrow names of famous people--I mean, it's helpful if you want to make real contacts and all, but Facebook can't 'make' you use your real name. Anybody can be anybody, it's the internet...

Facebook is sorta fun...I'm not a tweeter. I mean, really, who has the time to be updating every five minutes about their trips to Ralph's, their all-important experience at the nail salon, and detail the color of their bowel movements? More importantly, what makes those twitterers think we need to know about it? So, for me Facebook works.

Speaking of Facebook, gotta go, gotta say something important...

ditty said...

The best thing about twitter is that, when used right (by my definition anyway), you actually get a real sense of community. My twitter friends are often quicker than my real-life friends to offer condolences, sympathies, congratulations, advice, etc. It's not just a bunch of inane blathering; it's people who care about what one another have to say and want to respond in turn.

The key to twitter, I think, is to use it to engage in conversation. It's not just about documenting your own life; it's more of an ongoing discussion. Most of my tweets are designed in some way to garner a response or to hopefully entertain.

Also worth noting, the 140-character limit encourages writers to be succinct and pithy, which is always a good thing.

Trina0623 said...

Thanks for a thought-provoking post, Julie.

I agree that all writers need to stay plugged into the zeitgeist and cyberspace is a huge part of that. I am mostly disenchanted with Twitter, but I do like the witty posts from all my favorite comedians -- a little daily tasty treat. Russell Brand brings the hilarity several times daily, not just self-promotion. I prefer FaceBook because you can respond and engage in a conversation more easily. I also prefer its versatility - email, photos, links, videos, fans, etc. all in one place.

@Tavis - I have a FB friend who only posts thought-provoking questions, which elicits impressively long responses from the masses. That makes him stand out on my newsfeed enough to possibly bring it up at a party.
@Seth - I also have a friend who is very funny in real life, but he's even more hilarious in writing because of his unique take on things most of the slumbering masses don't notice. I appreciate a fresh view.
@Ditty - I like the sense of community on FB too.

Stan said...

(summons 'Mr. T' voice)
I pithy the fool who can't tweet somethin' cool in 140 characters or less!

I never really caught on to Myspace. Though I have been steered there more than a few times. I joined, but never did anything with it. With the cheesy fonts, tacky colors, & reminds me of something called 'Web 1.0'.

(Andy Rooney impression)
And who's Jennifer? And why does she want to be my 'friend'?

Lately I've felt 'peer pressure' to Facebook, but little of my own desire.

The one thing that looks neat is Twitter. However, I'm cautious to join any new trend or sample something just because it's the 'flavor of the week'. Big surprise - Twitter was recently hacked.

When it's relevant to me personally, I'll join. In the meantime, meh.

Caitlin said...

I have a Facebook profile so that people can find me easily, and I use Facebook to keep track of people's contact information, but I don't participate in all the various Facebook activities anymore.

I adore the concept of Twitter, in the abstract. It seems like it could be the next evolution of the notion of a collective consciousness, which is extremely appealing to me. In practice, I like Twitter and use it, but I would enjoy it more if more people that I know personally would start using it, and exploring new and different ways to use it as a tool for conversation.

Tavis Sarmento said...

One more reason:

@johnaugust Twitterfolks give faster, better notes than 90% of development execs.

Anthony Peterson said...

More of a Facebook dude, but I'm giving Twitter a go. I've met some amazing people on Facebook and I think it strikes the right balance between everything I need in a social networking site.

bphilipb said...

Twitter has been ok. I have been able to keep up with other friends projects and it is quick motivation for me. Although, I try to limit my time on Facebook, it has been helpful as well. I usually do both from my phone and leave my computer to do real 'work'.

Désirée said...

Twitter is kind of beyond my understanding, but through FriendFeed I send updates on my blog as twitters. And some people have found my blog through Twitter because of that.

I've heard that Facebook has some nasty copyright issues in the fineprint, so I haven't dared use it.

LinkedIn I use and found friends from the past as well as screenwriting connections.

Most connections I have gained by reading other's blogs and made comments.