Friday, August 27, 2010

The Social Media Fear Monster

Fear is a funny thing. It usually crops up when it’s least welcome, and stays just long enough to keep you from doing something important, before dissipating like the morning fog, only to return when you’re driving at night. Fear is a fickle mistress that most of us serve more than once in our lives, often needlessly. I can openly admit that my foray into Social Media has been accompanied with a significant amount of fear, and I’ve been working hard to overcome this fear. The fear that my tweets aren’t interesting (I try to maintain a 50-50 level – if half of them are interesting, I win.) The fear that someone will misinterpret an @mention, and I’ll be blacklisted from ever working in the industry because I’m afraid of turtles and they were a turtle in their past life (there’s a HUGE amount we don’t know about the people we’re tweeting at). The fear that I’ll make a big fat spelling error (done) and misuse my punctuation SO badly that no one will ever read another script from me. The fear monster that lives inside me is ravenous and irrational with a +56 self doubt shroud. I’ve tried several techniques to combat the fear monster, but they all have varied side effects, and occasional residual scarring.

First I tried succumbing to the fear and keeping quiet. The idea was that my absence would simultaneously make me mysterious, whilst also causing waves of desperation from all those who were surely basking in my droppings of daily wisdom. However, it seems no one’s existence was shaken when they didn’t hear whether I chose the apple fritter or the blueberry muffin, or how many times I saw Inception that weekend. My absence did not bolster my mystique, it just made people forget about me.

I decided to use external substances to combat my fear of tweeting. Unfortunately, one too many mojitos plus copious tweets only results in two advil, a severe case of tweeter’s remorse, and a flurry of Direct Message apologies to anyone who may have been online at 3:07 AM that night. Again. Very. SORRY!

Next I decided to try and find a digital “look”. Just like writers in LA all wear Chuck Taylors and casual blazers, (right? Yup, I see you in the corner slipping your shoes off!) and Flavor Flav never leaves home without his clock, I needed something to distinguish me. Why couldn’t I apply the same principle to Twitter? I could be the girl with the Simpson’s character as her avatar. Just like all my friends. Wait, what?! Ok then, I could be the writer who only tweets in poetry. But nothing rhymes with “Pint of Stella” except “bread with Nutella”, and we all know the rules about food tweeting, so I’m screwed there. It seemed every “digital look” had already been taken, or would be way too labour intensive to keep up.

This brings me to now. I have no theory. No battle plan. I just go into every day and tweet and facebook and blog. I tweet at people who I KNOW will never tweet back. I talk about things that are sometimes completely uninteresting. I run silly logline contests to save me from customer service suicide. Sometimes there is backlash. Often I ruffle feathers (more often than not, my own) but still, I forge ahead. I have made some great contacts, some wonderful friends, and some very interesting assumptions all due to Social Media. I may not have a battle plan, but I definitely get +5 stamina every time I look back and see where I’ve come.

-- You’ll have to excuse the gamer references, I’m uber geek this week --

What I want now is to hear your best and worst Twitter stories. How have you conquered The Fear Monster? Or maybe you don’t have one, and you tweet with pride and courage every time? Has Social Media gotten you into trouble? Has it advanced your career? What is the most ridiculous/awesome/embarrassing/scary thing that’s ever happened to you because of Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, or any other form of Social Media?

Hey, @JaneEspenson came to #Scriptchat, so we all know anything is possible!


  1. I wrote that I applied for a Disney copywriter job, then promptly stated that I hated the location of the job. lol I did not get the job. Oh well, I didn't want to move there anyway. :)

  2. Ok so I'll bite. I joined Twitter, then did the usual "Well this sucks" before not doing much at all with it for a few moths. Then I jumped in again and actually tried using @ replies and "talking" to people... But nobody responded - at least that's what I thought until one day, I decided to click on the @fnafilms tab - and I saw a whole timeline that I didn't know existed!!! People HAD replied, so all those people who I was cursing for being "ignorant twats" yes that's what I called them - had actually taken the time to reply to me... And I hadn't noticed and therefore hadn't responded - making me the ignorant twat! Ho hum - c'est la vie.

  3. Hm... worse thing that happened to me via Twitter was that I accidentally made public a tweet that was suppose to be a private DM. I think I was mortified for 10 minutes until I realized no one was going to tweet me about why I was talking about spunky pants. :P

    Best thing that happened cause of Twitter? I got to talk to Gail Carriger and made her twitter background! :D Was on Cloud 9 all day after.