If I wrote for television, I would write for “Supernatural.” It may not be a terribly complex program, but the cast members obviously don’t take themselves too seriously. Some episodes, like “The French Mistake,” are unexpectedly hilarious. Continuing the long-running trend of transporting characters to worlds without magic or monsters, the two main characters crash through a window into a world where their lives are a television show.
It’s a meta-episode, with the actors playing exaggerated versions of themselves. Misha Collins, who usually plays the angel Castiel, is a lesson on how a celebrity ought not to use social media. At one point, he tweets “Hola, Mishamigos! J-squared got me good. Really starting to feel like one of the guys.” What stands out the most is not the contrast with his actual Twitter page, but his use of social media as a way to not interact with the people who are physically present. He’s not really trying to form a relationship with either of the two leads, he’s just talking about it.
I came away from watching it wondering a lot of things. First, is maintaining authenticity possible when you have thousands of followers? Second, do I try to capitalize on the successes of the people around me? Third, am I ever going to be able to write in as many styles as Collins can act? Fourth, why the hell did I just watch four hours of “Supernatural?”
Looking at the profiles of some immensely popular Twitter handles, one thing is clear. It is possible to stay in touch with those who support you without straying far, far away from what you are known for. For instance, I have seen Neil Gaiman retweet hyper-local posts from fans asking for help with literacy and activism work all over the world. His wife, Amanda Palmer, does the same.
On a smaller level, it’s absolutely possible to balance promoting your brand and your work and interact with your followers. I’m still trying to find that balance; some days I’ll get overwhelmed and shut off Twitter. With all the bite-sized pieces of information swirling around, your message might get lost in the flow, but keep working at it. Make connections, meet friends, try something new. A whole new world awaits your attention.
Title from “Reading Is Fundamental,” another episode of “Supernatural.” I may listen to (some) trashy music and watch (some) pretty trashy television, but I will not consume bad art or bad books. A girl’s gotta have standards, after all.