One of my favorite books is Tintin. By now I’ve read it so many times I almost know it by heart. The imaginary events happen in the safe distance of the imaginary past, it’s soothing to see the familiar characters do the same simple thing every night when I use the book to put me to sleep after my complicated day of the complex modern times.
But then I slowly discover that the book is not that disconnected from the present. It turns out, the annoying character Jolyon Wagg from the Rock Bottom Insurance is a radio amateur. You know that character, right? Jolyon Wagg who wants to be at the heart of every conversation, quoting his uncle Anatole, telling and laughing at his own jokes, while trying to sell you his crappy insurance, you know that guy? Well, the way I started to see it, Jolyon Wagg is the first Social Media type. He desperately wants to be connected with other people, forcing his company on people who don’t seek it. So it is no surprise he is a radio amateur.
My uncle Jānis was a radio amateur, too. He would work for weeks to build an apparatus that would receive and send radio signals. It was illegal in Soviet Union to have such an apparatus unsupervised. But Jānis still took the risks. Sometimes by chance I would overhear what he is talking about to other radio amateurs. It was not about much, sort of ‘what are you doing there’ kind of thing.
I realize now what Jānis and Jolyon Wagg have in common with millions of Facebook users – the understanding that there are amazing amounts of people who are doing something just as you are doing something too, and curiosity to find out what that other thing that they are doing is. A strong desire to synchronize the simultaneity.
The problem with Jolyon Wagg is that he projects his personality on everything his hears through his radio. He is incapable of hearing a serious call for help. Like in the panel below:
Facebook is a tool to synchronize simultaneouty. Instead of milking a cow or going for a walk in a Owl’s Head park we all are on Facebook, clicking, liking, sharing, commenting in almost synchronized actions.
Like Jolyon Wagg, a lot of Facebook users try to sell something, tell tacky jokes and dont hear a call for help. Recently, I became one of such users.
To explain such a deterioration of the state of my Facebook matters, I have to explain the financial matters of “Rocks In My Pockets” : we are $30 000 short and won’t be able to finish the film without that money. The Grand Plan is to have a 30 day Kickstarter campaign in January. But as I had mentioned here before, knowing 200 people that would give $10 each is not going to do. We need to know 3000 people who’d give $10 each. Besides, Kickstarter takes 5%, and we’ll have expenses of running the campaign (postage, time, rent, internet access, PR advise and what not), so we have to make sure we raise at least $40 000 to get the $30 000 we need. It means we have to reach out to 4000 people. As I said, I know only 200 who would give their hard earned $$ to “Rocks”.
So I went to the smartest person I know about Social Media matters – Reid Rosefelt – who’s panel at Woodstock Film Festival on how to manage Facebook to the most benefit for your film at just blew me away. Reid gave me a really advise and is guiding me through the difficult water of mastering Social Media, namely, Facebook.
It means: creating “Rocks In My Pockets” Facebook page and pleading for ‘likes’. For a person who can make 80 drawings a day this seems VERY unproductive and out of her control – I can make 80 drawings any time I want, but I can’t make people ‘like’ this page.
It means: creating some funny pictures that people might want to share. What people want to share on Facebook is shrouded in mystery to me. Cat pics? Yes. Cute baby pics? Yes. Artwork? hmm… Can I post cute cat pics to advertise my film? is that even legal? Would cats sue me? Here’re a couple of pics I thought people would like to share. What do you think? Is THIS shareable?
It means: putting those pics on Flickr, Tumblr, Pinterest. Does anyone care? A dead silence from those Flickr, Tumblr, Pinterest people. My art sucks.
It means: spending 12 hours a day looking through the 14 short films I’ve made and screen capturing the stills for future Facebook posts. Extremely unproductive as this is looking at the past rather to the future. I don’t care much for the past. On the hour 8th of such “work” I am ready to EXPLODE.
In the last week I haven’t produced anything worth of noting. If this continues, I’ll truly lose my mind. Being productive is what keeps me sane.
Also, in the times where one is not considered seriously if he/she doesn’t have Social Media on his/her side (Obama went on Reddit, Romney didn’t and see what happened at elections 2102) even a more mentally stable person indeed is in danger of losing his/her mind. At the Facebook age we are forced to ignore Dunbar’s number. 150 is the number of people one knows and keeps social contact with at a level of mental and emotional comfort. Everything above that stresses us out and endangers our well being. I have 1400 Facebook friends. I had sent 87 personal emails to 87 people yesterday. I am losing my mind.