Right, here comes a controversial opinion. In the spirit of truth and honesty, this is my answer: I wish he hadn’t started on Twitter.
Ouch?! Before you scream in protest
and unfollow me, let me qualify that statement.
Asked about Twitter on several occasions prior to his debut on the social network, Richard had always claimed that he “just didn’t get it”. I interpret(ed) that to mean he didn’t see the point of it; he may have associated Twitter with vacuous, unnecessary status updates whereby social media users document trivial everyday situations, exchange banal comments or blast their unfiltered opinion into the ether.
I am guilty of all of those. The aversion to the latter goes with his incessant insistence that he is “just an actor” (not a politician or expert of any kind). Yet, he threw himself bravely into the fray.
A good thing – as it seemed to make it him more accessible to his fans: Hearing directly from him without the filter of an edited newspaper article or interview; timely and up-to-date glimpses into his work and whereabouts; the sweet potential of immediate interaction that a social media presence promises. That was the ideal scenario. But ultimately the experiment has proved frustrating for me because in practice, his approach to Twitter does not satisfy *my* desire as a fan to actively engage with the people I am interested in. It only takes a like or the occasional general tweet directed at no one in particular, but in response to topics that have been discussed. But no matter whether he is using Twitter as a promotional tool for retweeting of info about his projects, or whether he is tweeting from a more personal POV, his iron rule has apparently always been to (publicly) ignore responses and/or to avoid engaging. It is, of course, a valid approach – especially considering the huge amount of responses a single tweet of his garners among his 208k followers on Twitter. Individual responses are impossible – or arbitrary, as there are too many responses to reply to. I understand that. But somehow to me it thus always feels like failed interaction. For me, interaction consists of sending and receiving/responding. There is an element missing in his Twitter interaction, a clear response.
Worse, I think the participation of any public figure on social media creates expectations among the audience which can ultimately not be met. Richard’s start on Twitter was promising – funny, topical, relevant. It even had elements of interaction when he directly asked for beard camouflage ideas way back in August (?) 2014, so fans were happy. His more-or-less regular posting of selfies also satisfied the demand of fans for new material “straight from the horse’s mouth”
although the frequent posting of self-portraits is something I personally dislike – from anybody, not just my favourite actor. Personal pet-peeve. But as soon as there is a lull, the demand and expectations that have been created, will result either in dissatisfaction, or in frequent public requests from the audience, monopolising the public discourse. Essentially a vicious circle for all involved, when the tweep is not 100% willing or able to engage in this kind of communication game: Tweep posts selfie to keep followers happy – followers are happy and demand more – tweep feels under pressure and deliberately ignores – followers shout louder – tweep relents and posts selfie – followers are happy and… ad infinitum.
Don’t get me wrong – I recognise that Richard can do on Twitter whatever he wants to. His call. Much of the problem probably lies with my
– wait for it, here comes Guylty’s favourite coinage and argument – faulty expectation management. I don’t necessarily want more tweets – I just would like to see *a different quality of social media activity*. And since that is not possible, I regret that his presence on Twitter reminds me of not getting what I want *stamps her little foot*.
But hey, don’t let that spoil your own enjoyment of his social media activities. We all have our own approaches, opinions and needs. Maybe you are far less demanding than me, and willing to support his activities, no matter what. All to their own. And in the end, this issue is not a deal-breaker for me. Still think he’s a top actor, still like his general demeanor, still believe he’s the bee’s knees 🐝. Incorrigible infatuation.
Your opinion on this issue or on things that you wish hadn’t happened?