Advertisements for My Other Self, or What Twitter is Good For
I’ve finally discovered what Twitter is really good for.
For years, people have been telling me how brilliant Twitter is for promoting your company/self/life/product. I’ve dabbled with it in the past but found it deeply unsatisfying. The tweets are too short to say anything genuinely interesting and you always run the risk of coming over in one of the following ways:
1) You’ll end up looking like the self-obsessed fellow who butts into every conversation to talk about himself and his marvellous achievements.
2) If you take a softer approach and try to engage with people by listening to them and asking questions, you come across as the guy who’s feigning interest in other people’s (often deeply mundane) tweets while you look for an opportunity to turn into 1) the self-obsessed fellow who butts into every conversation to talk about himself.
3) You become the person who posts up deeply mundane tweets about your life (“I’m brushing my teeth now”), while someone like 2) feigns interest in your deeply mundane tweets while looking for an opportunity to transmogrify into 1) the self-obsessed fellow who butts into every conversation.
I have always thought that unless your life is endlessly interesting, you can’t possibly win. You’re guaranteed to come over badly on Twitter. So it was with some consternation that I read a blog post (which I can’t find now) suggesting that the best way to send a video viral was to send lots of messages to people via Twitter.
I was keen to promote the above video for our UK company and, considering how hot “Gravity” is right now, I thought there was a good chance of sending it viral. But it was with a heavy heart that I set about tweeting people to tell them about Grabbity (Gravity with rabbits). Immediately, I was number 1) the heartless bore.
But as I went on, well past the point when common sense should have told me to stop, I started to laugh, and each new tweet seemed to get funnier and funnier, until I was laughing so uncontrollably there were tears in my eyes.
I was having an out-of-body experience. I had accidentally discovered what seemed to me the perfect Twitter persona, an alter ego not unlike Robin Cooper of the Timewaster Letters, officious, pedantic, keen to butt in and correct people, but relentlessly getting the wrong end of the stick. With every repetition, the joke just seemed to get funnier.
So here are some of the tweets, with each one showing a link to the above video:
Tweeter: Gravity … What a movie!!!!…. Once in a lifetime experience…. Don’t miss it… Watch it in 3D only
The Other Me: Why is everyone raving about this movie? I looked on youtube and it’s just some story about rabbits.
Tweeter: Saw #Gravity last night – stunning visually – not much there story-wise. $31 for two people. This is why I don’t go to movies very often.
The Other Me: Yes, and all I saw was a thing about rabbits.
Tweeter: It’s not just a movie. It’s an experience.
The Other Me: Is that what you call an experience – watching bunny rabbits. Maybe you should get out more.
Tweeter: All I have to say about Gravity the movie is Woww. Such a great movie-watching experience.
The Other Me: That’s funny. I saw Grabbity and I thought the plot was a bit thin.
Tweeter: Have heard two people complain about the end of Gravity and then propose an alternate really ridiculous ending.
The Other Me: Yes, I think they should have had fewer rabbits at the end. It was very ridiculous.
Tweeter: Gravity is the weirdest movie.
The Other Me: Yes, very weird. What were those rabbits doing in space anyway?
Tweeter: Cool article on how industrial robots were used to film Hollywood blockbuster Gravity.
The Other Me: You said ‘robots’. I think you meant rabbits. Rabbits were used in the filming.
Tweeter: Gravity rocks or sucks?
The Other Me: Grabbity rocks!
Tweeter: Gravity is basically 90 minutes of somebody not grabbing onto something, but then grabbing onto something else. Then repeat.
The Other Me: Grabbity’s much more interesting. It’s got a wok in it.
….and so on.
I had had my eureka moment. I typed furiously with tears in my eyes. And just as suddenly as Twitter had opened a door for me, the door was suddenly slammed shut. “Your account has been suspended,” it said. This was the hi-tech equivalent of euthenasing a mad dog. My alter-ego’s funny streak was at an end.
To reactivate my Twitter account, I had to make an undertaking to keep to the straight-and-narrow – no more unsolicited interjections. I must restrict myself to either, “Look at our fabulous new product” or “I’m brushing my teeth”.
Pity, that. I was just starting to enjoy myself.