Some of you might not like what you’re about to read. You might consider what I did to be underhand, pointless or just downright stupid. That’s fine, but hopefully by the time you’ve finished reading this article you will understand why I did it, even if you still think I’m just a con-artist with a keyboard.
We write fake film stories and poke fun at the industry, mainly, because we love film and enjoy writing about it but also because we genuinely enjoy entertaining people. A lot of people don’t like our stuff but a loyal following do. We’re comedians, essentially, but we don’t charge an entrance fee to see our show. It’s always on, around the clock and 24/7. In the three years since we began we’ve written 53,000 tweets and hammered out in excess of 3000 articles. That’s a lot of time, a lot of effort and a whole lot of fun.
When you spend so much time on twitter you eventually start to see the gears and cogs turning underneath the platform and you begin to understand how it works. Statistics and analytics are useful and some companies base their entire social media strategy on such things but when you’re dealing with human beings, lots and lots of human beings, psychology is just as essential as data.
Anyway, Twitter is littered with parody accounts, people pretending to be other people mainly for comedy purposes or just because they got drunk one night and fancied pretending to be someone else for an hour. Why not? What harm does it do as long as you don’t say anything malicious? Look at the Michael Haneke twitter that was big a year or so back, the guy behind it was obviously just a fan having a bit of fun and the world didn’t explode.
When a celebrity starts a twitter account they get verified and so in the eyes of the Twitterati, they’re legitimate. It’s rumoured that Robert Downey Jnr got around 50,000 followers in twenty minutes when he joined the platform and since I heard that I’ve wondered about the psychology behind that kind of celebrity mass hysteria. Little did I know that the George Miller account would end up getting verified but you can’t blame Twitter for that. When you have 10,000 people screaming in your face claiming something is real, it’s incredibly difficult to say otherwise.
My intention was to create the account and then do what we do. Write about how George was in line to direct pitch Perfect 3 or that he turned down the opportunity to make Star Wars because he has an irrational fear of Harrison Ford. You might not like that kind of comedy, as is your right, but it is just playing for laughs, it’s not serious and it’s not meant to be. Most people get it, some don’t. If I had a pound for every time someone messaged me because they think I’m a real Hollywood executive, I’d have a brand new car.
So what’s the moral of this sordid tale, other than the fact that some journalists will believe anything for a story?
Well, there is none. I was just a comedian looking for an opportunity to make a few people laugh on one hand and on the other, a social media professional experimenting with a tool of his trade.
All that’s happened is a new movie got some extra PR, thousands of people have expressed their love and admiration for the work of one of my heroes and I got to write this article.
Twitter is a fantastic platform, a place to share ideas, tell stories and express opinions. A place where you are free to be whoever you want to be. It turns shy people into outspoken people and gives a voice to the disenfranchised. Sure there is the ugly celebrity worshipping side and those people have far too much power to convince people to buy their records and watch their films. Look at any of the big name Twitter users and a lot of their followers will be fake and they’ll have thousands of fake accounts they use to boost whatever hashtag they want to trend. Money rules, it’s not an even playing field, but if you do good work and ask for nothing in return, hopefully someone will one day laugh at your joke, listen to your song or admire your art.
I sincerely hope that happens to you.
I’ve been George Miller.