Tweet Emotions: Notes on the Process of Futility [Pt. 1]

Let me be honest from the start... I don't make a move online without sizing up the parameters of my actions. If I sign up for a site or program, I immediately think how I can use that particular spot for my own purposes. Self-serving? Sure, aren't we all? Isn't that what survival of the fittest is all about? Helping yourself to a heaping slice of this survival? It is only natural, in any venture in which we involve ourselves, that we seek out that which will allow us to reach our goals in the quickest way possible.

With the proliferation of social media sites these days, however, it seems that most people in the net-a-verse aren't so much concerned with "keeping it real" (though they have convinced themselves of this deplorable and completely erroneous phrase), but rather "keeping it noticeable..." Well, that and making lots of quick and easy cash. And if one can combine both efforts -- being popular and bringing in the Benjamins -- isn't this the whole point of life? Millions of Tweeters seem to think so, because half of the pages I run into seem to merely be there to convince me that this is the aim toward which I am supposed to be building. Which just proves to me that they do not know me very well.

When I signed up for Twitter, I did consider briefly that it might be a good way to introduce people to this site, The Cinema 4 Pylon. I've been plugging away on my little notebook of a blog for about four years now, all to little notice, and I have liked it this way. A handful of loyal pals, along with my natural impulse to vent and a low regard for sleep, have kept me writing. Through whatever rough spots and bouts with depression over this span, the Pylon has been here for me to work out my personal refuse, along with providing an easily accessible storehouse for my opinions on just about anything that crosses my path -- movie, music, animation (which expanded into the Pylon's sister site, the Cinema 4: Cel Bloc), books, politics, and absolute silliness. The thrust of the site has never really been about reviewing popular culture, though, but rather about how popular culture has affected me, for both good and bad, throughout my existence on this sphere, with a simultaneous goal focusing on my need to combat the cliches of popular opinion and, especially, film criticism.

I would be lying if I said that all of my other online moves -- starting pages on Facebook, MySpace and their like, writing "reviews" for a selected writing group on Spout.com for a year -- were unladen with intentions of expanding my reach. At every instance, I thought how nice it would be if I could get a few more people, especially my friends who are hooked up with me on those sites, to bounce over from those pages and leave a few constructive comments on the Pylon.

Which never happened. I can get 168 legitimate, tried-and-true, actual friends and acquaintances of mine on Facebook, but I can't get a single extra one, beyond the handful that regularly attend services on the Pylon, to pop over for a note or even a quick look. MySpace was a tremendous bust, not in a good way and not just as a website, but as a portal for anything involving my interests, and the potential audience pretty much involved the same people with whom I now converse on Facebook, plus a massive amount of online hookers... and that asshole Tom guy.

Spout was great until I decided to chafe under certain suggestions, began a futile campaign of aggressiveness against those certain suggestions, and then tried to recover with an equally futile campaign to apologize to people who were giving up on those certain suggestions anyway. And sure, a few hundred people would check out each of my posts on Spout, and I received some nice comments and met a couple of interesting and generous people on that video-oriented site. But I couldn't nudge a soul, at least regularly, over to The Cinema 4 Pylon in all that time. Was it over-nourishment? Perhaps I should have just posted a few lines of each post on Spout instead of the whole piece. They got the milk out of the Spout consistently; why suckle straight from the udder?

Through the last four years, I have received positive and helpful comments from a genuine rock star and producer, a Disney comics editor and publisher, a couple of online animation historians, and a director who said I was the only critic to ever precisely nail the emotions behind his film after showing it worldwide at festival after festival. I have also received a not-so-positive comment from a former producer of Ren & Stimpy (and animation archivist), who decided to chide me for being too negative over the use of blackface in old films (let's make that archiv-racist...) Fine and well, these comments, both positive and negative, as long as the comments help me find my way or teach me something.

But what I really crave is even more exposure, which would hopefully lead to even more discourse. Not just nine or ten regular to semi-regular readers, and not just good friends, but a greater diversity of opinion in those comments. The good with the bad. Which is what drew me to the social sites in the first place. Which is what drew me to finally creating an RSS feed, and then posting my Pylon writing directly onto Facebook as well.

And what ultimately drew me to Twitter...

[To be continued...]

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