To Tweet or Not to Tweet

One of my favorite scenes in The 40 Year Old Virgin (yes, I have a favorite scene from The 40 Year Old Virgin) is when Steve Carell, after having a fight with his girlfriend, flees her apartment and rides his bike home at night with traffic backed up behind him. Horns honk loudly, demanding he get out of the way. Shedding tears from the fight, Steve rides ahead, waves his arm to the angry drivers, shouts, “Go around! Go around!” This simultaneously hilarious and emotional scene describes my relationship with social media.

In short: I know it’s amazing. I know I’m supposed to be doing it. I know the multiple reasons why it helps to serve all the projects I’m juggling. I’m doing as much of it as I am able, but I am constantly plagued by the idea that I should be doing more of it. I feel the traffic stacking up behind me as I shout into the wind “Go around! Go around!”

I’m at an incredibly busy moment in my life. Despite the NY Times telling me that this is a self-aggrandizing attitude that I need to drop, I am actually busy with a lot of wonderful things that I think are important and deeply care about. All of which just happened to occur at the exact same time. Here’s the short list: I’m working at the amazing LEF Foundation in Cambridge, curating and managing The DocYard screening series, producing a feature doc called Street Fighting Man, planning an October wedding, managing major house construction, and parenting a toddler. I am not lying to you when I say that there is some form of social media presence for EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE ACTIVITIES. Almost every day I personally update or manage multiple websites, Facebook pages, email addresses, enewsletters, Kickstarter campaigns, blogs, Vimeo sites, more. I track all of the above on Google Analytics. I keep myself informed about social media trends, tips and success stories through the various and sundry online pubs and blogs I follow to help hone my own strategies and the recommendations I make to the filmmakers I work with. But what’s got me stuck? TWITTER!

Why this mind block to the simplest, shortest, and most direct of these communications tools? I can’t tell you how many people I talk to who “meet” on Twitter, get excited about each other’s projects, and then begin collaborating. Or others who are discovering new audiences for their films and mobilizing people for change – 140 characters at a time. I want to be in this club. But something is keeping me from it.

I will admit that I DO have a Twitter profile. Right now it is in service of The DocYard and essentially, full disclosure, I have linked my Twitter account with The DocYard’s FB page so that tweets go out when the FB page is updated. I know this is a well-worn tactic. But it’s a holding pattern. It’s not using Twitter to its full potential. It’s a social media cop out. And I need a remedy!

When inspiration is what I need, I always look to the POV Blog to what they are throwing into the mix. Sean Holmquest’s post “6 Golen Rules for Filmmakers on Social Media” did the trick.

In this piece, Sean summarizes what he learned at the IFP/Film Presence/DCTV panel on social media engagement in late April of this year. The brain trust offering their experience to the masses include: Elisabeth Holm of Kickstarter, filmmaker Gary Hustwit (Helvetica, Objectified), Julie La’Bassiere of the Cinetic digital sales arm FilmBuff,  and Mike Knowlton of the interactive studio Murmur (Him, Her and Them) and the storytelling non-profit StoryCode. I encourage you to read the blog. There’s some short, easy lessons here on how best to maximize your social media, how to push beyond shameless self-promotion to just be yourself, and how to get your audience engaged by engaging with them! All truly crucial lessons.

My homework: Create a Twitter feed for myself. Create more hours in the day to make a real impact with my various social media sites. And create more idle time.

One of these is going to be easier than the others.

       – Sara

Oh! And in the spirit of all things POV – The DocYard will be saluting 25 years of POV goodness on July 30th with a screening of MY REINCARNATION, from this summer’s POV line-up. Filmmaker Jennifer Fox and POV Executive Director Simon Kilmurry will be joining us at the Brattle!

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