While some have labeled the use of Twitter as a fad, I fall more on the side of those who think it has a permanent, viable place. What that place is, however, is still being discovered.
I have been on Twitter now for a few years and in that time, I have watched its usage change and grow (really, really quickly). It’s a site I use to both advertise our new stories and communicate with our readers. In the first regard, it is somewhat useful. As it stands, Twitter brings a very small (in relation to other sites) number of readers. But as a communications device with readers, it is invaluable. It is a quick and easy way to see which stories readers seem to react to the most and which ones they want to read.
One reason that the site doesn’t bring too many readers via Twitter, though, is that the It’s Just Movies Twitter account (http://twitter.com/ItsJustMovies) has just north of 1,000 followers. A nice number, but it could be so much higher. However, I have never been one to go out and follow a bunch of people just so they will follow me back. And I especially don’t follow people, wait for them to return the favor, and then drop them to seek other followers. This is because the communications aspect of Twitter is what is most important to me. If you follow me and interact with me, I will follow you back.
One of the first people I followed on Twitter was a young film-maker named Jason Pollock. Pollock’s account (http://twitter.com/jason_pollock) has grown exponentially and currently has more than 80,000 followers. And whereas I follow between 500 and 600 people, he follows nearly 80,000. Seeing that I can’t keep up with even the small number of people I follow, I can only imagine what 80,000 people sending out messages must look like.
With the vast number of messages sent out by Twitter, standing out is a challenge. But sending your message to 80,000 people at a pop is certainly an advantage. The results of the Internet on a movie’s success have yet to truly be proven successful, but there is little doubt that Pollock is at an advantage over other film-makers in making people aware of his movie. His understanding and his use of Twitter has made that possible.
Pollock was able to send out the word that a trailer was available for his documentary “The Youngest Candidate” to upwards of 80,000 people and it didn’t cost him a dime. That is one reason why I feel Twitter is here to stay. Who would want to lose that kind of a marketing and communications tool (and one that is free to boot)?
As for the film itself, Pollock has documented four young people who have made the decision to run for office. From the footage shown in the trailer, it looks like a worthy film.
On the whole, documentaries are a tricky business. You have to have the skill to find the right story and the luck to have it play out in an entertaining, interesting manner. And even when you have those facets come together, you need to find a way to get people to watch the film.
On Nov. 9, viewers will get that chance when the Documentary Channel debuts “The Youngest Candidate.” It is a movie I have been hearing about for quite a while now and I am interested in finally getting to see it. And, quite honestly, I am curious to see what kind of buzz a Twitter feed with 80,000-plus followers can bring to the table.
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Follow Sean Gerski on Twitter at http://twitter.com/DoubleDown44.