Twitter…blurring the lines between famous and fans

As you may have heard me mention, in the last few months I’ve become a bit of a Twitter-fiend.  My most recent discovery is that if I follow a ton of people, most of the time they’ll follow me back.  The number of followers I’ve got has shot up by about 100 in the past week; as of right now, I have 248 followers, no make that 249.  Oh.  Actually that’s another porn follower.  I leave them on there because it makes me feel better to look like I have loads of followers.  Besides, I once read a few tweets by one of my porn followers; she actually seemed like a sensible girl, one who I normally would have followed back, were it not for the sex website attached to her profile. 

So back onto Twitter.  Although I wasn’t Twitter’s greatest fan to start with, I’m now totally converted.  For me, and millions of other users, whereas Facebook brings you closer to your friends/acquaintances/old school friends etc, Twitter brings you up close and personal to complete strangers.  Not only that, but it gives you the opportunity to interact with those people high up on the ladder that is fame. 

One of the first people I followed on Twitter was @ThisisRobThomas, singer with American rock band, Matchbox Twenty,  recently named the top 5 singer/songwriter from 2000-2010 due to his collaboration with Carlos Santana on Smooth.  I have tweeted at Rob several times.  So far, no interaction, but hey, that’s ok.  What is interesting though is that I’ve found several guests for the radio show I co-host, The American Dream Team, on Siren 107.3FM (www.sirenonline.co.uk) through following @ThisisRobThomas on Twitter. 

@Mission_Hill, “wicked good” band from Boston, Massachusetts started following me back in November, I’m guessing after seeing I was a follower of @ThisisRobThomas.  I followed them back, had a listen to one of their songs, Backstabber, and was hooked within the first five seconds.  I contacted them asking if they’d like to come on the show, and on December 13th, we spoke to singer/songwriter Adam Jensen live on the show. 

@ThisisRobThomas also provided us with another guest, the lovely @junegirl0603, aka Jessica Latshaw.  Jessica became a YouTube sensation when a video of her performingAin’t My Friendon her ukulele in the New York subway, accompanied by a complete stranger (now identified as Quoom1) on congo drums, went viral with over a million views in less than three weeks.  Jessica became a firm friend of the show after we spoke to her on January 24th.  After multiple Twittering (or is it tweeting?! Maybe I made that up…?) with myself and various other members ofThe American Dream Team,Jessica was firmly ensconced in our hearts and during my recent trip to New York I was lucky enough to meet her for brunch.  She was just as amazingly wonderful in real life as she sounds on the phone!!  She’s coming over to the UK in May; we’re currently arranging for her to come and play a gig in Lincoln!  And hopefully she’ll be joining us on the show again very soon. 

The latest guests for The American Dream Team, also found via Twitter, is the crew behind American horror flick Six Degrees of Hell.  Starring Hollywood veteran, Corey Feldman and filmed in an actual Hotel of Horror in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, writer/producer Harrison Smith and director Joe Raffa will be joining us live on February 28th to discuss the film, which is currently in post-production. 

It’s not just guests for the show who I’ve been lucky enough to interact with through Twitter.  Being a wannabe writer, when I came down with a cold not so long back, I tweeted that I would feel much better for tweets back from my favourite living authors!  Jodi Picoult tweeted back “Get well soon” and Patricia Cornwell retweeted my message.  Today, I was reading tweets from Rex Pickett, author of the novel Sideways,  which was made into a successful film in 2004.  He was quoting replies he’d received from senior editors at large publishing companies, rejecting the book.  I tweeted back to tell him it was great for new writers like myself to know that a successful author like him had a hard time before he got published.  He replied to me, saying, “Oh, keep reading, Jodie, it gets worse.  That’s why I say to aspiring writers: “How low can you go & still turn on your laptop?””

I’m pretty sure there’s a message of positivity in there somewhere.  At the end of the day…it gets dark, for that you can be certain of.  No, seriously, at the end of the day, I’ve had some pretty low times and although I don’t usually have any trouble switching my laptop on, to check emails, Facebook and Twitter, opening Word to type a story or an essay was an entirely different story. 

Some people don’t get excited about talking to “celebrities” and don’t see it as a big deal.  For me, I love it and I always have.  I once met Dawn French when I worked in a hotel in London; she’d used the underground car park one night during an awards ceremony and came into reception asking where the door to the car park was.  My dutch friend, who was on reception with me, dutifully pointed her in the direction of the door.  Me, being completely gobsmacked at a) seeing Dawn French and b) my dutch friend, Els having no idea that she’d just given directions to a celebrity, ran after her and asked if I could have her autograph.  “Of course,” she said.  “Big Love, Dawn French” read the scrawl on the memo sheet I’d offered her. 

I don’t necessary want the fame.  I just want to be successful in what I do.  I want people to read my blog, my books and to get excited after meeting me.  I want to feel like I’ve inspired someone to follow their dreams, to be a writer, to travel the world.  The more I can interact with people who are in the spotlight, for a reason that involves real talent, rather than just pure luck or lack of clothing on some reality TV show, the more I know that they are real people, just like me, and that it’s not beyond the realm of possibility for me to achieve even a small percent of what they have. 

So I’ll keep checking Twitter, at 4:30am when The Bish wakes me up wanting biscuits.  When someone follows me, I’ll follow them back, as long as they’re not a porn follower.  When I read a retweet I like, I’ll find the original tweeter and follow them.  Maybe one day, my number of followers will exceed the number I’m following.  But for now, I’m following lots of people in the writing/publishing industry.  Rather than putting me off that there are lots of people just like me, it makes me realise that everyone is just trying to find their way in the world.  Thanks to social networking sites like Twitter, I know thatSidewayswas rejected many times before becoming not only a successful book but a film adaptation too.  I also know that Raymond Chandler didn’t publish a book until his 40s.  But I also know that the world is out there, close enough to touch, to talk to.  Maybe one day I’ll be the one giving advice to new writers. 

One thing I am sure of though, is that some of my fellow co-hosts on The American Dream Team, ask me how I can possibly just tweet people and ask them to come on our show.  I reply, you don’t ask, you don’t get.  What’s the worst that can happen?

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