Twitter as Interstitialed Narcissism

kinnon —  November 15, 2012 — 5 Comments

(This post was prompted by a Twitter conversation between Aaron aka @culturalsavage and moi from earlier this afternoon, Nov-15-12.)

In the 20+ years that Imbi and I owned a post-house in Toronto (an editing, graphics and post-audio facility called Scene by Scene®), we worked on thousands of interstitials for broadcast clients including Canada’s two largest private television networks, CTV and Global. These were the on-air promos for “Coming up Next”, or “Thursday at 9pm”… you get the drift.

5, 10 and 15 second attention grabbers meant to keep you connected to the network, or anticipating future viewing pleasure. (Forgive me for having participated in promoting prevarication.)

Interstitial image KTV

On-air promos/interstitials are the primary way networks reinforce their branding.

Our company was paid well to produce high quality brand promotion for broadcasters. (As an aside, I will always remember when the 1st Gulf War started, as I’d just finished creating 36 CTVNews promos for the Gulf Crisis when Imbi went into labour with Kaili. The day after Kaili’s birth, I was back changing them all to Gulf War.)

At one level, Twitter is a broadcast medium. Depending on the ratio of following to followers, it mimics the one-to-many communication of a TV network — primarily seen in the every-moment-tweeted Kardashian/Beiber/Kutcher inane celebrity universe.

LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME — their tweets demand. They aren’t interested in a 140 character-at-a-time conversation — they simply want followers — ones who will buy what they’re selling.

I don’t tend to follow these Twitterati. They add next to nothing to my social media engagement. Their tweets simply reflect the dominant pathology of celebrity — narcissism.

Twitter to me is most engaging as way to discover new ideas and arguments — as well as new production software and technology. :-) My particular bent.

I have no problem with writers who point to their own writing — as long as that’s not all that they point to.

What I find particularly odd in the Twitterverse, are Christians who view Twitter like CTV viewed on-air promos — as a place to simply promote their wonderful brand.

We are told to “stay tuned for a big announcement.” Or ReTweet to win prizes — their books or tickets to their speaking events. They highlight every great thing someone else has tweeted about them. They let us know exactly where they’ve shared their great wisdom — to the applause of the gathered multitudes.

But, sorry, they really don’t have time to engage with anyone who hits reply to one of their tweets. (Followers really need to learn their place.) They’re on to bigger and better things that they’ll tweet about momentarily.

So.

In my never humble opinion, when the primary focus of one’s Tweet output is you and what you are doing, then Twitter has simply become interstitialed narcissism.

[The image above is from the rebranding we did for Global when they went from KidsTV to KTV in the previous millennium. Scene by Scene® is a registered trademark of Medri Kinnon Productions Limited.)

kinnon

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A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

5 responses to Twitter as Interstitialed Narcissism

  1. I’m always surprised when a “big name” tweets back and actually spends the time to converse. I hate it, but I assume that people with “pastor” in their bio are going to try and sell me their newest ministry tool or leadership guide.

    It’s like hanging out watching TBN at times.

    Like I said earlier, the medium has become our message.

  2. “LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME — their tweets demand. They aren’t interested in a 140 character-at-a-time conversation — they simply want followers — ones who will buy what they’re selling.”

    It is ironic you mention this. I was discussing this in a group not long ago and talking about the progression of social media/technology and how it has been used by Christendom. Back when I was engaged in the seeker mega marketing world, I remember being very uncomfortable with how email was being used by many of the celebs. Now, this was back in the post pioneering days when email was starting to be used by the masses to communicate. So the big thing was collecting email addresses and sending out email blasts to promote a sermon series, event, book, etc. There was NO interaction. However, the person receiving the email was thinking this Christian celeb was personally interacting with them when it was a staffer using the celebs name. The celeb never bothered with that email account. It was for marketing purposes and some staffer was managing it.

    Now, we think nothing of something like that and we have evolved to things like Twitter/facebook, etc to build the branding of a “person”!. It was really a way to make what is essentially branding yourself look more personal when it really wasn’t. Email addys simply became “leads” to sell something or build brand awareness. We have progressed right past that to sheer image enhancement. No one even expects interaction anymore. The noise is deafening.

    “Twitter to me is most engaging as way to discover new ideas and arguments — as well as new production software and technology. My particular bent.”

    This is one reason you are one of the few people that I check on their twitter feed. (I don;t follow any twitter accounts) You tend to link to interesting articles/blog posts and use it as a way to share ideas, concepts, etc. I appreciate that.

  3. Interesting article Bill. Social media is fast becoming a marketing tool to the exclusional of real, conversational relationship. As an author I tend to use Twitter for getting out metaphysical thoughts as well as getting news of my book out. I find facebook to be a much better medium to delelop real friendships and spiritual conversations when I’m not publicising my writing. Personally I believe the closed shop monopoly of religious publishers has led to the ‘everyman for himself’ marketing strategy through social media. As in all things, balance is the key I reckon.

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