Artists Pay Back (The Blog)

March 31, 2011

Tweet Reconciliation; Or How A Tweeter Got His Groove Back

Filed under: pop culture,Twitter,Writing — artistspayback @ 10:41 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,









I recently reacquainted myself with a lost love.

We hadn’t been totally separated. I would check in now and then, you know, just to see how things were. But it was never enough to truly get me excited. And then it happened, as these things often do, with a change of heart and a moment of clarity. At that moment, I decided it was time to make a go of it again.

And this time I would do it so much better.

So, hi Twitter. I’m back.

Not that you really missed me. You’ve got your high-profile friends who clearly mean so much more to you. You say you don’t make special exceptions for them, but that means you either think I’m a fool or you’re just lying to yourself. Still, I’m not too proud to admit that I needed you more than you needed me. You can do so much for me and yet I had walked away. I was getting enough attention I suppose or it just seemed like too much work. That wasn’t your fault, those were my issues.

Not that I had forgotten the reasons I had parted before. You’re high maintenance, for one thing. You always throw so much at me that it quickly becomes noise. Badly misspelled and/or punctuated noise (which only makes it worse.) It’s not that you don’t have anything to say, it’s just that so much of it is about you, or just regurgitated nonsense, that it makes it hard sometimes to see that you do have a point of view. INteresting things are being said once you claw through the inanity.

I had forgotten about your arbitrary “following” rule. You know how 2000 is some magical cap number that you try to say has something to do with site performance or looking out for my best interests (which is it?). And how you couldn’t lift it if you wanted to (come on, babe, really?) If that were the case then why ever let any account go beyond this imaginary figure? You talk about these magical ratios, but won’t let us know what they are. Have you been hanging out with NFL owners? If there is a formula and it’s applied to everyone “without exception” that just make it public. You won’t, I know. Still a guy can hope. All I know is I’m stuck at 2001 even though I’ve gotten my followers up to over 550. That’s better than 4 – 1, yet still not good enough for your “ratio.” Please.

Still, I don’t want this to turn bad just as it’s starting to be good again. So I’ll play your games. I’ll work the angles and get in your good graces. I’ll try to focus on what’s good and what possibilities lie ahead and ignore the hypocrisy, the lies, the idiocy.

I’ll focus on the fun times. Hey, remember when I wrote this? Oh, that blog entry such a hit and we did it together. I’ll never forget that. Oh, and this one? See, we really were good together back in those days. Before I go jaded and frustrated.

Who knows how long we’ll last this time. I hope it sticks. Because even after all that, I think we can be good together.

(And I’m clearly so much better than that Kutcher clown you’re so infatuated with.)

Tweet dreams, mon ami…


Pop culture got you confused? Check out my handy conversion chart from Generation X to Generation LMFAO.

Want to read more of my semi-regular, semi-coherent, semi-humorous musings? Subscribe. Or check the archive. Or follow me on Twitter (that way I can follow you, uh, once I clear the MAGICAL RATIO.)

August 13, 2009

5 Reasons To Avoid* Twitter

Okay, first off a little admission. I’m on Twitter (Follow me!) and I don’t think it should be avoided.

Well, not anymore anyway. I first had to go through the requisite Seven Stages of Twitterification to arrive at the emotional state in which I currently reside:

1. Disregard (“Oh yeah, I heard about that thing. Sounds kind of silly.”)

2. Mocking (“Oh boy, I’m having eggs for breakfast. I better ‘tweet’ all my ‘followers’ so they can get through their day.” – Complete with air quotes, of course.)

3. Contempt (“I don’t care who is Tweeting. It’s pointless. LEAVE ME ALONE, YOU ZEALOT!”)

4. Hunger (Really has nothing to do with Twitter per se, but these steps take some time and a fella needs to eat.)

5. Intrigue (“Hmmm, I wonder what noted TV star John Larroquette is doing right now.”)

6. Embarrassment (“What? No, of course I’m not on twitter. It’s like all stupid and awesome, uh, I mean awful. So awful.”)

7. Acceptance (“Of course I’m on Twitter. It’s awesome. You’re not? You have to sign up, RIGHT NOW!”)

And that’s where I currently am – Acceptance. I have been baptized in the information stream and accepted Twitter as my Social Media Lord and Savior. I fully understand that it is a viable (and entertaining and fun) tool in the not-at-all-made-up field of “Social marketing.”

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t without its flaws. There were some issues I had prior to joining and others I’ve discovered as a proud member.

So what’re my problems with Twitter? I’ll break it down (and in as many damn characters as I please…actually let’s start there.)


1. The 140 Character Rule Is Further Debasing Language

I like language and I like words. They’re fun and useful. In fact, I like them so much that I have been trying to turn them into money for years.

But Twitter puts a limit on these wonderful words. Now, in and of itself, this isn’t a problem. It is entirely possible to write coherent statements on Twitter within these constraints. (And even ones which contain no numbers/symbols in place of words. I know, right?) Except a lot of people don’t do that. They compose statements that don’t just mangle language, it’s more akin to grammatical genocide.

I know this didn’t start with Twitter, it’s just the next outlet in a string of technological terrors that have slowly conspired to turn our written communications into playgrounds for ‘tards. It began to fester in quickly dashed-off emails which begat message boards which begat IM’ing which begat texting which begat Isaac which begat Jacob and so on…

Sure, @Biz would have you believe the limitation “fosters creativity” when in reality it simply 4-ces U 2 rite like a Prince song title. Or it makes people spout gems like these actual Tweets:

“live n the j…whats good with u..i might need to stay there for like a week or two…i need a apt and job n the h..”

“16xs we knew how 2 keep each other goin I thnk it was cuz it was da 1st time u knw how u try 2 impress each other “

Um, really, Biz? That’s your creativity being fostered?


2. It Makes People Want To Be Funny

I know you say funny things all the time. You are constantly cracking up the girls in Accounts Receiving with your wry take on the most recent Vanessa Hudgens nude** scandal. You’re always quick with a joke or to light up a, er, fart.

But in reality, it’s not easy to come up with comedy nuggets when you have lots of words at your disposal. But on Twitter, you have to contend with the character limit in which to promote your underappreciated comedic talents. Sorry folks, but not everyone is Stephen Colbert or Aziz Ansari or Rainn Wilson. Believe me, I know. I’ve got clunkers stinking up my stream like dead salmon.

Yet a quick perusing of self-appointed Twitter tags on tells me that there are:

• Over 8,000 people who are listed under ‘funny’

• Over 1000 ‘comedians’

• 260 who go the extra mile into ‘hilarious’ (and one trailblazer of ‘hilariosity’)

However, by my unscientific accounting (yes, I carried the one and everything) I came to approximately 347 genuinely funny Twitterers. And, no, you are not one of them. Sorry.

(On the positive side, Twitter is a tremendous resource of unintentional comedy.)


3. Let’s All Be Honest, It’s Not Revolutionary, It’s Not Even New – It’s Essentially A Message Board

When I first checked out Twitter last fall, I laughed. (Seriously, that intro video is great comedy.) Then I realized it was serious. Then Ashton Kutcher got involved and I was back to thinking it was a joke. Sadly, that too was serious.

But it wasn’t until my wife was telling me about the Tweet Up (her words, never mine) she was engaged in that I realized what Twitter really is – it’s a chat room.

Yes, the great cutting-edge social media leader that is changing how information is distributed is really just a glorified chat room. Well, I suppose it’s more like a bunch of private chat rooms that you log into at once.

So, private chats. That’s it.

Real time updates? Chat room.

Worldwide connections? Chat room.

People trying to be funny? Chat room.

People pretending to be someone else? That’s right, chat room.

So why are they getting so much credit? 


4. It’s More Masturbatory For Its Users Than YouPorn

You know what one of the hottest topics on Twitter is? (Besides AT&T which is always reappearing on the Trending Topics list.)


People on Twitter LOVE to talk about Twitter.

Twitter promotion. Twitter validation. Links to Mashable articles about Twitter. What’s wrong with Twitter? What’s right with Twitter? Who’s on Twitter? Who isn’t on Twitter? What are people saying about Twitter? How do I get more followers on Twitter? How can I use Twitter to get celebrities to give me money? What will I do if Twitter ever goes down again and I can’t talk about Twitter on Twitter?

Twitter loves itself some Twitter and if you don’t believe me, just ask someone on Twitter.


5. The God-Awful “Twitter-Speak”

This may be the most offensive for me. The words, THE HORRIBLE CUTESY WORDS!!  I’m talking about: tweet, tweeps, tweet up, twitterverse, twitmigo, twugs, twitterection, twelp, and all the other horrible “tw—-” words that have been and that ever shall be.

Though I have begrudgingly come to terms with using “tweets” (and, shamefully, I even used the phrase ‘sweet tweets’ once with utter sincerity) I really can’t bring myself to employ any of the others. I used to have a hard enough time at Wendy’s ordering a “Biggie fry” with my “Biggie Frosty” without my testicles reascending into my body. (Not fun, but really, square burgers! How can I say no?) 

This is the internets dammit, it’s serious business and we have no time for cutesy.

And no, you cannot has cheeseburger.


So there you have it. Five legitimate reasons to avoid Twitter. 

But all that pales in comparison to one fantastic reason to love Twitter.

And it can be found here.


Are you or is someone you love (and/or have incriminating photos of) a big Hollywood star? Great, then send them here.

* Full disclosure: This article was originally titled 5 Reasons to Hate Twitter but I changed it partly as a regrettable inital urge to be “confrontational” which is admittedly lame and largely because I’d rather people actually, you know, read the whole article rather than just the title before dashing off derogatory postings.  

** Yes, that was a shameless stab at SEO. Still, I’m glad you’re here, you creepy creepy bastard.

July 31, 2009

Twitter: The Reckoning

So I joined Twitter. I’d seen the news reports, the tales of fierce rivalries for the most “followers” that raged between people like Ashton and Kanye and, uh, okay just those two mostly. I’d heard how Shaquille O’Neal himself was known to interact with fans at an almost unprecedented rate. I figured it would bring me closer to Hollywood types. I needed to get some kind of closeness, I needed to follow them without actually becoming a stalker (which I’m told is generally frowned upon.) So this my recourse, not stalking – eStalking. Big difference.

So I signed up. Logged in. And promptly began doing the “@FamousNameHere” thing. And since that first day, something magical has happened.

I’ve been routinely ignored.

Yup. Not a tweep, er peep, ah whatever…from a celeb in response to my responses. They make a joke, I make a witty rejoinder and my words just die in in the ether. Apparently in celebrity cyberspace, no one can hear you tweet.

Now, it’s not to say that I’m foolish enough to believe that I’d have Matthew Perry or Jason Segel or even Michael Ian Black LOL’ing at their keyboards and rushing to retweet me. (And bless Mr. Ian Black, so desperately is he pimping out his wonderful new show on Comedy Central he has taken to Twitter like some dude with nothing better to do with his life than constantly interact with the twittering masses. Uh, no offense, Ashton.) Honestly, did I actually believe that within a week or so with one or two responses that I’d be touched by one of the golden Gods from Mount Hollywood?

Uh, yeah. Actually I did. 

Yeah, I’m kind of an idiot, er optimist. No wait, I had it right the first time.

I’m not the first person to make the “high school is just a microcosm of life in general” analogy, but it’s never been more crystal clear than when I joined Twitter. Here I am, the quiet kid in class jockeying for a chance to get the popular kids to notice me. I laugh at their jokes which are not always funny, I try to get them to acknowledge mine which often are. But much like Larry Ford taught me in eighth grade as he would do his hack routines in Algebra class, something is always funnier coming from someone popular. And vice versa.

Now granted, some of these celebs must be getting hundreds or even thousands of responses to their every post and they may or may not be looking beyond the first one or two responses when they deign to check their “@” in-box. They probably scan whichever ones are on screen and pick one or two to respond to. This gives them an air of accessibility without really having to expend much effort. And quick scan of their Twitterings shows that they are busy indeed as their days are fairly consumed with (a) watching TiVo, (b) getting off/on planes, (c) eating, or (d) tweeting about watching TiVo, getting on/off planes and eating. 

So my being ignored is surely nothing personal, but it’s still frustrating. Though it also has its amusing aspects particularly when you look closely at who does get a celeb response. Perhaps there is more to it than just picking a couple responses off the top of the list as most respondees largely fall into two camps. Other celebrities (even those that can be considered marginal, we’re talking the back-half-of-the-alphabet-lister here) and hot chicks.

Tell me this isn’t high school.

Especially the male celebs. It’s fun to watch the sometimes not even remotely amusing or witty or insightful musing garner tons of fawning responses. Some of which are neither amusing, witty or insightful themselves. But they get responses because it’s from another celeb or hot chick. Though I have fallen prey to the fawning over less-than-stellar celeb musings in hopes of getting “noticed” and perhaps my retorts weren’t what one would call ‘inspired,’ I have thrown out some rather clever rejoinders aaaaand…nothing. (For instance, I’ve tweeted a couple of pithy bon mots at the lovely and talented Elizabeth Banks with, sigh, nary an “@” back.) Some of these celebrity brain droppings are of the “Man, ice is really cold. Amiright people…” variety and suddenly #ice is trending.

Ah well, still I try. I’ve done the witty approach, the direct approach, the casual approach, the help-a-brother-out approach and have yet to stick the landing on any. Here I wait to see if Seth Rogen will offer advice to an up-and-coming writer (yes, me) or how Kristen Bell’s reshoots are going on COUPLES RETREAT (opening this October at a theater near you) or perhaps if John Mayer has clicked my link to the script I wrote about having problems peeing in public. (Seriously, John, it’s EXACTLY related to your tweet and it’s only like 20 pages long. Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.)

Yes, class is in session at Twitter High and, as always, the cool rule the school. Maybe I’ll get that first response soon. After all, I need to get noticed eventually if I’m ever going to get a date to the prom.


Want more Twitter insight, check out the 5 Reasons To Avoid* Twitter.

Or perhaps you need some fashion advice, check out these great selections for special occasions.

July 22, 2009

And so it begins…

Filed under: Celebrities,Twitter — artistspayback @ 6:47 pm
Tags: , ,

The website went live yesterday so let the promotional efforts begin. I’ve got to do whatever I can to try and get the word out to those listed about my endeavor here. This will not be easy and it may not be pretty. In fact, I’ve already stooped to (shudder) starting a Twitter account. Desperate times call for desperate measures measured in 140 character bursts. 

To sum up what I’m trying to accomplish here, I want to reach out to a few people whose lives I’ve touched in my own little way and ask them to touch me back in their own little way (relatively speaking). My hope is that they will remember their own days trying to gain a foothold in the industry and return the favor.

In the form of monetary support.

To someone they have never actually met.

Or were even aware of his (mine) existence.

Yeah, yeah, I know, but I gotta try something.

Blog at