It’s fantastic that some of our favourite cast members/band members/assorted other famous people have openly-acknowledged social media presences that anyone can interact with. But how do we make sure they stick around and enjoy the experience? Once again, Wanderers, we have a few tips.
- Even when on set/at the studio together, members of a cast/band do not merge into one like some kind of Megazord, nor do they become each other’s publicists/parents. Don’t ask someone when someone else in the show is going to get Twitter, or if another member of the band smokes.
- Related to the above: please don’t demand that the person you’re messaging make another band/cast member get a Tumblr account or whatever. Has that ever worked on anyone, ever? No, it just makes you look pushy. Pushy is not a good look.
- Be nice and keep criticism constructive, if you can – anything you put on the internet might potentially be seen by the person you’re talking about. Calling them fat, ugly or stupid is not a way to seem like the lovely person we’re sure you are.
- Don’t try to tell anyone what to do, especially in their personal life. It is never going to be acceptable to send someone a message saying ‘I think you and [opposite number in show] should date in real life’ and linking to shippy fanvids doesn’t help your cause at all.
- Bear this article in mind too. If you’re contacting someone directly, flailing and all-capsing don’t really endear you to them. Nor does ‘I want your babies’, even if you put it all in lowercase. Keep it casual and polite.
- We always say this when we talk about the internet, but it’s important – remember there is a real human on the other side of the connection, with feelings and insecurities and dreams. Don’t be rude, or hurtful, or try to make them miserable, and don’t talk like you’re outside their window with binoculars. ‘I’m behind you ; )’ might be funny if you send it to a friend but we suspect people who don’t know you might find it creepy. Especially if you’ve gone anon.
- No random adds – they’re weird enough when you get one out of the blue, imagine getting hundreds a day. If you don’t actually know the person – preferably at least to the point where they’d know who you are – don’t add them.
- The appropriate way to add a celebrity/band is through their fan page, or any clearly labelled ‘public account’ they have. And you shall know these by their clear labels and numerous friends/likes.
- If you do add a celebrity and are accepted, don’t abuse the privilege by stealing photos or spreading anyone’s personal business around the internet. That is what we call Not Cool.
- Don’t sneak in and get at your favourite celebrity’s pictures or info via their friend’s/brother’s/hamster’s page. People have done this in the past because while people who know they have… enthusiastic fans tend to lock their profiles down, their friends sometimes don’t. This causes things to be leaked and friends/brothers/hamsters to feel awful.
- By all means follow strangers/celebrities. That’s what Twitter’s good at.
- Don’t expect strangers/celebrities to follow you back. They might, and that’s great, but please no messages to the tune of ‘Hi follow me back plz’ or worse, ‘Why didn’t you follow me back?’
- For that matter, demands to retweet are pointless and kind of irritating, especially when there isn’t any other content in your tweet.
- Talk back to people you follow if you like, but don’t expect them to answer. Anyone who’s ever weighed in on a Trending Topic can probably appreciate that that interaction page can get really full, really fast. If you’re getting hundreds of @messages a day, not to mention all the new followers, it’s easy to overlook things. Besides, crazy though it sounds, sometimes your favourite person won’t have anything much to say!
- That means no ‘Why didn’t you reply?’ messages. Basically, if your message starts ‘Why didn’t you’ think very hard before sending it.
- If someone you’re a fan of is on SoundCloud or YouTube producing music, please keep your comments relevant to the thing you’re listening to.
- Comments on a new song that say ‘I love you in this show’ or ‘You’re really hot’ are not relevant and therefore not appropriate.
- Some people do like to know where their listeners are coming from so ‘I love the harmonies at 1:32 [or ‘here’ if you’re using SoundCloud’s timed comments], now [show] is bringing me to good music’ is a valid comment.
- Equally, ‘I love the harmonies’ is fine on its own. Basically, evaluating people on the stuff they’re actually presenting to you makes them feel more valued overall. If they’re acting on the telly, they know they’re good at that. What they want to know is how you feel about their awesome kazoo solo.
- Not a lot of people are both in the public eye and (openly) blogging on Tumblr, and judging by the way the people who are get treated, there’s a reason for that. However, some are nice enough to make themselves known and leave their ask boxes open. Respect the bravery involved in that.
- Those who accept and even encourage asks would definitely prefer to answer questions about themselves and their projects, rather than anyone else’s. And while random questions are fine… if they want to answer the vital question of ‘pirates or ninjas’ they’ll probably post a meme inviting questions of that variety.
- If anonymous asks are enabled, make sure you know why you’re clicking that option. Is it because you don’t have a Tumblr account? Because you don’t want them to feel obliged to remember you or ask you something back? Or is it because you know, deep down, that your question might cross a line, or make them feel hurt or uncomfortable? If it’s that last one… consider not asking your question at all. It’s polite to give a right of reply, but if you’re not going to leave your username be sure that you’re doing it for good reasons.
As with all interactions with other humans, the key here is to be respectful. If you’re not sure about something, imagine yourself on the receiving end of it and you’ll know if it’s going to make someone uncomfortable. But if you keep all this in mind, you should be able to enjoy interacting with the people you admire online!
Eleanor Musgrove (has seen some things, man)