When you think about embarrassing social media behavior, you probably think about octogenarians who accidentally post their phone numbers in a Facebook status. But embarrassing social media perils are everywhere for users of all ages, particularly for actors. But it’s 2019 and social media is as important to your acting brand as your signature monologue or audition song, so we want to help you avoid these digital landmines and lead with your best online foot forward.
Contacting industry professionals you don’t know.
“If you met them at a pay-to-meet or networking event, it’s a perfect time to follow up. In NYC recently we queried over 50 top industry professionals at our Actor Marathon, and only one percent wanted to be reached via Facebook, none via Twitter. On the west coast about 20 percent said it was OK and actually had a separate professional Facebook account for actors to reach them. Still, you need to ask first.” —Gwyn Gilliss, manager, casting director, and Backstage Expert
Not actually learning how to do it.
“Many actors dislike social media because they don’t understand how it works. They sign up for a new platform, spend 15 minutes on it, then get angry at themselves for not being more socially savvy. Sound familiar? You can learn to use social media to create the career you want. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how good you are with technology—learning a new social media platform is like learning how to ride a bike. It takes time, practice, and determination. Trust your training wheels before you tackle the big hill. Start slow and learn the basics of each platform before you try posting 20 times a week.” —Heidi Dean, social media expert and Backstage Expert
“Never send out a tweet with specific details of an audition or job. That will get you fired.” —Marci Liroff, producer, casting director, and Backstage Expert
Total social media insincerity.
“Above all, you have to be yourself. Before you post anything, ask yourself, ‘Would I say this in real life? Would I talk about this in real life?’ If you wouldn’t, don’t post it; people see right through the fake and the phony. Your audience is following you not only for the information you’re putting out there but how you’re putting it out there and that’s where your personality comes in. Anyone can find the facts, but there is only one you.” —Arda Ocal, NYC-based broadcaster and Backstage Expert
Your green monster is showing.
“Seeing your social media ‘friends’ post photos from the audition waiting room or on set along with #SoBlesed and #ActorsLife can make you feel like you’re not enough. There you are looking at Facebook in socks and underwear eating cereal for dinner in your tiny apartment comparing yourself to a well-filtered image of your Facebook friend next to the steady-cam operator. Then that negative voice inside your head starts to pipe up. It compares you to the actors you see on social media. All of a sudden you’re paralyzed with feelings of inadequacy that prevent forward motion as an actor. Worthlessness sets in and you start to believe that you won’t succeed.
“But most often it’s comparing the worst parts of your life with the best parts of other people’s. And when the comparison is with a social media picture or narrative, you’re comparing yourself to a skillfully manipulated image designed to present an image of success. In subtle and not-so-subtle ways, most of us use social media to present a facade to manipulate the viewer into believing something about us that we are trying to be. The comparison is flawed.” —Risa Bramon Garcia and Steve Braun, Backstage Experts
Trying too hard to be social media “famous.”
“Social media is a very powerful tool, and being a social media figure isn’t easy. It takes a lot of time and planning, and I can tell if someone is really ‘working it’ or just phoning it in. I’m looking for an organically authentic person—and perhaps someone who isn’t just concerned about getting photos of themselves out there, but who has taken on a political and social stance that can, dare I say, make the world a better place. Look at Yara Shahidi of ‘Black-ish.’ She used her platform to start Eighteen x 18, an initiative to encourage young people to vote for the first time.” —Marci Liroff
Falling off the digital map.
“Fans love keeping up with actors and social media makes it easier than ever, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. With new platforms launching practically every day, it seems nearly impossible to keep up. Don’t panic! Instead, concentrate your efforts on fewer platforms so it’s easier for you to stay active without burning out. What you don’t want to do is go M.I.A. as it’s the fastest way to lose fans.” —Tammy Lynn, publicist and Backstage Expert
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