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When Creators And Twitter Collide

posted Sep 5, 2012, 7:34 AM by

Social media is an interesting thing. Sometimes I think it's the best and worst thing to happen to the entertainment industry. On the upside, showrunners, directors, writers and actors have the opportunity to talk one on one with fans to see how they feel about their work. On the downside, showrunners, directors, writers and actors have the opportunity to talk one on one with fans to see how they feel about their work. You're being exposed to people seconds after they've watched your work, when their emotions are running high and when they have no problem telling you you're an idiot for hooking up Couple #1 when CLEARLY Couple #2 are meant to be. How do you respond to that, really? Odds are someone happens to be a big fan of Couple #1, they're just not an obnoxious tool like the person capslocking at you on Twitter is. How do you listen to fan criticism without changing your personal vision?

It's a slippery slope. You respond to one person and suddenly everyone will demand a response or otherwise call you a jerk who panders to only one type of fan. You give one nod towards fandom on your show and suddenly everybody will be making requests. I know this because Ryan Murphy is notorious for putting fandom related stuff on Glee and once I had someone on my Twitter list retweet about a million requests to him on what he could do to improve the show. I sometimes feel like Glee was created by Satan to nag me personally, so I was already annoyed by the retweets in the first place, but I felt some sympathy because I could not imagine people (who aren’t paying me) to make constant demands about what I do creatively. But he sort of brought it on himself, giving fans easy access to voice their criticism. 

I have lost respect for certain celebrities because of Twitter. I have shunned famous tweeters based on their spelling and grammar (if it's atrocious in a non-ironic way) or they say something offensive (being a Republican counts as offensive) or they give me secondhand embarrassment because they confront people criticizing their work in an immature way. So some people didn't like Prometheus, Damon Lindelof, it's not the end of the world. 

Interacting with fans via social media can be done right, but it has to be done very, very carefully. I give props to Teen Wolf creator Jeff Davis and MTV for their interactions with fans. Barring a few missteps, Davis does a great job answering the right fan questions in a straightforward but not completely spoiler filled way, and he embraces the fanart, fanfic filled internet fandom in a way that is accepting but hasn't crossed a "we're gonna make a whole meta episode because of you guys" line like other shows I could name. Supernatural. MTV is dealing with their first internet loved show brilliantly: placing fanart on during commercial breaks, holding a fanfiction contest where the winner gets to meet Jeff Davis and getting some of the funniest interns I've ever seen to helm the MTVteenwolf Twitter and Tumblr. I feel like it's too good to last, which is a shame because I love Teen Wolf

Don't you judge me, that show has early seasons of Buffy vibe with hot shirtless guys around every corner. 

Look, I think taking in fan criticism does have a place when it comes to making changes to a show. Getting rid of fan-hated Nikki and Paulo was a great move for LOST because they were boring and that episode where they died was awesome. Well the island stuff was good, the flashback stuff to Nikki and Paulo’s past sucked except for Billy Dee Williams. Which just cements my point that Nikki and Paulo sucked and it was a good move to listen to the fans then. But showrunners shouldn't let fans completely dictate how they want a show to go. If you don't want a fan preferred couple together, don't put them together. The fans will get over it. That person on Twitter who says they're going to stop watching your show if you do such-and-such probably won't actually stop watching and, let's be real, they are probably downloading the show illegally anyway. People who have nothing to do but tweet hate probably can't afford cable.