Making Dreams Come True for Comics and Speakers since 1984
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Tweeting Your Way to Misery

I'm twittered out. I spent two days at the National Speaker's convention and the whole time I was tweeting, Twitter TiredRTing, following, and follow-backing. Now, after my thousandth retweet - I'm going to retreat.

Many Americans may have wet dreams about having an audience, but for me it's like never getting to end the show, take my makeup off, and have some private time. Is it healthy to need an audience commentary on every thought that comes into our heads? And, anyway, who are these followers? If everyone on Twitter is competing to have followers, who is in the audience? -- Hello, anyone out there?

The uneven ratio of performers to audience members reminds me of why comedy "Bringer" shows were born, where comics, not only have to bring their act, but, people to watch it. It was this drying up of audiences that derailed the comedy gravy train days of the 80's. I guess that my books, "Standup Comedy: The Book," and "The Comedy Bible," helped too, by promoting the idea that anyone can be funny. Sorry about that.

Once audience members got up onstage, suddenly being a standup comedian wasn't necessarily about expressing talent, but became a challenge like walking on hot coals or skydiving. This became apparent to me when, after a Pap smear, my gynecologist handed me a flyer for his show at The Comedy Store. If I see my therapist doing a set, I'm going to get even more depressed!

With Twitter, now everyone has their own show. And success is not judged on content, but by follower count. I guess, I was supposed to be impressed when being introduced to someone at the NSA convention, the woman whispered excitedly - "He has 35,000 twitter followers!" But what does that mean? He's talented? Brilliant? Accomplished? I'm pretty sure that the biggest thing that guy had accomplished was getting 35,000 followers to follow him.

After this weekend, I see that getting followers is an energy-sapping, full time job. And what's the payoff? I suspect that five years from now the value of collecting so many followers will probably be worth the same as the baseball cards my step son collected when he was eight - nothing.

As Aaron Sorkin said recently, "Offline is the new Online." I get it. That's where you'll find me for a while.

So, that being said - follow me @judycarter


Unknown said...

No need to stress over how many followers you have or even bother tweeting - just eves-drop on everyone else by going to (be sure to choose "Advanced Search") and track topics of interest. A killer app for the age of information overload.

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