Prior to launching our show, I was not involved with social media. But "industry people" made it clear to me that the best, easiest and fastest way to build an audience for an online show is to establish a solid presence on Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, and of course, YouTube, where all of our show's episodes can be found.
Within a month of creating a Facebook page, I found myself with hundreds of Facebook friends. As of the date I'm writing this blog, I have 655 Facebook friends and 182 followers on Instagram. But what does that really mean? What is a Facebook "friend" or "follower"? Does such a designation come with any expectations or obligations? Well, it turns out the answer is a resounding "NO".
Most of the celebrities who've appeared on my show have huge numbers of followers on social media. Does that translate into huge numbers when they appear in concert? Does it translate into huge sales when they appear in plays or movies or write books? Does it translate into huge viewer numbers when they do an interview on a show like mine? I certainly haven't seen that. I've learned, the hard way, that just because a large number of people "follow" a celebrity on social media, it doesn't mean that those "followers" will actually give any meaningful or tangible support for the person they're following.
A case in point. A few months ago, I interviewed filmmakers Lynn Santer and James Ganiere, whose short documentary film "Land of the Free: In the Shadows" exposes the horrors of the despicable "sport" of trophy hunting of endangered species. This important movie has won numerous awards at film festivals, and is considered a monumentally significant weapon in the battle to outlaw trophy hunting. Although the film is still making a film festival run, and is not available for public viewing, the filmmakers made special arrangements for a limited run viewing by our audience from October 22 - December 22. The link to watch the movie was widely publicized on our show's social media as well as on the social media platforms of the two filmmakers, who have huge numbers of followers. Less than 25 people watched the film.
Another example. We recently had a very talented filmmaker on our show by the name of Peachanda DuBose. She was promoting the world premiere of her debut short film, "Maggie", which to date has won 17 awards at film festivals around the world. This is an emotionally powerful film that deals with love, loss, mental illness, homelessness and the unpredictability of the human condition. The film is available for streaming on Ms. DuBose's platform, www.peachandadubose.com.
Given the outstanding accolades that the film has received, and given the large number of followers Ms. DuBose has on social media, and given the large number of viewers who watch our show, I would have thought that a sizeable number of people would have streamed the film. My understanding is that, so far, not a lot of people have done so.
Each time Peachanda DuBose has publicized the film on her social media, many people click "like" or post a comment expressing "congratulations", "well done", "bravo", "so proud of you" and the like. Although that's very nice of them, it does NOT constitute meaningful support. Artists such as Ms. DuBose, especially independent filmmakers, need real support, in the form of people who actually go to her website and pay $15.99 (that's the price of three Starbuck's Venti Caffe Latte's!!) to watch her brilliant movie.
A few days ago, I posted a request to all my Facebook "friends" and "followers" to please go to www.peachandadubose.com and watch "Maggie". To my knowledge, less than a handful of people have done it. So I ask you, why be a "friend" or "follower" on Facebook if you're going to basically be a silent ghost? I would rather have a small group of truly loyal and supportive followers, than a massive number of invisible, non-supportive, faceless ghosts who don't engage in any way.
So please, if you're going to be my "friend" or "follower", I am asking you to really be there for me and my show. Please watch my show and post comments about the interviews. And when I ask you to please support a deserving artist, it would mean the world to me and to the artist in question if you would do it. And in return, if I am your Facebook "friend" or "follower", I promise to show you that same level of support. You and I deserve nothing less.