Tag Archive: Twitter

Copyright 2013, Patrick Lemieux & Adam Unger

Copyright 2013, Patrick Lemieux & Adam Unger

BNL cover art (with text)

Copyright 2014, Patrick Lemieux


Strangely, I find myself defending my dislike for being active on Twitter to an inordinate number of my friends. Here’s the best explanation I can give:

I don’t feel I belong there.

I was slow to join Twitter, but when I finally did, I did so enthusiastically. I followed a bunch of people, everyone from internet cult celebrities to big-time famous people and a lot of folks in between. I engaged with some and replied to friends and strangers alike.

Several things happened in a short period of time to change how I felt. The interactivity turned sour and negative. I’d heartily agree with things I agreed with and debated points I felt needed debating. These would sometimes turn into full-blown arguments and hurt feelings with friends. Or if it was with a stranger, both sides simply defaulted to the “what an asshole!” view of the other and if we were lucky, we both walked away from the argument. Occasionally, neither side was lucky.

The 140 character limit is just that, limiting. It doesn’t allow for nuance, subtly or irony. Nor does it allow for proper expression of ideas, which didn’t help (and sometimes caused) many of those arguments.

I also found myself unfollowing people for a host of reasons, from the aforementioned arguments, to TV series spoilers, to simply not being able to relate to their Tweets.

I also discovered that the creativity I was spending on Twitter left less for my actual creative endeavours. Time was part of it, but it was the need to direct that energy to creating, to writing, to painting, that forced me to look at how I spent that energy. Artists and Writers are not bottomless wells of creativity, or at least most aren’t this side of Leonardo. We must focus the creativity judiciously and then work our asses off to turn that idea into an actual, tangible thing.

For me, Twitter was an enemy of that, a draining, distracting force.

So, there was that, and there was the death of Roger Ebert (a Twitter force for good if ever there was one), getting into an specific argument with a good friend, and getting into an argument with an internet celebrity. In a short span, I lost all desire and motivation to be a part of Twitter.

I create for a living and my family and friends seem not to grasp that the Twitter they view as the bastion of freely exchanged ideas and information is not the Twitter I experience. Is it me? Is it Twitter? I don’t know. It’s a social media relationship that fell apart painfully. I’m still active on Facebook and I dabble a little in Instagram (the jury is out on whether I’ll remain on that one), but I’m told over and over, “Twitter! It’s such a powerful thing! Millions of people…” and so on.

All true.

I still don’t feel welcome there, nor do I want to be more involved than I am.

I’ve written books and as each launched, I tried to do my best to blitz social media. I Tweeted and Tweeted. There were reTweets! New followers! Fantastic! But they don’t last. I would Tweet about the book, I’d Tweet about non-book things, I’d share interesting online posts by others. The reTweets lessened to nothing, followers fell away to pre-book levels. That was it. I was told it takes work and dedication to build a following, it takes time! Well, sure, okay, but when exactly do I write the books or paint the pieces I’m supposed to be promoting? No one has an answer to that, tellingly.

Another thing bothered me about Twitter? Its focus on the immediate, on what is happening right this second. TV show plots, social injustice, news-worthy events, all vital or relatively vital information flooding Twitter up to the second, literally. My new book comes out, great, people Tweet about it, some people buy it, then the next big thing comes along and I’m left Tweeting either “Here’s my new book!” or about non-book things. And we’re back to square one.

It’s not all Twitter’s fault either, I accept some of the responsibility for this break up. I’m not capable of being interesting in 140 characters or fewer, it would seem. The things I want to share aren’t those things people on the receiving end care enough about, it would seem.

My main literary works are based on Queen, Mike Oldfield and Barenaked Ladies, and I find other ways to engage those fanbases. I write articles and guest blogs. I have Facebook pages for each book. I meet fans there. Twitter, for me anyway, was not the magical button I press to receive instant fame and recognition, nor was it an invest in time and energy I was willing to make. Others have and if they can make it work, so be it.

I’m not that guy.

Please stop trying to convince me.

I’m not going to forget about Twitter and when my next book comes out, I’ll try it again, so you are all absolved of the responsibility of extolling upon me the virtues you see in Tweeting and what it can do for my career. I appreciate the advice, but please stop.


Here are my books, by the way:



Spoiler Alert: He's Leia's father, too. Copyright 1980, Lucasfilm

Spoiler Alert: He’s Leia’s father, too.
Copyright 1980, Lucasfilm

I was going to title this piece “Spoiler Alert: Am I The Only Sane Man?”

It’s probably a battle I’m going to lose to the excited, the enthusiastic, the ignorant and the selfish, but I’m going keep fighting as long as I can.

I’m probably going to be accused of being a cantankerous fogie who needs to just get with the times and embrace what social media is or just stop using it (as if those at the only choices. Also, I’m only 38).

It’s already been suggested that I lighten up, they’re only TV shows, so who cares?

I do. I also have greater priorities in my life, but the desire to simply not have TV series I like spoiled from week to week should not be too much to ask.

I feel like one of the people in the line up to see “The Empire Strikes Back” as Homer Simpson walks out ahead of them saying, “I had no idea Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s father.” Of course, every time I suggest to my Facebook Friends that they refrain from spoiling an episode of a show before I see it in the days after it airs, several invariably joke that Vader was Luke’s father. Yeah.

A good friend says by internet consensus 24 hours is the grace period. After that, apparently spoilers are allowed to roam to free. I couldn’t be bothered looking this “rule” up, because even if I find 20 other sites disagreeing, that single citation of an arbitrary, made-up rule is enough for some people.

I don’t get it. I honestly, truly don’t. We gave up one of the basic, most fundamental pop culture courtesies, that of not spoiling the latest show, for what? So we can prove we’re on top latest thing? Because we’re just so damned excited we can’t keep to mentioning that awesome line that character said? I guess there’s the argument that social media is, well, social, and that people do discuss these things in real life. Yeah, they do, but in real life I’m not standing in a room full of people presenting me with a stream of information on their interests. In real life, we ask, “Did you see the new Walking Dead?” If I answer no, my friends refrain from spoiling it. Yet, the same people, the very same people on Facebook or Twitter joyfully post teaser images, quotes and spoiler-filled posts without checking if everyone about to receive that information is as up-to-date as they are. In person, I can put my hand up and say, “I haven’t seen it! Stop right there!” I can’t do that to an image you decided to show all your Friends.

So, why don’t I just unFriend them or stop following them or get off Facebook or Twitter? As I noted above, why are those the only choices? Why can’t people control themselves and show a bit of discretion? For Facebook, I want to know of other aspects of your life and interests, that’s why we’re here, just show some mercy with these kinds of posts is all I ask. Better yet, don’t discuss anything plot or character related on Facebook. I don’t. It’s easier than you think. As for Twitter, I’ve un-followed people for spoilers. I stopped following one of the producers of The Walking Dead because she revealed several seasons ago that an actor was returning to their role in the upcoming episodes. That was all it took.

Am I Grandpa Simpson yelling at a cloud? I don’t think so, but I’ve had that joke made, too.

I do feel like I’m the only sane man here, yet to be consumed by the here-and-now mentality of popular culture that drives so many posts.

Everyone’s doing it, so it must be okay, right?


The Nostalgia Chick

I recently Tweeted that next to Roger Ebert, Ms. Lindsay Ellis has become my most trusted film critic. I think Ebert is the most intelligent and clear-minded of film critics, but often as not I’ll disagree with him. When he argues that a movie is bad, his reasons are usually correct. I may still enjoy that movie, but it will be in spite of the criticisms, which I accept and agree to disagree on.

(copyright The Nostalgia Chick)

Ms. Ellis covers a different critical territory for me, so let me say that I’m in no way comparing her work to Roger Ebert’s. What Lindsay Ellis, A.K.A. The Nostalgia Chick, reviews are films, TV shows, and other sundry favourites, including recent releases, which are either things she grew up with or things which interest her now, or both. Also significant is the amount of research she and her team do when writing The Nostalgia Chick reviews. Her team, Team NChick, are made up primarily of her friends Nella Inserra and Elisa Hansen. They co-write and regularly appear in The Nostalgia Chick reviews.

Nella (Copyright Team N-Chick)

Lindsay Ellis & Elisa Hansen (copyright Team N-Chick)

While you could probably have read that bio on Wikipedia, what I’d like to talk a bit about is why I hold her work in such high regard. In the last little while, Ms. Ellis has gone from straight-up entertaining in her critiques to a focus on educating and enlightening in an entertaining way. She takes the time to educate about historical, social and literary context and builds a foundation for her critical analysis of a work rather than simply mocking a piece, questioning it or burying her point in gags. This latter method was used by The Chick early on, as her “character” was meant as the female version of Doug Walker’s original Nostalgia Critic. Over the years, Lindsay appears to have dropped most of those trappings and rightly so. As enjoyable as her original pieces were, her current releases carry much more weight and any viewer should see that she has grown as a critic, improving on what was already very good.

These days, I follow her on Twitter and occasionally ReTweet her posts, paying particular attention to her posts about movies she’s in the process of seeing, as in tweets while seemingly still in the theatre. The most recent example being her thoughts on the adaptation of the Dr. Seuss book “The Lorax”:

Lindsay Ellis ‏ @thelindsayellis
@eddievercetti there is no Eco friendly message. There is only stupid.

Lindsay Ellis ‏ @thelindsayellis
This movie is turning me into a robot capable only of HAAAAAAATE. HAAAAAAAAATE. #TheLorax #HAAAAATE

Lindsay Ellis ‏ @thelindsayellis
How the fuck did we go from an abandoned wasteland to corporate totalitarian dystopia? #TheLorax

Lindsay Ellis ‏ @thelindsayellis
ECO FRIENDLY AUTO TUNED POP SHIT OVER THE CREDITS. Oh you fuckers are getting SUCH a review. #TheLorax

I eagerly awaited her TNC review on ThatGuyWithTheGlasses.com, and if nobody objects, here’s a link to it. Enjoy!


In closing, I’d like to say that if you were enlightened and entertained by Ms. Ellis’s work in that review, I highly recommend checking out her other reviews on the site. Some recent favourites: Daria, her series on animated short films, The Adventures Of Milo & Otis and Song Of The South.



(29/07/12) UPDATE: I attended ConBravo in Burlington, ON, Canada, this past weekend and had occasion to meet both Lindsay Ellis and Elisa Hansen, briefly, at their autograph signings and also ran into them in them in the halls long enough for them to graciously get a picture taken.

Me and Elisa Hansen (Copyright Patrick Lemieux, 2012)

Lindsay’s was especially interesting because of the timing. I’d gotten her autograph anD was leaving the hall with a friend when she walked by in hurry. Without thinking, I asked for a photo with her (at the autograph table the staff were limiting photos to only be taken off-stage, so as to keep the many people moving and to allow everyone to get their fair chance). Lindsay apologized sincerely, said she had to get back and to find her later. That was cool and I felt bad more for possibly delaying the ongoing autograph session, even for the few seconds the encounter lasted. Not long after, while we waited for another panel discussion to start, I was wandering about as my friend kept our place in line.

Past me strides Doug Walker, The Nostalgia Critic, also a guest at the convention. I’d just met him, too, at the same autograph table.

“Hey, Doug. Time for a photo?”

“Can’t! Sorry! In a hurry! Catch me later!”

No worries, he seemed a man on a mission.

Beside me, another attendee whom I didn’t know says, “Guess there’s no time for my question, either.”

I nod and say, “Yeah, looks like he was in a hurry.”

“I was going to talk to him about…” and off this fellow goes on a tangent about…something. I wasn’t sure what, until he was well into his point. I think. Anyway, it’s cool, we’re all friends at the con.

My phone rings. It’s Tom, my buddy waiting in the line. I don’t answer, but I know he’s letting me know to get back to the line, things are happening. Perfect timing. I hold up my phone to show this fellow I actually do have a call and say, “Yeah, I agree. Totally. Sorry, though. I’m being paged.”

“You better go!”

I do. I weave around cosplayers in nifty costumes (me in a simple “Save Ferris” [Bueller…not the band] t-shirt and jeans) and round a corner near the line, almost running into someone.

“Oh! Hey! I have time for the photo now,” says Ms. Ellis, the person I just now almost careened into.

“Perfect! Let’s do it!”

I hand my iPhone off and a picture is taken! I was happy to have met her briefly earlier and received an autograph, but am happier to get these few seconds captured in a photo.

Really, you can’t make this stuff up.

Lindsay Ellis and me (Copyright Patrick Lemieux, 2012)