About 15% of the filmmakers and screenwriters I meet on my travels around the world shun new media.
Usually they refuse to jump into new media because they are afraid:
Afraid of the time it is going to take them, afraid of losing personal privacy or simply afraid because they don’t understand what new media is.
I have sorted these major phobias into 5 key areas, and tried to offer solutions to overcoming new media phobia.
1. Fear of lack of privacy
Lack of privacy is probably one of the top reasons people fear new media. It is undeniable: If you have a Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter profile you will be able to be seen by anyone who types your name into a search engine.
What I don’t understand is why anyone should have privacy issues in today’s day and age. After all, if you have a bank account, credit card or membership card to a health club, own your own home or have home utility bills in your name, you have lost your privacy. The only way you can gain total privacy in this day and age is to go completely off-grid and pay for everything by cash.
New media offers several advantages to people afraid of loss of privacy.
Firstly, you can use aliases and Hotmail/Yahoo/Gmail accounts thus protecting your true identity. Anyone with serious privacy issues should immediately stock up on alias accounts before the governments close this loophole.
Secondly, on social media sites you can chose which information you publish, thus skewing your profile, whether fictitious or real, to suit yourself.
I know people who change their Facebook pages from personal to professional content every time they go job hunting. Why? Because they know that prospective employers will almost certainly search their job applicant’s profile pages prior to committing to a job offer.
2. Fear of the technology
Technophobes and media dinosaurs shouldn’t fear this one at all. New Media was designed to be idiot proof and easy to understand and use. There are regional variances from site to site and from platform to platform.
The best way to learn is to become a ‘lurker’. Start following some profiles that interest you and observe how they interact with their audience. As you gain confidence, join in.
Lurkers are socially acceptable on new media platforms. What is unacceptable are ‘sturkers‘ – a combination of lurking and stalking. You shouldn’t use social media to find out what you ex is up to.
3. Fear that it is time consuming
New media is definitely time consuming. So is eating and rearranging your sock drawer.
The trick is to see what it is you want from a new media presence and then try to figure out how much daily time it will take to maintain your presence. And make sure you stick to it.
I help manage a very busy Raindance Twitter account. We spend an hour or so every day scheduling messages and ensuring that the pages we link to are functional.
4. Fear social media is a waste of time
I won’t deny that there are times when I get sucked into the new media world and spend too much time clicking on profile after profile. This usually happens when I am too tired. I also don’t like the game of golf – because it is in my opinion a waste of time.
However, when people tell me they don’t engage in social media because it doesn’t ever have anything useful, I have to say: “Excuse me?”.
New media has become the way news is disseminated – not by the official channels, but by eyewitnesses at the actual event.
I learned about Michael Jackson’s final trip to the hospital a full 2 hours before it was on CNN. So too many useful ideas and facts are distributed through social media.
These changes are not evolutionary. They are revolutionary. To survive as a filmmaker in today’s environment you need to develop a strategy. Love it or hate it, new media is here to stay.