I never got Twitter. Or Instagram or Tumblr or Facebook or Snapchat or MySpace or pretty much all of social media. For a second in high school, I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Livejournal but that came and went pretty quickly.
So, what is it exactly about Twitter that I don’t get you ask?
For starters, let me offer a bit of context. I, Jericho Vilar, am a 38 year old socially crippled introvert who’s ability to properly interact (let alone empathize) with the general public has been thoroughly and forever altered by having worked almost 20 years in retail. I have failed in every one of the major artistic endeavors I’ve attempted in my adult life. I’m a late bloomer who is always behind the curve and very resistant of change. The only thing I’m usually an early adopter of is the backlash and shit talk regarding that new thing and how it sucks. I have only ever owned two iterations of the iPhone (the 4 & my current 6+ with the cracked screen as shown above). To top it all off, I’ve only started using emojis with any sort of consistency or serious intent two years ago.
In what world would any of that glowing list of attributes result in a person who would be good at social media? (I’m also a shitty writer who secretly hates anything he produces, which probably doesn’t help matters much either)
Despite all of that, despite not being able to personally produce a single tweet with the verve and panache of a random 13 year old hypebeast on their worst day, what I am confident of is of my experience as a conscious and active appreciator of the art of tweeting.
I know a good one when I see one.
That said, a few months ago as I was scrolling through my timeline I was absolutely floored by what I could only describe as “a near perfect tweet.”
Written by The Ringer’s Editorial Director Chris Ryan in anticipation of the forthcoming release of the Netflix crime thriller TRIPLE FRONTIER, this tweet instantly stopped me mid-swipe and elicited an actual LOL from my person. After that initial jolt of confusion wore off (I’ve never physically reacted to a tweet before to this degree) I was left dumbfounded and curious as to how a tweet can do that to a person.
So of course, like ‘The Green Album’ era Rivers Cuomo maniacally trying to boil every Top 40 hit down to a mathematical equation, I made a list and an arbitrary point system to go with it to see if I can somehow make sense of it all.
- TIMING (5 out of 5 points): The tweet was posted two days before the film was set to be released on Netflix. Nothing surprising here. All of my Twitter musings on popular culture are usually embarrassingly late so kudos to Chris Ryan for doing something that I’m definitely not known for and being ahead of the game.
- CULTURAL RELEVANCE (4 out of 5 points): This is where the underlying architecture of the tweet starts to reveal itself. Being a avid reader of Mr. Ryan’s work (the reason why I follow him on Twitter) I had known about TRIPLE FRONTIER because of it being one of the Ringer’s most anticipated and talked about films of the moment. They had covered it substantially more during the run up to it’s release than most of the other pop culture/entertainment websites. They were pegging it to not only be the best bad movie of the season but also as a sign of a possible Affleck renaissance / cry for help. It was through my consumption of the articles and content they produced about TRIPLE FRONTIER that directly led to my knowing it even existed and being any sort of hyped for it. The reason why I couldn’t bring myself to give it a 5 is because I never actually got around to watching the movie.
- SELF PROMOTION POTENTIAL (5 out of 5 points): Self promotion, blatant or otherwise, is what social media is built on. In one fell swoop, this tweet signal boosted the film while also promoting his own podcast which helped start the TRIPLE FRONTIER hype train to begin with. There is a real beauty to the symmetry that this tweet accomplished.
- GIF PLACEMENT (3 out of 5 points): Because these days social media isn’t social media unless it’s backed with multi-media. While I’d like to give him props for not picking the most obvious GIF to go with this tweet, Mr. Ryan should have clearly chosen the shot of Affleck and company opening up the storage container in the beginning of the trailer.
- POP CULTURE REFERENCES (6 out of 5 points): The pitch perfect reference to the WATCH THE THRONE song that sampled dialogue from the comedy BLADES OF GLORY was an absolute home run. It was just obscure enough for the real film heads to get but also popular enough for a large swath of the general public to remember. It subtly expressed the tunnel vision that everyone at The Ringer had with the film’s impending release. There was a haunting lilt when I read the words that immediately resonated in my subconscious, whispering to me that I knew I’ve heard that before. Then capped off by the sweet endorphin hit of recalling exactly where it came from in not one, but two separate works. I was super proud. Not unlike, Captain America finally getting a conversational pop culture reference.
- FINAL SCORE: 23 out of 25 points
I’ve have never bought into the notion of a lesser form of art, of highbrow versus lowbrow, the validity of one medium over another. I believe that no matter what it is, if it’s done with passion, talent and in a unique point of view, anything in this world can be elevated into an art form.
It’s just a little more impressive when you do it in 140 characters or less.
Photo by Jericho Vilar
Jericho Vilar is an illustrator currently based in Santa Ana, CA. He writes stories and disappoints people.