I know, Twitter is pretty much the very definition of trivial, people telling other people what they had for breakfast. And I know that celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Lady Gaga number their followers in the millions.
But at least for a moment, at least for our tiny little Shakespearean corner of that universe, I’ve potentially got more people listening to me than to the Folger itself.
Think about that for a second.
This is no dig at Folger, not by a long shot. They are who they are, after all – the center of the Shakespeare universe (* at least in the US – Stratford may have some commentary on that subject). They use Twitter less than I do, and they use it for different purposes (although they do, frequently and generously, re-tweet many of the silly games that Bardfilm and I come up with).
And here I sit, a computer engineer without even an academic background in the subject, with a following that surpasses theirs.
It’s moments like this that make me fascinated by social media. Why do I have more followers? Is it because I use the service more? I don’t think that’s it. I’ve got maybe 6000 tweets. I’ll show you people that have 20,000 and still only a fraction of the followers. I think it’s because I am deliberately going out and reaching as *wide* an audience as I possibly can, using Shakespeare as my vehicle.
There’s an audience of Shakespeare lovers. No doubt. I count myself among them. When I see a search engine I always type “Shakespeare” first, to see what I get. It doesn’t take long for all of us to find each other and share the love on all these different networks.
What I’m going after is every single person who even *recognizes* Shakespeare. I make Shakespeare jokes. Lots of em. Today, during the hashtag “Once you’re married you can’t…” I wrote, “…poison your husband and marry his brother.” I honestly don’t know how many people recognized it as a Hamlet reference and how many just thought it something funny for a married person to say, but that little quote alone brought in over 100 followers. Surely they see the Shakespeare in my name, ShakespeareGeek. They have to know what they’re getting into, right? 🙂
I guess what I’m trying to say is that when you look at the Folger (or the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, or Stanley Wells, or any other big names in the Shakespeare game), and the people who seek them out and follow them, you think “That tells me something about that person. That person likes Shakespeare.” When you look at the folks who follow me? I want you to think, “That says something about Shakespeare.” The appeal is universal, and I’m looking to prove it every day.
Thanks to everybody that’s joined in the Twitter fun! If you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for?