With the massive popularity of Twitter and Facebook it is very easy to ‘follow’ and ‘add’ everyone and anyone. But what are the boundaries?
In this new world where we are able to connect with someone by simply clicking a mouse are some actor’s overstepping the mark and becoming too familiar with agents, casting directors, and directors online?
In the last few years everyone seemed to join Facebook and all the agents and casting directors quickly became facebook friends with each other and some very powerful connections and networks were formed. Actors were able to peep into the private lives of agents, able to put a face to the name before going into a casting.
However, some actors thought it was fine to ‘add’ agents and casting directors, to become Facebook friends with them. In most cases this was taking it too far and it made nearly all the agents and casting directors out there quickly tighten up the security on their accounts.
Put yourself in their shoes for a minute. Imagine when they are in a social situation and they meet an actor, they are probably on guard straight away. Does the actor have a genuine interest in them, or are they just feigning an interest in the hope of getting a job or a meeting. This is how they feel when that ‘friend request’ comes up on their Facebook profile. Do you want to be the actor who is causing them to be on their guard, do you want to be the actor who is putting their nose out of joint, do you want to be known as an actor who is appearing desperate?
Can we go back to using Facebook for what it was originally for – looking up exes to see how fat they got?
If you get in touch with a casting director or agent via Facebook, it is crossing the boundaries of professionalism. It is the same as finding out the home address of a casting director and sending your stuff to them there. It does you NO favours. Infact it gets you noticed for all the wrong reasons. It will prbably make them not want to meet you. You would always contact an industry professional through their office, their work email, never their home number or their personal email. So leave their Facebook profile alone, that’s for their personal use.
Here is a Facebook Friend Request rule of thumb:
If you are FRIENDS with a casting director then befriend them. If you’ve become really friendly with them (first name basis) through lots of repeated auditions and bookings, then maybe go ahead and hit “add”. If you’ve never met them never click add!
Facebook Pages are a different kettle of fish. Pages are for businesses, organizations and brands to share their stories and connect with people. If a casting director or agency has set up a Facebook page then you should definitely connect with them through there. This is a great way to stay in touch with whats happening for them, what projects they have coming up, what their particular pet peeve is at castings or get some terrific advice. You can also network with fellow actors on these pages and join in some terrific debates.
I still think it appears a bit desperate to ‘sell’ yourself to a casting director or agent on Facebook. Posting on their timeline with a link to your IMDB profile or your website if it is unsolicited always to me would seem a little bit misguided and ineffective. Send them something to their office or their office email, you can always mention you follow them on Facebook and perhaps even mention a discussion topic you joined in with or appreciated.
The qualities that make Twitter seem inane and half-baked are what makes it so powerful
Twitter is perhaps the easiest of all because you can follow someone and they can choose if they wish to follow you back. Without you following each other you are not able to send them direct messages so you will not come across as ‘stalker-ish’ as you could appear on Facebook. Like Facebook Pages, Twitter is designed to be followed, and most individuals will not mind you joining in with their tweets. Keep your wits about you and if the profile looks like it could be their personal profile then it is unlikely that it will be of any use to you, so why bother clicking follow? They will know you have done it and you will just be coming across as a little bit nosey.
Actors know that marketing themselves is what it is all about, and we are becoming better and better at it. The online world has made the whole industry a lot tighter and more close-knit. With Social Media the boundaries have slightly blurred, and common sense is not often used. Before you add, follow, befriend, tweet, comment, or pin – take ten seconds to think about your actions, how will this make you come across: like a professional or like an amateur. How do you like to be treated? They will be just the same.