For those of you who read my blog, you will know that I am a neophyte in the world of social media. I am trying to understand: (1) what works; and (2) what works for me.
What works: attractive, energetic boy/girl with good camera, editing, and message. The message is targeted to a specific group: make-up tips, tips on how to write, fish, shoot, whatever. The blog (now, usually, video blog or vlog) is generated regularly so that the audience can rely on their entertainment fix. This is usually once or twice a week. These vloggers/bloggers create a subscribed audience of tens of thousands and, sometimes, hundreds of thousands. (And, rarely, in the millions.) They entertain, educate, and cross-sell products through recommendations, links, and commissions. You Tube and other online outlets will monetise their message based on the level of viewership. It works for some.
What works for me: I don't mind regularised publications--vlog or blog. I enjoy a good joke, especially at my expense. I find myself ridiculous to be mimicking something I have avoided my entire life. I am not afraid to admit my insecurities or ambitions. In other words, I am happy with being transparent (or as transparent as I am capable of). One of the downsides to this is that I am self-absorbed with my own journey--and viewers may not find this entertaining. What I am coming to realise, is that I am not an entertainer. I have opinions and I will express them. I may learn something and I will share it. I want to be a serious writer and to be taken seriously as a writer.
What has caused me to muse on this subject? I recently watched Tom Cruise's most recent film--which is based on a Lee Child novel. It is the Jack Reacher franchise. In the novel, Jack Reacher is six foot six inches and is somewhere in the forty-year-old region. Tom Cruise is probably a foot shorter than that and at least fifteen years older. I have no problem with that (artistic licence). What I find odd is how the characters we watch or read are increasingly becoming fantasized versions of reality. We must know that it is impossible to be hit in the face so many times and not have more than a slight scratch. Or to fall thirty feet and do little more than 'shake it off'. We are asked to do more than suspend disbelief as we watch or read these thrillers. (The books are invariably better in these instances.) Tom Cruise is almost believable. Let's look at some of our more senior action heroes. I don't want to offend by naming names, but take this observation: when you see the senior actor walking, he is obviously struggling with his legs; he is wobbly. How are we to then believe that he is capable of running, jumping, rolling, punching, and being punched with little to no effect on his body? Sorry, I'm going to name names: Dolph Lundgren in Kindergarten Cop 2. Firstly, he is ruining a great franchise (how can anyone follow Arnie?). Secondly, he can barely walk. I remember him as the super boxer facing Sly Stallone in Rocky IV. He was scary tough in that movie. Now, he should be tending tomatoes. BUT, because he has a fan base (of which I am one), he gets the tough-guy roles. Michael Douglas is another example. Time to hang up the tough-guy roles. I don't mind them being old tough-guys. But, please stay away from the unrealistic love scenes and the jumping-from-vehicle scenes or the cringing fight scenes.
YET. Yet, they bring in the audiences and sell movies, books, whatever. They work. They have the 'x-factor'.
Should I emulate them? Possibly. Copy them? Definitely not. They are outliers. They are the lottery winners. They are the necessary sparkle that keeps the rest of us hypnotised--believing that the dream is alive so long as some people are reaching our perceived goals.
What should I do? I need to remember that gravity exists. Running for extended periods of time makes me tired. Too much food and drink will make me fat. And that I will not sell millions of books by acting like an idiot on my vlog or blog. I will write freely, allowing my imagination and senses to go to the extremes of human existence. I will question the good, bad, and the ugly in our society. Some of my writing will be worse (and better) than others. Some may not like it at all. Others may love it (and do). All I can do is to be honest with myself and write the best books I can on subjects that interest me. How those are received is beyond my control.