Ryan Gosling doesn’t think people fully understand the emotional, connective power of social media.
Speaking today at the Adobe Summit in Las Vegas, the Hollywood darling and sometimes star of internet memes talked on stage with Adobe chief marketing officer Ann Lewnes, explaining how his own uses of platforms like Twitter and Vine have led to meaningful and unintentional connections with strangers.
Gosling said the industry is still in a “sort of Bambi on ice phase”—a reference to the classic scene from the Disney movie, where the baby deer struggles to find its footing while sliding across a frozen pond.
“Although there are inconsequential ideas that in a way you can sketch, there is a kind of connective power to them that I feel like has yet to be tapped,” he said.
How he uses Twitter
While some celebrities have flocked to various channels as a way to promote their work or connect with fans, Gosling’s relationship with Twitter began after he learned someone was pretending to be him by using his name. Since joining in 2011, he has grown his following to 2.22 million people, but has only tweeted 245 times. (The last tweet other than a few retweets was in September 2016.)
“The thing about Twitter is it sort of takes all of the fear out of public speaking, but not the consequences,” he said. “And I’m very aware that when I tweet I’m about to talk to 2 million people, and it doesn’t help to picture them in their underwear because half of them are probably already in them.”
And yes, he writes his own tweets. (However, he mentioned people on Twitter were quick to inform him that the imposter was better at tweeting about him than he was.)
“I do tweet for myself, much to the dismay of my followers,” he joked.
The emotional connection with memes
Along with being a star in hit films like “La La Land,” “The Big Short” and “The Notebook,” Gosling has also been the star of a couple of internet Memes such as “Hey Girl.”
However, what made him aware of the potential power of memes was another, “Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal,” which was created in 2013 by a Scottish filmmaker named Ryan McHenry. The way he tells it, McHenry one night was eating cereal and watching the movie “Drive” (which Gosling stars in) and decided to make a Vine looking like Gosling wouldn’t eat a spoonful of cereal.
“At any other time, that would have just been another funny period of time in history that would have just been a funny thing you thought of to yourself. But now you can make that thing into a Vine in that moment.”
The Vine caught on, and grew in popularity to a point that whenever Gosling would leave his home in Los Angeles, people would ask why he wouldn’t eat his cereal. (But it bothered the actor because he actually loves cereal.) McHenry kept going, and ended up doing the same thing for every Gosling film.
“It even got a point where sometimes when I would film a scene, I’d sometimes see the spoon coming at me,” he said. “And I would think, ‘this guy is going to cereal this take.'”
Over time, Gosling said, he grew to have a strange sort of relationship with the Vine, to the point where it became part of his day-to-day life. However, McKenry died from cancer in 2015, leaving Gosling emotionally affected by someone he’d never met.
As a tribute to McHenry’s life, Gosling filmed a Vine of his own—showing him finally eating cereal.
“It was strange because I didn’t know this person,” he said. “I’d never met him, but yet he was somehow part of my life, and I guess I was for him in some small way.”