Should An Artist Listen To Feedback On Twitter?

While Breaking Bad ended only a few weeks ago, the buzz is still going strong on the Twitter sphere. Clips and remixes of many of the ending’s best moments are still going viral – people can’t get enough of that show.

When you listen to Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan, discuss his relationship to his fans, he has a notorious no-web policy. He doesn’t read a single tweet or Facebook message. He explains that it’s not because of some moral principle, but rather because he’s honest with himself and knows even if 99 tweets are positive, it’s that 100th that will bother him. That’s a problem for social media in general – it’s clear that we are more afraid of criticism than we are buoyed by positive feedback.

Vince also brings up that he has a few of staff that can’t help but relay web sentiment to him. This brings up a good question – How can writers or artists work in today’s echo chamber? Most social media service providers will give their customers ample different ways to track the way they are perceived online, but for artists, this can be to great detriment. Criticism too early in the creative process is not necessarily the greatest way for an artist to grow.

At the same time, the feedback can be extremely helpful in understanding whether an artists’ vision is being expressed properly. However, this requires a great deal of inner strength.

Of course, on top of all of this, Twitter is key to help promote your art. Establishing a reputation as a witty thinker or unique voice can make a career.

So far, for most artists, there seems to be two be two ways to deal with it – dive in or retreat.

With producer-turned-rapper Kanye West, he’s dived in. He uses the site as a corkboard for whatever thought pops into his head – and it has won him a strange, unmissable reputation on the web. Whether it’s a clever ploy to feign a persona or he’s just that random, it works and he has a direct line to millions of his readers. This likely helps him get a pulse on his fans in his own way. Each artist has their own way to find their inspiration, and for artists who are drawn to zeitgeists or have dreams to affect a huge group at once, Twitter can be extremely useful.

At the other end of the spectrum, there is Gilligan, who veers towards the Luddite for the sake of his art. It seems to work for him – his work seems singularly focused within the world of its creator, working by its own logic without the pull of the turns the mainstream may expect or demand.

So depending on your art and your style, you should think carefully about whether you really want to use Twitter to share your art.

If you’re a film/TV writer like Gilligan, here’s a great resource.

sharing five writer rooms that are on Twitter. You may get a hint about how you want to connect with your audience.

Also, here’s a nice little bonus: Fake Leno’s writers room.

(Not listening image via Shutterstock.)