I woke up this morning and groggily checked my email, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. In that order.
My eyes lit up as I noticed that Her Universe founder, women and fan girls’ advocate and voice actor Ashley Eckstein had *gulp* favourited one of my tweets. Oh my god. Two tweets. Holy crap. SHE IS FOLLOWING ME.
“Ashley Freaking Eckstein? Ahsoka? You know? Her Universe?!”
“Oh from Clone Wars?”
“YES from Clone Wars you weirdo! She favorited, like, 2 tweets and then actually FOLLOWED ME. ME!!!”
Cap sat there staring at me with the kind of loving acceptance that is reserved for babies that have pooped themselves.
“What? Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Oh nothing. It’s cute. It’s just… it’s Twitter.”
“SO? I seem to recall you doing parade laps around the living room when Tony Todd followed you…”
“Yeah…” Cap stared off dreamily.
“And when Michael Dudikoff favourited your American Ninja tweet?!”
Now, Cap totally gets it.
But I’d had the same discussions with others when Kevin Smith favourited one of my tweets. (Yes. I know. The actual Kevin Smith). And when Gail Simone and Christy Marx and I engaged in some online chatter. (I KNOW… THAT TOTALLY HAPPENED TOO!)
Or when Samantha Newark liked a photo of mine on Instagram and I almost fainted. (JEM’S SPEAKING VOICE YOU GUYS!) Or when Edward James Olmos followed me. (ADAMAAAAAAAAAA!)
Because to me, it’s not just ‘Twitter’ at that point. It’s connection, and a resounding and effervescent ‘YES’ to the little ventures of spirit and ambition that we assert ever so gently with hopes of feedback.
It’s an answer to the cavernous echo of ‘is anyone out there?’
It’s another uninfected human in a ravaged zombie wasteland!
As 12 year old Kat, I would have fantastic conversations with my role models—in my head. I chatted with Marion Zimmer Bradley and Anne McCaffrey all the time. When I was struggling with life I would have plenty of make believe conversations with Wendy and Richard Pini. Also, I have had bathroom mirror conversations with Sir Patrick Stewart and Neil Gaiman. And Alan Moore and I had a particularly inspiring coffee together.
These ‘conversations’ with famous and accomplished individuals made me reach beyond my highest expectations. Their silent affirmations of my stories, or drawings, or thoughts in general bolstered my creativity and propelled me towards my dreams.
And sure it was just a way I could connect with my own inner strength, but I didn’t know that then.
And yes, I knew I was talking to myself. I’m not batshit crazy.
But if you think about it, for as interactive as social media is, no matter how ‘engaged’ you are, no matter how many followers you have, you’re kind of still talking to yourself, so maybe my internal dialogues with celebrities were just practice.
When I joined Twitter I had no idea what I was in for. I have met some amazing lifelong friends because of it. I have booked gigs because of it. But the coolest thing in the world for me has been (and this applies to most of social media including blogging in general) the ability to put yourself out there and even risk a chance at connecting with others who understand your story.
So now when I get one of those exciting follows or favourites or retweets or whatever, I celebrate them. No, they’re not my first million bucks in revenue, but they’re a glimmer; a smile; a pause in the life of someone whose opinion and intelligence I value and respect. They’re a unique reflection of my success (or my steps towards success) and sure you might call that validation-hinged, but after all that’s how you know you’re on the right track.
And that’s how so many successful creatives got where they are now.
Maybe even a role model or two.