Social Media as an Agent of Change for Documentary Filmmaking
For every filmmaker I know who is a social media maven, there are at least two who are skeptical about Twittering and Facebooking their projects into existence (or at least, into popularity). I think it’s a common misperception that using Twitter and Facebook somehow comes at the expense of the actual filmmaking part of… well, filmmaking. I myself was a late adopter of Twitter (follow me here), and I understand the line of thought that goes into being a social media luddite. But the fact is, to reach an audience a hundred years ago, you would literally have to get out a soapbox and stand on it to shout at people passing by on the street. Now there are instantaneous, free tools of mass communication and some are worried that these tools are more trouble than they’re worth? In this light, Mashable has a nice story that rounds up many options for how social media has changed the game for (documentary) filmmaking, and it goes beyond just Twitter and Facebook:
Before the Internet, documentaries typically reached the public’s attention once they were featured in a film festival. Social media may have made it easier for filmmakers to get the word out about their work, but now even festivals are using social media to connect with filmmakers and their audiences. Jennifer Nedbalsky, the Program Manager for Human Rights Watch’s Film Festival, said the social networking site for group meetings Meetup is important for her community outreach. “It’s a wonderful way for audience members to involve friends,” said Nedbalsky. “It also multiplies the amount of people you can reach, while taking less work from audience members to share.”
There are probably a lot of other social media sites that could prove handy for filmmakers that Mashable doesn’t cover. Other than Twitter and Facebook, which services and sites do you find useful for building and reaching an audience?
[Illustration by Anne Helmond]