It wasn’t long ago that Twitter felt like Snapchat – limited audience, limited functionality, confusing for beginners and completely foreign to your parents. But now Twitter is more than just a top social media app. The Twitter bird is omnipresent and the service impacts everything from elections to drink specials. But in this day and age, with an endless stream of media coming at us from all angles, it takes a lot to become truly mainstream. It requires storytelling on another scale, one that in this country perhaps only Hollywood can deliver.
Facebook had its moment with The Social Network, and though it’s unlikely we’ll see Trent Reznor scoring a movie about Twitter any time soon, a flurry of films have been referencing the platform and even making it an integral part of the storyline.
The first time I saw Twitter in a movie was Justin Beiber’s film Never Say Never. Not only did I watch the movie, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you haven’t seen it, watch this clip where Beib’s rips it up on the drum kit at age nine. For all his tomfoolery and South Beach drag racing antics, the kid has some real talent.
He was discovered on YouTube and later employed a savvy overall social media presence to fuel his popularity. The film developed a clever creative treatment that displayed the Tweets being deployed by Justin with on screen graphics and animation.
Birdman, this year’s Academy Award winner for Best Picture, also relied on Twitter (and YouTube) to reinforce the storyline. In two pivotal scenes the main character’s daughter references social media status, including the specific number of Twitter followers, to illustrate his relevance.
While Birdman won best picture, the film that took social media integration to a completely new level this past year was Jon Faverau’s Chef. Twitter played an integral role in the film, and the main character somewhat reluctantly discovered the power of the service to drive his business. I can imagine light bulbs going off for business owners in theaters around the country as this unfolded.
This is a bit of a chicken and egg (bird pun?) scenario as the popularity and relevance of the service creates an effective environment for mainstream movies to use it. However, mainstream movies have the ability to take these platforms to another level in terms of mass awareness.
Do you have a favorite movie that relied on social media to drive the storyline?