“Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.”
The next art form is going to be what we now refer to as “Social Media”.
I’m sure many critics are shaking their heads.
Fear not, it’s still only in it’s infancy.
The same folks shook their heads when Cinema started to come around over a century ago. Many people were bewildered, confused and couldn’t possibly see such blasphemy as art.
I’m here to tell you today that famed entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk is on to something.
I’m by no means in the Gary V. fan club. There’s some things he says that I don’t necessarily agree with. But he’s right about one big thing. He blogs and vlogs about the fact that social media and everything going on within your phone and your posts on various platforms are a new form of entertainment.
We humans are naturally curious about each other. Seeing what each other are doing is primetime TV and people sure do like to educate, inform, entertain, and inspire. Isn’t this the reason we turn on the television or go to the movie theater?
“ The mobile device is now the television, and the television is now the radio.”
Gary Vaynerchuk, Entrepreneur
Gary V. goes on to say that if your phone is now your television then Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat are the new CNN, NBC, ABC, and Fox.
I’ve spent a lot of time in acting classes over the years. Social Media like acting is about connecting to the honest and authentic you.
I want to be overly clear. Cinema, theater, television, acting, and any other form of artistic expression are NOT going anywhere. I’m a passionate performer myself and do not want them to go anywhere. Not by any means. But it doesn’t stop this new form of artistic expression from taking the stage. We need to open our arms more to it with passionate awareness. Awareness is the doorway to growth after all.
With that in mind, let’s briefly take quick trip down memory land and look at what exactly Artistic Expression is:
One view of emotional expression in art is that it is preceded by a perturbation or excitement from a vague cause about which the artist is uncertain and therefore anxious. He then proceeds to express his feelings and ideas in words or paint or stone or the like, clarifying them and achieving a release of tension.
The point of this theory seems to be that the artist, having been perturbed at the inarticulateness of his “ideas,” now feels relieved because he has “expressed what he wanted to express.” This phenomenon, indeed a familiar one (for everyone has felt relieved when a job is done), must still be examined for its relevance. Is it the emotion being expressed that counts or the relief at having expressed it?
Sounds like the daily prep someone might do of an Instagram post.
Want to know a secret?
When you are desperately grinding your brain and obsessing about what hashtags, how many hashtags, which filter, what inspirational quote to use, and whether or not you should spend money to promote your post you know is happening?
You’re missing what would make the best post. As you fret and go back and forth to create an imaginary circumstance of what the best yoga pose or growth algorithm for Google Ad Sense is guess what is happening? The best post is you actually sitting there fretting about what to post. That is what is the most interesting because it’s the real you. And that’s the good stuff. That’s what people connect to. The irony here is that the real connection, authenticity, and honesty usually lingers in the moments just before one hits the “post” button.
“Acting is behaving truthfully under imaginary circumstances.”
~Sanford Meisner, Acting Coach
That quote sounds familiar. It’s getting curiously close to being good advice for posting on social media just much as it is wisdom for actors and actresses.
“Love the art in yourself and not yourself in the art.”
~Constantin Stanislavski, Acting Coach
This again rings too true. If you love what you are doing and you are true to you when trying to “brand” yourself, people will take notice and connection will occur. Artistic truth inspires but is fleeting.
Think for a moment about what in yourself are you posting every day? What is core to your inner truth?
Social Media is leading us into the next phase of human connection.
That is what Gary V. speaks of in regards to “Documenting.” Because documenting is creating. Creation doesn’t come from being phony. It comes from a different direction. Humans connect to the real you. I would say that Vaynerchuk seeing social media “documenting” as truthful is no different from the early acting coaches seeing cinema acting as more authentic and in the moment than the more flamboyant acting we still see in theater today. There’s a connection. But there’s still a piece missing as this new art form is in it’s infancy. Give it time.
This is not only true for performers but also painters, musicians, and any other artistic form of expression. It’s also true for humanity as a whole. Expression most definitely is the creation of art.
“I think, by and large, the level of acting is mediocre. When I go to the theatre, I get so angry. I don’t go.”
Uta Hagen, Acting Coach
“Uta Hagen would say, there’s the representational actor and the presentational actor.”
~ Jake Gyllenhaal, Actor
Could theater now seem “presentational” as a circumstance of time passing and evolution rather than it actually being presentational? As Social media connects us to our inner core and we play make believe could one day people view acting in cinema as “Presentational Acting”? As the phone becomes the new television and the television becomes the radio, is it possible that cinema will become the theater and the new forms of social media emerging will become the new cinema?
You can balk at me all you want. Most people don’t like change. But change is a constant and it’s inevitable.
Time will tell. Tick Tock.
That’s as far down the rabbit hole as we will go for today.
But know this…
Social Media is in it’s infancy.
Social Media is a new form of Storytelling.
Social Media is a new form of Acting.
Social Media is artistic expression because it’s expressing your humanity.
Theater, Cinema, Acting, Painting, and any other form of artistic expression are not going anywhere.
What we now refer to as “Social Media” will soon be an art form.
We’ve found the wheel, but we haven’t yet discovered tires.
“Find in yourself those human things which are universal.”
~Sanford Meisner, Acting Coach
By Geoff Pilkington
You can connect with me on my website at www.geoffreypilkington.com