Frankie Boyle is one of the funniest stand-up comedians in the world. He’s always the highlight of Mock The Week and each and every time he’s on television I make the effort to tune in. Why? Because he’s guaranteed to say something both hilarious and outrageous.
Frankie Boyle is also on Twitter. Sort of.
- His Twitter account is a simple feed, and one that is clearly updated by somebody else
- Whoever updates the account writes in the Facebook ‘is’ style, i.e., “is in Basingstoke on Tuesday.” Great.
Yes, the account is real. Boyle has been on Twitter since November, 2008, and has a total of 18 tweets, and just seven in 2009. He hasn’t submitted anything since May, 20.
Every way you look at this, it’s a disaster.
Here’s what has happened. Frankie – or more likely his management – has decided that because Twitter is so trendy and cool and all the other celebrities are doing it, Frankie should be doing it too. Except he’s not. He’s not even making half an effort.
He’s doing it wrong.
To be fair, he may not even know he’s on Twitter. But that’s a problem too. Boyle is so funny off the cuff that a medium like Twitter would be perfect for him to try out new quips and one-liners. The interplay between himself and the audience is already there. There are many other comedians who do this fantastically well on the network – Dara O’Briain, Russell Brand, Bill Bailey and Jimmy Carr.
Actually, Carr is a great example of somebody who used to do it wrong, too. Carr’s Twitter feed was once managed by his team, and it pumped out Frankie Boyle-esque messages 24/7. Jimmy Carr is in London. Jimmy Carr is at The Apollo. Jimmy Carr is also on Facebook.
Nobody cared. Carr wisened up – likely thanks to an intervention from Jonathan Ross – and now when you subscribe to his timeline you’re getting the real deal. It’s funny. You want it to be funny. Comedians are meant to be funny. That’s the point, surely?
David Mitchell uses Twitter, too. Mitchell also uses his Twitter feed to tell us where he is and where he’s going to be. But he does himself. And he does it in a way that’s self-deprecating and humble, but it makes you laugh. He engages with his followers. He’s almost apologetic about it all, and freely admits that he doesn’t get it. The irony is: he does. Better than most.
Frankie, here’s a tip for the next time your management team decides to update, whenever that may be. Stop them. Tell them you’ll take care of it yourself. And then dip a toe into the water. It’s fine to tell us what you’re doing and where you’re going to be performing next on your tour. You’re running a business. We expect that. What doesn’t work is using Twitter in a really casual way just to give the impression that you’re in the loop. You’d be far better off not being on Twitter, and being all aloof and mysterious, even dismissive, than doing this.
Because when we subscribe to your tweets, it isn’t you we’re getting. It’s somebody else. And nobody wants that.