RA Challenge ♡ #11: Something I Wish Hadn’t Happened

Right, here comes a controversial opinion. In the spirit of truth and honesty, this is my answer: I wish he hadn’t started on Twitter.

Ouch?! Before you scream in protest and unfollow me, let me qualify that statement.

Asked about Twitter on several occasions prior to his debut on the social network, Richard had always claimed that he “just didn’t get it”. I interpret(ed) that to mean he didn’t see the point of it; he may have associated Twitter with vacuous, unnecessary status updates whereby social media users document trivial everyday situations, exchange banal comments or blast their unfiltered opinion into the ether. I am guilty of all of those. The aversion to the latter goes with his incessant insistence that he is “just an actor” (not a politician or expert of any kind). Yet, he threw himself bravely into the fray.

A good thing – as it seemed to make it him more accessible to his fans: Hearing directly from him without the filter of an edited newspaper article or interview; timely and up-to-date glimpses into his work and whereabouts; the sweet potential of immediate interaction that a social media presence promises. That was the ideal scenario. But ultimately the experiment has proved frustrating for me because in practice, his approach to Twitter does not satisfy *my* desire as a fan to actively engage with the people I am interested in. It only takes a like or the occasional general tweet directed at no one in particular, but in response to topics that have been discussed. But no matter whether he is using Twitter as a promotional tool for retweeting of info about his projects, or whether he is tweeting from a more personal POV, his iron rule has apparently always been to (publicly) ignore responses and/or to avoid engaging. It is, of course, a valid approach – especially considering the huge amount of responses a single tweet of his garners among his 208k followers on Twitter. Individual responses are impossible – or arbitrary, as there are too many responses to reply to. I understand that. But somehow to me it thus always feels like failed interaction. For me, interaction consists of sending and receiving/responding. There is an element missing in his Twitter interaction, a clear response.

Worse, I think the participation of any public figure on social media creates expectations among the audience which can ultimately not be met. Richard’s start on Twitter was promising – funny, topical, relevant. It even had elements of interaction when he directly asked for beard camouflage ideas way back in August (?) 2014, so fans were happy. His more-or-less regular posting of selfies also satisfied the demand of fans for new material “straight from the horse’s mouth” although the frequent posting of self-portraits is something I personally dislike – from anybody, not just my favourite actor. Personal pet-peeve. But as soon as there is a lull, the demand and expectations that have been created, will result either in dissatisfaction, or in frequent public requests from the audience, monopolising the public discourse. Essentially a vicious circle for all involved, when the tweep is not 100% willing or able to engage in this kind of communication game: Tweep posts selfie to keep followers happy – followers are happy and demand more – tweep feels under pressure and deliberately ignores – followers shout louder – tweep relents and posts selfie – followers are happy and… ad infinitum.

Don’t get me wrong – I recognise that Richard can do on Twitter whatever he wants to. His call. Much of the problem probably lies with my – wait for it, here comes Guylty’s favourite coinage and argument – faulty expectation management. I don’t necessarily want more tweets – I just would like to see *a different quality of social media activity*. And since that is not possible, I regret that his presence on Twitter reminds me of not getting what I want *stamps her little foot*.

But hey, don’t let that spoil your own enjoyment of his social media activities. We all have our own approaches, opinions and needs. Maybe you are far less demanding than me, and willing to support his activities, no matter what. All to their own. And in the end, this issue is not a deal-breaker for me. Still think he’s a top actor, still like his general demeanor, still believe he’s the bee’s knees 🐝. Incorrigible infatuation.

Your opinion on this issue or on things that you wish hadn’t happened?

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128 thoughts on “RA Challenge ♡ #11: Something I Wish Hadn’t Happened

  1. Pingback: Yes. This. #richardarmitage | Me + Richard Armitage

  2. Yes. Yes. I’ve been toying with a post about this topic for a year, but haven’t had the energy, so thank you for writing this. It has turned into a lose / lose situation for him and for us. Every time I read a report that Twitter is stagnating or dying, I find myself thinking it can’t happen quickly enough.

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    • Tbh, I have been dithering and wondering about this post myself. It took me quite a while to compose. I am sure that lots of people will disagree – and fair enough, we all have different expectations and different needs. I actually do enjoy my fangirl exchanges on Twitter very much, so I don’t have a problem with the platform per se. But I think it is not the right platform for RA – he wants to be in touch with his fans in a non-committal way. That’s fine. But Twitter demands more commitment in order for it to work as a successful social and promotional channel for a public figure. It came into sharp relief for me again today. I replied to a tweet by Adam Brown who had requested song suggestions for his marathon playlist. I tweeted a few encouraging words and a song at him – and he not only liked but also replied. It was one word only, and it took him all of 5 seconds to do it. But the effect will be long-lasting because he has thus “tweeted” himself into my good books as a star who actually acknowledges his audience. That’s so much more fun than a mirage that is continually at the horizon, but which you can never ever reach…

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  3. A lot of my answers for upcoming questions I’ve already formed answers to and this is one. I agree with you 100%. My answer to this and 2 others will all tie together and I’m probably going to more than ruffle a few feathers. Oh well. Shazbot.

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  4. I shall disagree. I like seeing RA on twitter, albeit infrequently. But I don’t analyse his tweets as some do, preferring to take them at face value. And, although counting myself a fan, I wouldn’t worry about unfollowing him if I decided I was no longer interested in what he was tweeting (it’s not as if they wouldn’t turn up on Tumblr anyway). But I’m me, you’re you, and that’s how it should be.

    My answer to the question: John Bateman.

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    • I am glad that you are feeling free to disagree. Your POV is perfectly valid – we all take something different from Twitter.
      Unfollowing doesn’t really quite work, imo, because conversations are sparked by his contributions which are carried to the TLs of his fans – so to avoid his tweets, one would have to unfollow all fans, too. And that is something I *definitely* do not want to do. The fan conversations are the best thing about fandom.
      But you know what – I really agree with your answer: Bateman – big mistake. Let’s agree to ignore him 😉

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  5. Sadly, I believe you’re right 😦
    It all boils down to this notion of RA being approachable – and then, he’s not really, is he? (rhetorical question). We’re not really getting what we want. And what we want is not a one size fits all. I know what I would personally like, but it doesn’t necessarily coincide with you want.
    RA’s been trying to find his way on this platform, Twitter, which I don’t think he seriously wanted for himself in the first place. And then something happened in June 2016 when a tweet was (well, actually several tweets were) retracted for no apparent reason and an odd “futile” comment replaced it (which was also deleted). Now the news value has fizzled out for him, and it’s simply kept to a minimum of promotional stuff. Sadly.

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    • Completely agree. It’s an unsolvable conundrum because there will always be people who disagree – with him or with other fans. I totally acknowledge that. (I really have to work on my own approach – neither Mr A nor Twitter is going to go out of their way to adapt to *my* needs…)
      I share your impression that RA was never really keen on Twitter, anyway. And we all know what it is like when we are doing something *not* because we enjoy it, but because we feel obliged/forced/contracted to do so. It becomes a chore. And if we encounter any kind of obstacle while dealing with a chore, crises are inevitable.
      Funnily enough, I liked RA’s Twitter best when he was being decisively opinionated – it felt as if he really wanted to say something, as if it was of real concern to him. Whatever it was, mattered to him. So much so that he wanted to reach his audience. The retractions were unnecessary imo. But heck, I can understand why he might have done it – I am the first to react very defensively as well as scared when I get negative feedback.
      Sigh, it’s all difficult. Maybe the new approach works best for all concerned – impersonal promotional stuff. And maybe his fans are not his target audience anyway – maybe he just wants to have an online presence, not a social media relationship with his fans.

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        • Commitment and passion – definitely something to admire and not to bashfully hide. Ah well.
          Porter’s end is definitely something I also wish hadn’t happened…

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        • I think the political tweets were fine / great, but he apparently couldn’t withstand the normal backwind that occurs in a political discussion. I don’t blame him; I try to have political discussions only with people I know IRL and don’t think political discussion on social media is very useful; but it was a problem that he seemed to want to broach things he couldn’t actually handle.

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          • Which is something that is seriously interfering with my “ideal”… I like people who stand over their opinion.
            What puzzles me most in all of this is, that it is actually easy enough for verified users to avoid looking at reactions. You can easily use the settings in such a way that you do not have to see notifications. Theoretically you could steadily trumpet away your controversial views, wreak havoc – and happily ignore seeing any response. Maybe he couldn’t resist…

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            • See, I didn’t know that. I also believe he became aware of potential and possible challenges in terms of future visa applications for the US, hence the massive deletion strategy of certain types of tweets.

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              • Oh, yes, that’s the tweet delete scenario you mean. IDK, I would not have thought that personal opinions uttered in the heat of the moment would really make a difference in terms of immigration/residency etc. But then again, I have *no* experience with US immigration authorities…

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                • It wouldn’t have affected a visa application before; it’s not entirely clear it would now, and in any case if he’s a LPRA as he stated, he has at least five more years to go, if not more, before he had to get a renewal (they are valid for ten years, so if he got that status at the earliest possible point, it would have started in 2012, but I’m guessing that for administrative reasons he had a temporary visa before that and so he might have more than five years to go) — but what could easily have happened in the short term is that he could have attracted a horde of trolls who bombarded his tag with so much vitriol that it would have become useless for marketing purposes. (There were some signs that this could happen in 2013 when a very right wing blog picked up his comments about guns and health insurance, but he didn’t have Twitter then.)

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  6. I think some have the knack for Twitter and some do not, with most of us existing somewhere in the middle. Richard doesn’t have it, mostly because he can’t seem to decide on a course of action and stick with it. that fourth wall needs to stay in place, imo. tweet/retweet project related info, post some artsy selfies, but do not make eye contact with the audience. when 4 out of 5 comments are some form of “I love you. follow me!” what kind of engagement can you realistically take part in anyway? I’ve seen more than one celebrity learn the hard way that Twitter is a precarious balancing act, so I’m not only talking about Richard here. while connecting with fans was fun ‘back in the day’, social media has made the world a very different place :/

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    • I agree – Twitter is not for everyone. It requires a mixture of light-hearted superficiality, witty singled-mindedness – and a very thick skin. Whether I agreed with his tweets or not – I think for each and every one of them he was justified in tweeting what he did. His tweet deleting didn’t fit my expectation/interpretation of him.
      Social media has broken down many barriers. Which unfortunately can be good and bad…

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  7. You must be right because I still find myself clicking on the notifications for his tweets, wistfully hoping it might be something funny with a creative hashtag… then inevitably disappointed that it’s a generic retweet, or has been deleted by the time I get to it. So yes, a disappointment and would have been easier if there never was a time when his hashtags actually inspired a limerick out of me. LOL

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  8. Poor Richard. I feel he was forced to join Twitter to promote his work and it’s turned into a mess. Nobody can please everyone, that’s a given, and he likes compliments and approval too much to have the snarky attitude needed to survive in the Twittersphere. I do miss the selfies, though. It would be nice to see a picture once in a while. Michelle Forbes and Leland Orser do a much better job of keeping their accounts with the right balance. Right now, they share tidbits of Berlin and their co-workers on Berlin Station – along with a few personal points of view – and it feels right. I hope we continue to get a Christmas(time) message and maybe a birthday one as a bonus. I will always care about him and wish him well. He’s a good soul, and I like him.

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  9. I agree that the whole Twitter RA thing best fade into history. Or just keep it strictly business. His transitions from promotional tweets to his personal opinions are a bit rough. Of course he is entitled to his opinions, but he has to realize there will be pushback from expressing them. Someone will always disagree. I do miss the selfies, but maybe we will get some if they are work-related.

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    • That’s something I don’t understand – surely he must *know* that any kind of tweet will *always* elicit negative feedback, too. That’s the nature of Twitter. I think he is simply too private for social media…

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  10. ^^^^^^^^^^All of the above. IMHO I don’t think Twitter suits a self confessed people pleaser like Richard. I was in two minds when he joined, but I’m kind of relieved he’s eased right back from it, although I do miss the selfies and his humour. I’ve given it a couple of goes. At first to feel connected to fandom friends, then again when Richard started tweeting. I had notifications turned on, then turned them off, and it all faded away again. I don’t think it’s because my expectations/needs weren’t met – more likely that Twitter is just not my thing. Tumblr is my main SM platform, for others it’s Instagram.
    I remember how special it was to get Richard’s messages, especially those out of the blue like his Wellington one, just before the AUJ premiere. Such a thrill. I want that feeling back, and a constant presence on social media (as well as the 140 character limit!) won’t provide that for me.

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    • Yes, Twitter is not easy for people pleasers. Although it is possible (I am a case in point – I simply pick my fights carefully 😂).
      As with everything, as soon as something becomes regular, it becomes less special. His annual messages had much more impact prior to his Twitter debut. I revisit them from time to time, just for the nostalgia. I can’t say that I revisit his Twitter TL. Mind you, that TL has changed, anyway, so no point in revisiting…

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  11. Last year there were some fun tweets back and forth with Michelle Forbes. RA seems most comfortable on Twitter when he’s interacting/bantering with someone else. Or even when he was live tweeting during BS season 1. It doesn’t seem to work as well for him when he’s just randomly tweeting stuff. It doesn’t seem to come naturally for him and it seems like he takes backlash too seriously. (Just for the record, I don’t think I’d be too comfortable on Twitter either.) I don’t really have a strong opinion one way or the other, except in wishing he’d stop the deleting and let the record stand.

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    • The random tweets kind of went up in smoke precisely because he didn’t engage. I totally understand that he is only engaging with other celebrity users – maybe the political topics were not suitable for banter with his pals, though…
      I don’t really mind occasional slip-ups by people. Sure, we all make mistakes or say the wrong thing every once in a while. But retro-censoring everything kills the context, and somehow also makes him look insecure and undecided. I think his opinion is as valid as anyone else’s, so no need to tweet/delete. I wish he’d feel more confident about what he has to offer.

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  12. Something I Wish Hadn’t Happened: that tornado movie. But then again, had there been no movie, there would have been no “Mustang!!!” into Abby’s microphone, no clever interactions with producer Todd Garner (HE knew how to use Twitter and how to “work” a fandom without being obnoxious or manipulative), and no images of RA in clingy wet pants. So…I take back my wish.

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    • Oh yes. The wind film. We kind of could’ve done without it. Ok, yeah, bum shot. But well, the tighty underpants in Hannibal definitely got one over that.

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  13. Oh yes I agree 🙂
    Das hätte er niemals tun sollen…. Bei twitter ist Kommunikation – beidseitig – gefragt und die findet, wie Du schon sagtest, nicht statt. Er wirft Fotos oder Statements in die Menge die oft missverstanden werden und zu Faninternen Diskussionen führen, alles nicht gut für die Community.
    Und diese halbherzigen Aktionen für cybersmile und und und……
    Das ist alles nicht nachhaltig. Wenn ich ein Anliegen für bestimmte Menschen habe bleibe ich bei der Stange und engagiere mich langfristig. Viele VIPs machen das z.B. für Unicef und sie setzen sich immer wieder dafür ein.
    Von Einmalaktionen halte ich nicht viel, die bringen nur was für die Publicity.

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    • Ein nachhaltiges Engagement sieht tatsächlich anders aus.
      Die Sache mit Twitter beherrscht er nicht wirklich. Er hätte auf sein Bauchgefühl hören und er bleiben lassen sollen. Seine Reaktionen auf die kontroversen Diskussionen, die seine Kommentare ausgelöst haben, zeigen, dass Twitter wohl nichts für ihn ist (schon gar nicht, wenn es um politische Themen geht).
      Er ist da viel zu harmoniesüchtig. “ohjemajestätsbeleidigung”

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      • Och weißt du, ich finde “harmoniesüchtig” ja eigentlich eher noch eine sympathische Schwäche. Insofern sehe ich ihm da bei seinem Twitter-Ansatz auch einiges nach. Man kann es ja verstehen – ist irgendwie nicht so wirklich seine Szene. Allerdings wären mir dann Nägel mit Köppen irgendwie lieber… Trau dich, Richie.

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    • Nachhaltig. Das ist ein schönes Wort und passt hier wirklich gut. Twitter muss man mit einer klaren Aufwand/Nutzen-Abrechnung betrachten. Wenn man zu viel
      Aufwand = zahlreiche Tweets hat und keinen Nutzen = fehlende Befriedigung daraus zieht, dann sind die Ressourcen einfach falsch investiert.

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  14. What shouldn’t happen: John Bateman, somehow I can’t enjoy Lucas because of him. I also have some reservations about Berlin Station because it takes too much of his time and I think the role is not up to his potential. I hope he will be better used in the second season. I have to disagree with you about Twitter, I enjoy being there and I enjoy RA being there as well. I don’t think he was obliged by any contract to make the Twitter account because he made it in 2014. The only movie at that time was BOTFA and I don’t think PJ obliged them to make social media accounts. He said (in the first interview with Marlise I think) that he consider twitter and I think he was influenced by PJ’s fan-oriented attitude. RA being on Twitter made a big difference to me, I have the feeling that I can speak directly to him, I am not dependent by another fan or fan site to find the news. I also have a personal accomplishment, because he answered one of my questions during The Crucible Q&A , a moment that I treasure. Apart from this, Twitter allowed me to make some new friends, it’s so easy to interact with the others. Of course, there are not-so-nice moments, and he might say things that I don’t like or I don’t understand, but I prefer him being there.

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    • I am really glad that we are getting an opposite view of Richard and Twitter here. Thanks for taking up the discussion, Glady. It is probably not that easy to argue against something that has garnered quite a lot of comments already that express agreement with my position.
      So, to the point – I actually also do not believe that he (or anyone) was or would be contractually obliged to start a Twitter account. It probably is like you said – he saw other people doing it, and after having been asked so often, decided to give it a go. How hard could it be, eh?
      I suppose we are differing on the question whether Twitter really brings us closer to a celeb or not. I am not going to argue with you – I don’t want to kill your buzz. I am glad that you enjoy Twitter because of Richard. And I am saying that with my own interest in mind. Because as long as you are on Twitter because of Richard, it means that the network will be a means of communication between me and you, too. I’ll only say that our approaches probably differ because I have no wish to speak to Richard directly – partly because I am glad that there is a 4th wall, and partly because I do not want to be disappointed by the (expected) lack of response. (That’s a rather pessimistic attitude – very unlike my usual outlook.) I am happy to hear of him, though, so fair enough if Twitter is his preferred channel of communication.

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      • I don’t know if he was contractually obligated, but I doubt it was a casual decision — given his strongly worded opposition only six months earlier, references to “we” getting Twitter in the future, and the spectacular rollout with the ACLS challenge and the fact that it was covered in the entertainment press including Huff Po. Many of his first follows were publicists / PR people. I think he was strongly advised to do it and agreed.

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        • I am so naive… Or maybe I am underestimating Richard’s will to promote himself. But I simply saw those things as conincidences – Twitter debut happening at time of ice bucket challenge… Knowing what I know about PR, I suspect you are right…

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      • I’ve tweeted directly to him, but I never expected anything in return. I am perfectly aware that I’m one in a million and that he might not read anything, but I write for me, not necessarily for him. It’s difficult to say why but Twitter helped me to overcome my own frustrations and I’m there only because of him.

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        • I am playing devil’s advocate now, although I am interested in your answer: If you are only there because of him, does that mean you will leave Twitter if he does?

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                • You don’t have to answer this, but since he doesn’t respond, I don’t understand how Twitter differs from simply writing him a letter (if you wanted to do that). I haven’t had the urge to communicate with him on Twitter, but if I did have something to say I’d write it in a letter (also thus cutting the number of fans who would see it). What is the difference for you?

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  15. I don’t mind the non-interaction thing too much. It would be nice if he acknowledged stuff sometimes but he gets so much tweeted at him in response that I can understand it could possibly be a little overwhelming. I can just about handle the few tweet reactions I get to the few tweets I post and those are NOTHING compared to what he gets. What I do really hate is the constant deleting of tweets, it’s confusing… he actually seems confused with this whole Twitter thing himself, I think. So, I guess I’d tell him: tweet or don’t tweet but stop confusing yourself and us! I have a sneaking suspicion that not tweeting would be better for his own sanity as well as ours…

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    • Yes, that is it, I guess. A sign that he has seen what is said and directed at him – even out of politeness.
      I don’t really pity the celebs on Twitter much – it’s not as if their phone lights up with notifications every second. It is very easy for verified users to ignore practically *any* engagement with their posts, whether it is likes or mentions or RTs. So if RA hasn’t figured out to set his settings to “replies from other verified users/followers only”, he is seriously behind…
      The tweet deleting leaves a bad impression. I am not sure whether he realises that it looks as if he is constantly second-guessing himself. So yeah, maybe stepping back is the best solution for all.

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  16. I don’t know, mostly because i don’t care too much either way. I would probably say i don’t completely regret it because in some instances he seemed to have fun with it himself, i like the communications via photos he picked. Not of himself but others. Although it was nice to have news of where he is or what he is doing work vise via selfies when he chose so. The interactions bit is not something i ever considered from celebs on twitter. To me it was and is in 99% always only broadcasting. But that’s ok, i am sometimes interested in what people have to say, i follow a few because i either like what they say occasionally or they are funny or so on. I wouldn’t interact and frankly don’t care if they do, never occurred to me that they ever would with anyone. That way destruction lies.
    To me it was always a given that celebs of any kind are there because they know fans or people in general may be interested in what they say, crave it in some cases or they want a platform with more viewers/readers of their opinions, not least for charitable reasons more often than not. But it all boils down to one thing – broadcasting not two way communication.
    From that pov i enjoyed his occasional expressions like i would do those of others too.
    Looks to me that unlike probably 99% of people with thousand of followers he was unable to ignore what was written back. And reacted to it sometimes, to rather unfortunate results most of the time. And the involuntary or impulse addition of private information/views he actually never really intended to share.
    Ultimately i would agree with what you said a bit later on: he’s too private for twitter. Bottom line he never intended or wanted to share anything else but work, as he has done before i think. But twitter has a way of prizing things out of you sometimes in the spur of the moment. And that is not something he likes/wants.

    So it boils down to restrict broadcast consciously to work. And work has been since Hannibal at least … well limited amount to broadcast, let’s put it that way. So it ends up boring.
    What i enjoyed of i where the tiny flashes of insights into his mind, regardless if i agreed or not, like some of his responses in interviews and the like, they were no different to me. I have very limited interest in retweets of reviews and the like because those are available to anyone who can google. And since i agree with you that the private site is a no-no in his book, well, whatever is left is not interesting to me. At present it almost doesn’t matter to me if he is there or not given content. For his own piece of mind it seems it would be easier if he wasn’t, less to worry about 🙂 And, says she hopefully, unburdened of it might once a year or even less frequently actually feel like broadcasting something from his own mind and fingers. I wouldn’t mind at all going back to that even if i don’t regret having had a few glimpses even if just temporary into his humour or brain at a point in time.

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    • Sure, there are positives to Twitter activity, too – as you say, the little insights, the fact that you know where he is (which gives context), the simple feeling of being tentatively connected by way of timeline. But as I said – I don’t think he can’t just give us his little finger without realising that the fans will want the whole hand. THat’s the nature of the beast. I’d rather there was a clear-cut approach: Either he’s in, or he’s not. The whole promo-RT thing just doesn’t do it. I get those news anyway.
      You know, back in the day prior to his emergence on Twitter, things were fine, too. There were interviews and articles (provided that he had work to promote) which gave far more insight into him than any of his tweets. But well, it is what it is – and I acknowledge that other fans have other needs and therefore see his participation on social media completely different.

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      • Yes i agree i miss more written interviews much more Twitter just doesn’t fill the gap or provide what we are really interested in, his insights/thoughts. Sigh. At least we don’t expect it anymore

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  17. What i meant to say was it was nice while some things lasted but if he chose to leave it i’d be completely fine with it and wouldn’t miss it. What i wish is that it would actually be easier to say oops, bad decision/mistake, everyone makes mistakes, the end. I just regret/suspect that the professional entanglements are such that that would be complicated. Nevertheless, i do think complications aside it would be for the best, clearer expectations all round, peace of mind.

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    • Apart from any professional commitments, if he did that, the uproar from fans would be deafening in the genres “poor little Richard” and “you evil fans you are so abusive, this is all your fault.” I think that if he intends to use it in future only for promotional stuff (and exchanges of the sort orchestrated during the Hobbit) he should not give any explanations. He doesn’t need to and it only provokes more controversy.

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      • I agree, i am fully conscious of the problems that would cause. Doesn’t mean i can’t feel that would be more honest and ultimately i think more healthy, even if it would create a temporary storm it would put an end to false expectations and ultimately people would accept it if it was presented as what it is, a bad decision, to which anyone is entitled to. But as i said it is wishful thinking, i’m aware that my way of dealing with things and moving on is not what is likely to happen. I have moved on from expecting anything from tw, just wish many others could. But eventually everyone learns something one way or another.

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        • There’s very rarely a “temporary storm” in fandom, IMO and many of the things fans negotiate unpleasantly now have been happening in episodes for ten years now, and some of them are worse. I think that’s one of the inherent problems with Twitter, too, that I have been pondering lately. Something about the shape of the communication or perhaps the personality of the fan that Twitter attracts means that people are constantly raising the same topic. if he made an announcement, the conversation would never end, and the announcement would become part of the “Gospel of Friendship according to Richard Armitage,” i.e., another brickbat for fans to use against each other.

          What did Hiddleston do, when he changed his tack and engaging so personally? Did he actually say what he was doing, or did he just do it? My instinct is the latter would be the better strategy.

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          • Hiddles never changed any tack, it is what it has always been, work and Unicef never anything else, never even the whiff of anything personal, no interaction beyond that, no politics etc. I’m fine with that. The personal stuff is in interviews LOL As much as i notice, in my 5-10 min stints in twitter i mostly read the last 30 min , some news, theatre, friends and whatever i remember. Which is why most storms pass me by as well, and i’m fine with that; i never have and never intend to spend more time on twitter.

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            • I don’t follow him, but I’ve been told by many fans that he used to occasionally engage much more personally and that he pulled back when fans got out of hand. Maybe they didn’t mean on Twitter, but I was under the impression he did.

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              • I do but never really pick up the tweets since infrequent and no time for searches. Besides he’s very open when back home and i mostly pick tat up from work and then it loops back to Unicef. Don’t know my general feeling of the actors round here, at least the ones i am minimally more interested in or follow some of their work etc is that SM is not big amongst them, in fact most don’t do any or if very little and it is work & charity like Ewan McGregor for example. I’m very fine with that as i have no time to search and read and follow, i’m happy with getting my shots of what they are doing through the news, Guardian, theatre newsletters and the lot. More than enough for me and focused on what i am interested in.

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    • As you said – that would be difficult to do, not least because it creates new expectations; or it might lead to endless discussions which are equally useless. (Some of Michelle Forbes discussions on Twitter come to mind in that context.) I think, a good compromise would be using Twitter for promo tweets, preferably not just as RTs but with a comment of his own – and then occasionally acknowledge his fans’ contributions by simply clicking a like here and there, and RTing stuff. That approach works fine for people like McTavish, for instance, or Leland Orser. Ok, I know, they have far less followers than he does, but still. I find the lack of acknowledgment particularly painful to watch. There are so many dedicated fans of RA’s on Twitter, who are sourcing and RTing so much stuff on his behalf. Sure, he hasn’t asked them to do so, and yes, “liking” one of their tweets creates expectations. Maybe a general “thank you for supporting my career with your tweets” directed at his fans would be the compromise. I think that he would not only make his fans happy, he would also give the general impression that he *does* appreciate their work.

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      • He’s so ridiculously erratic on this point that it’s frustrating to watch. He acknowledges a gift on his behalf to MSF from a fan who claims to represent a network, or in 2015 donations raised by another Twitter fan group, then ignores another fan who donates hundreds of pounds monthly earned via amazon to his charities. I used to attribute this kind of thing to just not keeping up with fan politics (i.e., he used to send his messages to all three major fan sites that appeared in 2005; then the first folded; the second folded in 2010; he never started sending messages to RichardArmitageNet.com, which would have been logical; and Annette stopped updating in 2014. She got a thank you. But the others did not / have not. Then again, one of them is the only fan account he follows. Hard to interpret.) But I don’t know what to think about it now, and frankly I find it maddening even though I’m not directly involved in any of it.

        re: “thank you for supporting my career by tweeting” — I think it would create the wrong kind of response, frankly. Those not on Twitter would be justly enraged; the competition on Twitter would be enhanced so that people could show they were “better” fans. Maybe “thank you for supporting my career — but he usually says something along those lines at Christmas anyway.

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        • “Erratic” is putting it nicely. I really want to cut him some slack on this, but if I were to speak the truth, I’d say it looks disinterested. I don’t expect any public figure to keep up with intricate fandom politics. No point and no time for that. But I would think that it makes sense for them to have a general idea of who the movers and shakers in a fandom are. There’s no need for personal acknowledgments or annual Christmas cards, but it would make sense to have a professional keep an eye on things and identify worthy topics and occasions on which to acknowledge the fandom.
          You are right, better not single out a social platform.
          Grah, the whole thing is littered with pitfalls. Are there any effective, successful celebrity accounts out there at all?

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          • I think there — Hiddleston is usually cited as a success, for example — or there must be. I don’t follow it too closely. But I think they involve a different presentation of the self than Armitage has ever undertaken, and a greater sovereignty in the medium and his interactions with it (souverrän im Umgang mit Medium und Fans, is what I want to say). This is what I would wish for him, if he is really going to do this. But (as I said somewhere else today) it involves a really large sense of distance from fans — so anyone who wants interaction wouldn’t get that. Part of the problem now, I think, is that the interaction, such as it is, has a history (that in some ways derives from the pre-history of his fandom before Twitter). So he’d have to act really consciously and consistently to change that and I don’t think he has shown that he has that capacity in him. He said once of himself that his relationship with fans was “fickle” and I think that was an accurate self-assessment.

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            • He totally lacks that “Souveränität” – the tweet/delete scenarios are testament to that. As for the sense of distance from fans – in effect, that is already the case, anyway. He doesn’t interact = he *is* distant and unreachable. Which is all fair enough imo, even when considering the history of his engagement with fans. That was at a time when his star was much lower, and when the fandom was of manageable size. Those times are gone, and new times need new measures. But well, I am preaching to the choir. We know that. I think he does, too. He just doesn’t want to write it in stone – and instead dabbles inconsequentially.

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      • Hmmm i understand that people would like that but don’t think anyone does it really. And for good reasons any specific attention will create envy and escalate attention seeking stuff. Sadly i do think it’s unavoidable. From what i see sharing work or interest stuff with a more personal touch/tone is what seems to work best for others. It shows a sort of implicit appreciation for the interest shown i.e. simply keeping people a bit up to date because you know they are interested. I really believe that is also healthiest overall.

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        • Just to clarify – I didn’t mean that he should tweet his undying gratitude at individual people. Just a general message @all along the lines of “I appreciate that you are following my career – no matter what platform” would really go a long way – and create fan loyalty way beyond his immediate followers.
          Here’s an example straight from RL. I have been following the career of a young Irish actor on Twitter for a few years. I enjoyed his initial work (a web series set in Dublin) and tweeted about it. For that, he actually followed me on Twitter (I never did until this week – I’ll explain later why) – an acknowledgment of sorts, I guess. In the meantime, I have seen him on stage (in relatively low-profile productions) twice, he is a great new talent. His talent has recently been validated by a big supporting role in a homegrown Irish thriller series. He’s been on chat shows, had big press coverage. He’s a new rising star. After seeing him a couple of weeks ago on stage again – another great performance in a great play – I tweeted my praise and quipped that I regretted not getting his autograph on the script of the play. To my absolute disbelief (I am certainly not used to that kind of reaction to fans from *our* guy) he tweeted back at me that he’d be happy to meet me and sign the book for me whenever it suited me. (I have since followed him back in order to DM and arrange that “signing meeting”.)
          Now, I am NOT suggesting that RA should do that. It is unfeasible since he is at a different stage of his career and in an altogether different league than Young Irish Actor. He’d be busy meeting his lllllllaydies forever if he did that, and I would much rather he spends his time doing what he does best – act. And I don’t even want to consider the jealousy and envy such a move would elicit. So, no individual contact. But my argument is that this show of appreciation by Young Irish Actor has just won him my life-long loyalty as a theatre-going member of the public. And has created the impression that he a) appreciates/acknowledges the interest that is shown to him by members of the public, and b) is a decent kind of fella. There are ways of creating that impression that don’t involve individual acknowledgment, let alone one-on-one contact with the dreaded public. And frankly, that is what Twitter is there for. Promotion of work and self. If you don’t want to use it to its best potential, then it is better not to use it at all.

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          • I know you didn’t mean that 😉 Cute the Irish guy, but people there are friendly and maybe ‘young’ is also a key word, i think us older folk who didn’t grow up with it might feel slightly differently about it. Shrugs.. i get not really being drawn to it. I am probably less interested in general because most of the actors who’s work i follow don’t use it at all or really only sporadicly and none of the ever use it to address people, individually or as a group directly; they just share info about work if anything. I know i’ll never feel about tw the way a 20 year old does. I’d also be fine with somebody trying it out but realizing ultimately it is not for them and giving it up. But then again it never meant much to me to begin with in the case of RA. My mental relationship to him, rather than with him has not changed through or because of twitter and would be exactly the same without it. But based on experience i’d guess the ones who stay away as it is not their natural medium or they simply didn’t grow up with SM in their life like say Tennant or McAvoy and the like do it right. I think they like their fans just fine and appreciate their support and i don’t think people doubt that from interviews and the like and no further words to that effect are necessary. In terms of addressing fans it almost seems the more you say or explicit you try to be the more people read into it, expect from it. Unless you specifically run away from them i think mutual appreciation and even a level of affection is natural and understood. I just don’t get this drive to have people say things and continually thank people. I buy tickets because i choose to and want to, as with any other stuff i buy, i don’t see the point of being tanked for it beyond a good performance or the occasional generic mention of public appreciation in an interview and the like. It’s the nature of the job, public is envolved, it’s how the work is set out. I don’t thank my employer for the opportunity to have a job, i just do it to the best of my ability and that is enough. To me this is no different. I believe more in small gestures, in a smile at stage door, a signature if willing and above all in a performance that leaves nothing to wish for , where you feel the person on stage has given everything. Public professions of affection and appreciation from public figures always seem a bit fake. Do your best and we’ll go watch, end of. Or rather i prefer my emotional engagement and connection to come through work 90% of the time and only minimally through anything else.
            The fact that dropping SM when it turns out not to be what one expected or wanted or simply because one has ultimately changed their mind is so difficult and fraught with so many considerations and so much fandom and other sort of politics only makes me think of SM in even worse terms. In business and life one can make mistakes, change things and move on. It really should be possible to move away from SM without the world falling apart 🙂 i just really want to the focus to come back to work and the work to be more interesting because maybe it ultimately boils down to just that. If the work were more interesting, good, high profile, accessible to most rather than difficult to get to a lot less effort all round would go to futile attempts of filling the void with something else.

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            • I have to say you are making a convincing argument here, Hari. You are right. I think I have been looking at the issue from a POV that was far too involved in fandom. THat has blurred my vision. You are right in saying that it should go without saying that there is mutual appreciation between public and actor – just as there is between employee and employer (I really like that analogy!). We should all do our jobs at the best of our knowledge and with enthusiasm and respect – that is the ‘gift’ we give to the recipients of our labour, I guess. It’s just gotten overcomplicated due to the cult of celebrity and the possibilities of social media interaction.
              As you said – there is a danger of overinterpreting everything, and there is a clear difference in attitude towards SM between different age groups.
              The issue with thanking people – well, I don’t quite agree with you on that. But that is probably down to my own personality. I am one of those people who thrives on positive feedback. Give me the feeling you appreciate me/my work, and I will deliver peak performances. I enjoy thanking other people for what they are doing – the guide on the tour in Dublin Castle who manages to make dreary information sound interesting, the waiter who has been especially attentive, the performer who has delivered a meaningful/entertaining performance – because even though it is a job for them, there is a higher reward than mere money.

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              • sorry i should be letting you rest your hand! 🙂 oh those thanks i like, i do that too LOL and it won’t go amiss if my boss should remember to thank me for the overtime.. hasn’t happened so far though 😉 But you know the celebs publicly smoozing up to fans… i just have a hard time believing it. I’m more inclined to believe the sentiment really exists if it comes expressed in some interview where you can hear the tone/see the face or from accounts of direct encounters like stage doors and the like. But i think we all know when it feels spontaneous and authentic. That’s nice of course 🙂 And i never felt we missed out on that, quite the contrary. Maybe if work springs back up and some of it is more public there will be more of that too. I think by the nature of the beast and the long waits what is missing or what we would long for is more obvious than what is, like the regular visits to family which always provide a slew of signatures and photos and the lot etc The love is there, it’s just like the person, of the discreet and gentle kind 🙂 Which reminds me that i still haven’t found the time to get those posters signed LOL Not for lack of love though.

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                • That is my hope too – once there is more stuff to promote, there will be more opportunities for interviews and the like – and less scope for hankering after something he isn’t willing to provide.
                  Love how you expressed this: “The love is there, it’s just like the person, of the discreet and gentle kind.” (Not sure whether gentle applies – although he sure knows how to evoke that kind of impression…)

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                    • Or was he reserved? Disinterested? Scared? Subdued? (Not saying that he was any of those – my guess is as good as yours. Except that I’d rather believe your version than mine…)

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                    • Oh i mean specifically gentle towards people 🙂 if the initiative hadn’t been his the first time round i’d have only been stuck in a corner mute 🙂 And how can we forget the soft ‘do you want a photo with that?’ in Leeds. It was all him, not on any request 🙂 Though i do believe he can be all those things you mentioned too sometimes 🙂 And whenever i feel that i try to remember the other 2 since that was him too.

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              • This is another sort of complication of Twitter: the way it complicates the hierarchy. My own opinion on this is that in a fandom sphere he’s hierarchically superior to me, which means both that (a) he owes me nothing in terms of noticing me and (b) the fact that he owes me nothing and I’m involved in a different sphere than he is in commenting about his career means that I am free to say what I want, so that in fact, in that sense, he’s *not* hierarchically superior to me. Emotion flows from me to him, not from him to me; the fact that he provides nothing but an inspiring performance means that I provide nothing for him other than paying to see it and/or responding to it. In that scenario, we are each doing our jobs. And it seems to me that this is more or less how he sees it, too, with his remark about getting people into the theater this fall (although that was not new — he said exactly the same thing in December of 2012 to Strombo: “the fans are the people who pay for the tickets”).

                Twitter messes that up by creating all kinds of illusions that make us think the hierarchy has been changed and that because we are now somehow personally “in the same place,” he can be expected to do things that normally would never be expected from someone in his position. In fact, Twitter only reinforces the hierarchy while deceiving some people into thinking that now a cat may speak with a king.

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                • Doing our jobs – sure. Makes sense. Although that doesn’t necessarily mean that I have to like that. I guess, it is all a transaction. He acts – we applaud. A simple relationship, no strings attached.

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                  • But everyone retains their power. He does his artistic thing, which he wants to keep doing. I applaud (or don’t). Everyone makes their own decisions. No transaction is free from calculations about “the Other,” of course, but this one keeps things relatively simple and at least for me, keeps me resentment-free in that aspect of the relationship; he makes his choices, which I do not expect to influence; I make mine, over which he has no influence. It’s a simple form of expectations management and it worked for centuries until we suddenly decided we had the right to talk to our crushes “directly” via SM and got with that the expectation that they respond to us.

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            • Right. Slight tangent here. But do you want to hear the continuation of the story with Young Irish Actor? The story is just in, because I am just back from the notorious “signing meeting”. And I have been grinning from ear to ear ever since. (Make yourself a cup of tea, this is gonna be long-ish…)
              So, I had arranged by DM that I was going to meet him. Funnily enough, when I had asked him whether there was a stage door or some place where I could meet him, he had replied “just the front of the theatre – nothing too actory or mysterious”. 😂 Good man, obviously not taking himself too seriously. So anyway, I was going to meet him this evening when I realised that I had mixed up times and was already late for the meet-up by the time I set off. Sent him a courtesy DM to let him know I was delayed and then legged it. Twenty minutes late, I arrived out of breath at the theatre, expecting him to have given up, waiting for a fickle fan who didn’t even have the courtesy to turn up. Nope. He was outside, patiently waiting, and not peeved at all when I joked that celebrity culture was really not what it used to be – with a fan standing up the star… He was really personable, we chatted away for a while. I asked about his future plans, the play he is currently in, talked about his past work and how I initially “found” him. He signed my book, too, of course. When I said I really enjoyed the play, and to pass on the compliments to his co-star (and playwright, a young Irish woman), he said “why don’t you tell her yourself, she’d love to hear that, she’s just sitting over there…” So he introduced me to his co-star who was also outside on the street, and we continued chatting for a while. Eventually I said I’d move on. He said thanks for making the effort of seeing him (…), shook my hands and then pulled me in for a hug and kiss. Boom. 💥
              As I wandered off, I almost burst into loud laughter. What a lovely, appreciative guy! No fear of contact, no reservations towards an unknown person (who, if he has ever looked at my tweets, must appear like an obsessed loony to him), totally normal chap, delighted to chat a bit, even more delighted to hear what I thought about his work, and not in the slightest giving the impression that he met me out of a sense of unloved duty. No bowed head, no mumbling, no hurry.
              The result – this investment of an quarter of an hour has made me remember him and his name forever. I will forever be willing to pay for a ticket to one of his shows. I’ll be reading articles about him, watching him on telly. And will recount this story to others, spreading my opinion that he is not just a great actor, but also a really nice guy – worth anybody’s attention. He met me without airs and graces, on an equal footing. Myself 20 years younger – I’d be enthralled. So in *that* respect, his kind attention was wasted on me. But boy did this brief encounter put other people’s approach to the public into sharp relief!!! I will never expect that level of attention and acknowledgment from OOA – as it is neither feasible nor quite comparable to an advanced, international, established heartthrob career. I fully accept that. But I cannot help but feel that there is a way of dealing with the public’s (justified) interest and wish for contact in a way that would be beneficial for both parties…

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              • I’m glad it was such a good experience for all three of you, but: does that guy have an organized fan community? Because I’m guessing he doesn’t have to be concerned that everything he just did / said will make it onto the web in a way that will immediately be available to those people. (By means of which comment I am not criticizing our fandom at all — it’s just such a radically different situation.) I do think Armitage made the effort to be at least somewhat personal, not all that long ago — i.e., during the first two weeks of the Crucible stage door back in 2014, where a lot of people were reporting brief conversations with him and so on, that they got a “moment” with him. Which backfired in the end, when the crowds got big and not everyone could get that moment. Or early in 2014: he did those interviews with Marlise Boland. A lot of us hated the interviews, but it’s undeniable that there was nothing in that for him except an attempt to respond to fan demand (albeit a highly “constructed” form of that demand).

                I’m not saying there’s no way for anyone to respond to fans’ interest with more attention than Armitage does (e.g., Graham McTavish will now record a message for a small fee), but I just can’t figure out what Armitage specifically could do (given his own personal boundaries) to act differently than he does, esp given that he’s had a lot of opportunities that he hasn’t taken, which kind of suggests he didn’t want to. For instance: he could go to cons, as many of the Hobbit supporting cast do. There would be a huge response to that, and he would probably do decently out of it financially. He doesn’t. He’s specifically said that he felt that the way to explore that character was in the films, that it doesn’t need to be unpacked outside of them, that he’s “done” with Thorin. He got an instagram. He could post a picture a week of what he sees in Berlin, even without comment. He doesn’t do that. Those are both “low risk” things in that the opportunity for creating fan strife by doing them is much lower than doing anything on Twitter (which I would call “high risk” now given his history in that venue).

                I really think that he lacks an adeptness with that level of personality that one has to use to tweet successfully with total strangers, but I also think he lacks inclination, period. And if that is the case, as you say, better to leave it alone.

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                • No, Young Irish Actor is – as I stated a couple of times before – at a much earlier stage in his career, so to my knowledge doesn’t have an organised fan base. I completely concede that his level of attention is not only unfeasible for RA but also unwise to provide, given that RA has a very attentive audience – even in terms of protecting the privacy of the fan in such circumstances. My point isn’t that I would expect or wish RA to respond to fans in such a manner. My point is that there are benefits to fan acknowledgment and appreciation. It has to take an altogether different shape and form in RA’s case. But as you said – the point of the whole matter is that RA is unable and unwilling (at least at this stage). Which now loops me back to my initial argument in this blog post – hence the cliché of apparent communication via social media backfires because it leads to frustration. For both sides, I think.
                  I hadn’t looked at the occasions you cited as examples for more “personable opportunities”, but I can see how those were already concessions on his part. I am finding a new level of appreciation for that. It can only ever go as far as the lowest common denominator when it comes to privacy. And appreciation may express itself in other forms than I had considered. That is worth remembering for a Twitter critic like myself.

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                  • What I get from this is “he isn’t acknowledging / appreciating in the way some people would prefer.” Because he does acknowledge / thank fans regularly.

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              • One of the best stories ever and i bet you will remember it forever and thanks for sharing, definitely deserves to be told!!
                I think he is absolutely lovely and he is obviously a very down to earth, open and charming person and so seems his co-star 🙂 Truly an encounter to remember and if you like his work all the more reason to follow him through it in the future. However, just because i’ve been lucky enough to be on the receiving end of that kind of stunning first time see openness and utter friendliness with nothing to be gained i am 100% certain is is more than anything a personality trait. It is all the more endearing i feel for being so as it is not deliberate at all, nor calculated in any way! Because i haven’t really followed any actors closely or to the point of meeting face to face (chance encounters don’t count LOL) i have only experienced it from singers. I can only say it was a very surprising and utterly pleasant experience and has created the same impact, i regard those 2 singers with utter warmth and follow their careers pretty closely and will never forget what nice people they are behind the singing person. There is a fondness or a sort of goodwill towards them as people beyond their voices and roles. And no, neither of the 2 is JK. And yes there was at the time although there isn’t anymore now a twinge of regret that such openness and friendliness was coming not from where i would have wished for but from somewhere else entirely.
                And as you mentioned, it never felt as if one was intruding in anyone’s private sphere ore anything.
                I think that is just how some people are wired 🙂 They are extroverted, open and naturally sociable and interested in that kind of interaction and i don’t know how to call it. I wouldn’t say attracted to the interest because i don’t believe that is the case, or it may be in some but certainly not in what you describe or i remember experiencing. Especially as it was a person to person interaction without any expectations of further group opinions involved or anything. I can only describe it as ‘interest in my interest’ ad a genuine one, a pleasant curiosity of sharing impressions.
                But it remains a specific personality trait 🙂 It’s like breathing for the lovely people we’ve had the good fortune to stumble into or upon 🙂 And it is just beyond the realm of comfort for others although in their minds they may experience the same genuine curiosity and interest about people’s opinions. But for others there seem to always be the double checking one self of ruminating about the reasons , the whys, the boundaries, the what would be ok, what would be polite and by the time some conclusion emerges the moment is long gone LOL. Some people seem to never trust their first instincts or just worry about how each interaction can be interpreted. And all it does is create tensions, doubts, etc. The times i’ve thought : sheesh why does it have to be this complicated , it’s no fun, why can’t it be as easy and chilled out? I can honestly say in retrospect that the stage doors with JK are probably the ones i have enjoyed the very least on average for example with some early days exceptions. And i’ve had the best of times in most other cases, particularly some 2-3 where conversation was as natural and spontaneous as if one would know each other for years.
                It’s just people, can’t change them. There just isn’t a way or a type of interaction that works for all.
                Some ‘ll hug babies and scrawl signatures in communal showers or will just banter with the throng every night and and some ‘ll sit down and spend a couple hours composing letters 🙂 I do believe it comes from the same inner sentiment, it just takes the forms natural to each personality.

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                • Agree. It is a personality thing. Personally, I am drawn to such people. Mainly because that is how I would describe myself too: I simply love people. I love meeting people, I am not afraid of meeting them. I do not fear judgment or criticism, I only expect a pleasant exchange which will allow me to gain an insight. No other gains, not promotional or financial – just the pure pleasure of having the opportunity to make a connection. As you say – not everyone is wired like that, and I need to cop on to that and accept it. There is no bad intent in being reserved – it is simply an expression of personality. I’ll keep that in mind – it may reconcile me with some of RA’s actions again.

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                  • me too, i hope… i love it when the chatter gets going but i have to confess to being very shy at making the start; as long as the initiative comes from somebody else i’m good to go 🙂 At least he is always thankful for gifts and doesn’t give people the 3rd degree about it LOL i’ve had that experience full on, talk about feeling rejected LOL.

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          • As far as I know (I haven’t thought about it recently), his annual msgs and some of his birthday msgs have typically thanked people for supporting his charitable causes and for supporting his career. And he’s also intermittently thanked people on Twitter for coming to see his films, plays, etc. I frankly don’t see what he gets from just randomly tweeting “thanks” apart from those specific occasions. (And, frankly: the segment of fans that engages in the unpaid publicity work is already convinced that he feels that way about them in the absence of any reward for it at all. Why should he reward them? He’s already getting what he “wants,” if indeed he wants it.)

            re: the kind of thing you are describing — he didn’t do that even when he was a virtual unknown; he’s never been interested or willing to engage in that kind of proximity to fans, although I gather from things that have been said that in the very early days (like the first year) he still responded personally to fan letters with more than a signed picture. I don’t disagree that there are probably ways to use Twitter to create an impression of greater personal involvement, but your example requires an actual personal involvement (the guy is going to meet you) and not just creating an impression. I think in the end he’d have to want to create that impression, though, and I don’t think he really does, and certainly not at this point.

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            • What he gets from randomly tweeting thanks? The knowledge that he is giving something that (some) fans want. But well, there we have it – it’s impossible to please all.

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              • He already thanks fans regularly. So maybe a better question would be: what would he get that he doesn’t already get from doing something he already does? I’m just not convinced that there’s any value added here.

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  18. I thought this would be an easy answer: John Bateman and Dolly’s much more savage death than it was written. But what you said about Twitter got me thinking. I don’t think he knows how to use it. Or he’s not comfortable with it. And when he does post, he gets a lot of trollish flack from people who think their opinion matters. Or the googoo-eyed love starved comments… I mean really?!? I miss his occasional selfie, but film crew and Forbes seem to slip him into pictures.
    Oh well, some people have the knack for using social media and some don’t. Armitage is in the latter. He treats it as a necessary evil and not the fun thing it could be. I sent him a tweet asking what he was reading. He could tell us and it might prompt a literary discussion in the comments. I discovered 2 excellent books after he told interviewers he was reading them: “Daughter of Time” by Josephine Tey and “Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers” by Mary Roach. Hmmm maybe he does need someone to handle it for him.
    But I wish John Bateman and Instagram hadn’t happened.

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    • I mean: I thought the purpose of Twitter was so that people could communicate directly and honestly with other people on the network.

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    • I’m not sure whether the negative criticism he receives on Twitter are really the reason why he is not using the platform to his best advantage. I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding of how you make a social media presence work for yourself as a celebrity. It’s a very subtle balance of power, of give and take, and I don’t think RA has copped on to that. The fact that there is negativity – heck, we all have to live with the threat of disagreement, not just online, but mostly in RL. Even a self-declared mimosa like me is able to negotiate a path through life that is littered with criticism, failures, accusations, disagreement. We all are. And we have all learnt that it is impossible to please all, no matter whether we predominantly receive love hearts or thumbs down.
      I very much like the idea of RA sharing his reading list with us – he’s had some interesting titles on there. Mind you, most of his recommendations I have not read…
      What’s wrong with RA’s Instagram? Do you mean his half-day of taking his account offline?

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      • I agree with this — and I think, in general, in a situation like this there is a relationship between how you engage in a medium and what you get back from it. If you rant on your FB, for instance, you open up the door to that kind of response; same if you preach. And so on. (This is part of why people get so annoyed about his speech prescriptions for fans, as he apparently doesn’t follow them himself.)

        That said, I can’t see the reading tips as all that great a path to proceed down. I’d like to know what he’s reading. But if he tweeted what he was reading but didn’t engage in discussion about it, there’d be a huge wave of expectation created. Fans would be mad that he didn’t want to talk about the books. To me, that’s a good thing to say in an interview, but not in a discussion format.

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        • Nah, the reading tips wouldn’t engage *everyone* anyway. At this stage, it looks as if there are no neutral topics left at all. Well, one option: simply RT all the promo stuff tweeted by others without own comment. Sounds familiar.

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          • I honestly think at this moment, he’s doing the right thing. He’s focused on playing Daniel Miller, presumably, and hypothetically, on developing future projects. He can do promo for various projects he’s already completed without a lot of effort. (Although it was interesting how late the promo RT for Pilgrimage came, I thought.) If I were him, I’d essentially remain silent apart from promo until all expectations had been either extinguished or minimized, until he’d gone a month without a tweet from a fan that was about how much they missed him or a complaint about his silence. At that point, I’d reconsider if I wanted to be involved and how, and then come up with a formulaic strategy that would not involve me emotionally (possibly just continuing the promo RTs). And if I hadn’t stopped reading responses to my tweets, I would certainly do so at that point.

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          • sorry for making fun of what is still a pretty serious subject despite everything but i now have a pic of him in mind with the pointing finger hovering above keyboard going.. erm, how about? nope, no good .. or? urgh debatable… puts hands through hair and tries again.. hm… cat videos? but he likes dogs best.. no good… food.. oops… big trap… starts pouring a glass of wine.. then another… rubs hands over face, grabs glass, throws himself on sofa and realises in panic it is 3am and he’s not learned all his lines for Daniel Miller the next day! Looks at bottle and realises he’ll also have dark circles and red eyes. Sh..! Goes to bed mumbling.. bloody twitter! 😜😜😜😈😈😈😈

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  19. Jetzt hatte ich endlich mal Zeit, Deinen Post und all die nicht minder interessanten Kommentare zu lesen und über meinen Standpunkt zu dem Thema nochmal nachzudenken.
    Ich folge seinem Account eigentlich von Anfang an mehr durch Retweets, Blogposts oder Forenbeiträge und mich haben weder die Selfies noch die zur Zeit etwas langweilige, dienstliche Retweeterei gestört.
    Was mich wirklich aufgeregt hat, sind seine Tweet/Delete-Orgien.
    Aber ich glaube, was mich unterschwellig am meisten enttäuscht hat, ist das Gefühl der Rückgratlosigkeit (klingt hart, aber mir fällt gerade kein anderer Begriff dafür ein) im Bezug auf den gesamten Twitteraccount und das Stehen zu seiner Meinung. Das wirft in meinen Augen leider kein allzu positives Licht auf ihn, auch wenn ich in Betracht ziehe, daß ich weder ihn, noch seine Situation, noch die Hintergründe zu dem Thema kenne. Und am besten denke ich nun nicht weiter darüber nach, sonst kommt mir das RA-Fangirl doch noch ganz und entgültig abhanden *seufz*

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    • Das ganze Tweet/DeleteGate hinterlässt wirklich keinen guten Eindruck. Auch nicht unter Berücksichtigung der dafür angegebenen Begründung – “delete = end of discussion”. Es wirkt wie du sagst: wie ein Rückzieher, wie Unsicherheit, ein bisschen auch wie Eingeschnappsein. Alles nicht ganz so souverän, wie man sich das erträumt hat. Genau deswegen finde ich ja auch, dass er mal lieber den Laden ganz dicht machen sollte. Man amüsiert sich ja auf Twitter auch ohne ihn ganz gut…

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