Brobible Senior Writer Eric Ital wrote a hit piece mocking Avatar for having less than 133,000 Twitter followers and pointing out that Twitter has been in existence over 11 years.
Readers following Ital’s screed, which makes zero sense considering metrics for movie success, should probably skip over the author’s own Twitter account — but I won’t. Stay with me.
It is a curious criticism of the movie, Avatar, and its four sequels in production (all one billion dollars worth!?!). Will give it that.
We’re talking about the second-highest grossing movie of all-time, a movie whose sequel James Cameron thinks will outgross Avengers: Endgame and one of their primary social media accounts has fewer followers than BroBible! When the first movie came out, Twitter didn’t even exist — now, here we are 11 years later, and not only has a sequel yet to be released, but their Twitter feed has the following of an A24-produced indie drama (no disrespect to A24, of course, those are my fucking dudes). They don’t even own the @Avatar handle! An absolute clown show.The Official ‘Avatar’ Twitter Account Has Less Than 125K Followers
Ital’s self-professed “one man crusade” against the movie for Twitter followers leaves me wondering how or why this would be any sort of fair metric evaluating the potential success or failure of the movie itself? Seriously, who judges movies this way?
Why would anybody judge a movie this way?
If a studio simply throws up a Twitter account and isn’t very active, they aren’t going to have that many Twitter followers. That’s reality in the world of social media follows.
The article’s author never explains how or why this sort of metric should matter in any logical way, whatsoever, because, well, it doesn’t. It’s the type of clickbait bullshit angst article that are vomited daily upon the internet. Our eyes are the toilet bowl of 2020, no thank you.
Let me try and help out Mr. Ital. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and just fill in whatever you want, followers are not a measurement of how good or bad movies have been or will ever be. At best it might represent one measurement of how good or bad marketing on a given social media service performed.
Does anybody seriously think James Cameron gives two craps about Twitter followers for Avatar? Hint: see the first sentence of his recent tweet:
Just in case you need more evidence. James Cameron’s official Twitter has over 718,000 followers, joined in January 2011 and made a mere 170 tweets.
Clearly, Cameron isn’t a Luddite. He believes in Twitter, but he doesn’t use it very often. He cared enough to sign up for it relatively early in the game because he’s an intelligent man.
Now, let’s compare to the article author’s Twitter profile, because these kinds of comparisons make just about as much sense (not!).
Given, the author isn’t one of the most famous and successful directors of all time, he’s just some random “senior writer” at an internet publication, but hey, he’s really into Twitter. He knows all about Twitter based on his flame-ridden piece. He knows how to judge Twitter as the all-knowing, all-seeing prophecy behind whether or not something is going to be good or bad based on Twitter followers.
So, he must have at least a few thousand Twitter followers himself, yes? He must have been on Twitter for years, yes? Must be heavily active and marketing his own articles (despite his own admitting that in many articles he doesn’t give a shit how many people have read them), since all this would be a justification for his business success, yes?
No, no, no.
Look, I don’t know you, Mr. Ital. You might be a great writer and 100% right that Avatar 2 and the other sequels, if we ever get to see them, will not be as successful as Cameron and company hope.
In fact, I’m a bit skeptical of Avatar sequel success myself (see: Even if Avatar 2 sucks, the Mercedes Vision Avtr looks amazing). However, I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever — not in 11+ years of Twitter existence — measure any movie’s sales potential based on social media followers. Not even with snark or lopsided humor. That’s any social media service you want to pick out and use … Twitter, Facebook, Insta, whatever.
Just for transparency, here is my Twitter account:
Now, by the article author’s logic, guess I’m godawful at Twitter, too, with my paltry 4009 followers since joining in July 2010. This isn’t my first Twitter account, either, my tech account joined even sooner (I was in on the beta of Twitter, actually, but that’s a story for another blog and another day), but this account is the one I use most these days. You can see that I do try to follow back most of those who follow me. I figure that’s the courteous thing to do.
Nevermind that I’ve made piss-all effort to grow followers or promote followers in 10 years and have made only about 700 more tweets than the Brobible article’s author, but in 9 years more time! Perhaps, Mr. Ital will have many more followers than me when he has used Twitter for 10 years, and he most certainly will have more tweets, but who cares? What does any of this mean?
Nothing. Gas tank bone dry. Septic system just pumped. Lake drained.
My point is simple, I’m OK with bashing movies for sucking if someone feels that way after seeing it. I’m even OK with bashing a movie’s marketing and promotion (is that what’s happening here?). Go ahead and bash the idea of a sequel, although a sequel for the second biggest box office success of all time does make financial and logical sense. An audience is there. It’s a big world with lots of movie idea possibilities.
But I can’t get on bashing a movie based on the number of social media followers. Unless it’s all about clickbaiting, of course. And now I’m guilty of not only taking the bait but promoting it, so double dog shame on me.
In defense of Mr. Ital, he does admit he hates Avatar. So, using hate for motivation maybe number of Twitter followers for the Avatar account does make sense. And it gave me something humorous to riff off this morning, I guess, so thank you.
I digress. This isn’t about the article author or me. Let’s focus on the movie itself. Will it be successful? Who fricking knows?! Logic would suggest that if James Cameron directs a movie about someone taking a dump in an outhouse, it will sell tickets. He’d probably shoot that movie from inside the hole with some kind of smell-o-vision tech in hyper-3D and millions would flock to watch it.
We haven’t seen Avatar 2 yet. We won’t get to until December 2021. If it is delayed due to the pandemic, that’s not the fault of James Cameron and company, it’s what many movies are doing these days.
The main point of this post isn’t to bash the author for hating on a movie and its associated franchise — hate away, I support any critic’s right to love or hate a film — it’s to challenge the concept of social media followers having really anything to do with a movie’s business potential. If the movie is good, there will be people with millions of Twitter followers promoting it — for free. Movies don’t absolutely need Twitter accounts or heavy tweet marketing to be successful. Yes, it helps getting social media buzz around a movie, which I think is the fundamental premise behind the criticism in the linked article.
As always, I welcome contrarian viewpoints, just please keep it civil in the comments area. I don’t want to have to call upon my small number (not my opinion, by the way, I’m grateful to have 1 interested follower) of 4,009 followers on Twitter to rough anybody up 😉