Less than a week before its official US debut, the star (one of) and producer of Hot Tub Time Machine, John Cusack took his promotional mettle to Twitter. As both a regular Twitter user and a follower of Cusack I was party to the whole thing.
And it was a thing of beauty.
The thing about following Cusack on Twitter is this: he has very little (admitted) knowledge of how the thing works, and even less (admitted) interest in working it out. He also cannot type for shit. I assume he probably can spell, but only because of any public evidence I can glean as to his intelligence. And I think he is super-duper smart, politically, ideologically and, well… in the Mary Poppins way, if you want to know how I really feel about it. I think he likely Tweets drunk on occasion and I applaud his irreverence and his range of topics in his “stream” (look at me work the double entendre.) Basically, he cracks me up and makes me wonder how HST might handle such a concept as Tweeting.
So, either of his own volition or at the request of someone else, Mr. Cusack decided to take advantage of the Twitter tool of “trending” and see if, with the efforts of his more than 27k followers, get the movie to “trend.” He seemed unclear on how the trending thing worked at first, and I could certainly relate. Basically, any subject that starts getting repeat Tweets (to an exponential degree) shows up in the sidebar of a Twitter user’s page. This, in the tradition of the hive mind, of course draws more attention and before you know it, whatever the trending topic is, it has gone viral. You can set your trend topics regionally or world-wide, so you see what kind of audience we are talking about. Using a hashtag (#) seems to speed things up, but to my (limited) knowledge it does not seem like a requirement.
I guess you can sort of see the potential for massive exposure. The question is… to what do you want to be exposed.
A quick survey of the trending topics on any given day is almost certain to be 80% inane-to-the-point-of-insulting topics. For example, right this minute the worldwide trends are:
- now playing
- don’t you hate it when
- april wish
- i just wanna know why
- Justin Bieber….
And let’s just stop right here.
Justin Bieber. Two weeks ago, my only knowledge of this individual was through my blogging friend Clare‘s husband‘s tweets about Bieber because he has to write about him for celebrity news website. I had no idea who he was or why he was so popular, he is almost always a trending topic, but obviously I had never taken the time to investigate. I assumed he must have been an American Idol contestant or on Dancing With The Stars or something equally not-my-style. Turns out, No. He is a pre-pubescent (though he is 16 apparently so someone should be worried…) Canadian pop “star”.
Back to the Cusack connection. In the effort to become a trending topic, Hot Tub time Machine was going to have to disable the Bieber-machine. How to do this? Could it be done? Was it impossible that Cusack/Coddry could generate enough cyber-energy to topple the hormonal urges of millions of teenage girls around the world? [Turns out it is not teenagers that they had to worry about… it was three-year olds. Amazing.]
Game on people.
The Cusack troops were motivated. The Bieber-barbs were witty and snarky and all that is right with mockumentary. But clever does not always win you points in the world of Twitter. You need volume. Bieber held fast. But the,… suddenly… after a few days of solid #httm/#hottubtimemachine effort… it looked like the Bieber might be cracking. Add to that Roger Ebert’s review of the film and the ABSOLUTE AUDACITY of The Bieber to even try to emulate Lloyd Dobler, and the game was getting interesting. [By the way, just look at the picture. I mean, come-the-fuck-on people… what is this thing you have created? He thinks he is serious. Wait till his voice changes… All down hill from there, kid.] After just a few days, the movie was trending… it was a victory of Bieber proportions to be sure. When the movie opened it got an even bigger boost as people not actively involved in (or inciting) the Shockozulu-Bieber smackdown were inadvertently helping by tweeting about the movie.
Thus far, the movie that began this Twitter showdown, which apparently made it into the foreign press, has yet to make it to my far off shores, but you can be sure I am going to see it. I mean, 1986? I’ll take a second look. Plus, there is not much connected to Cusack that I don’t like. [Yeah, yeah, yeah, it was on purpose.] And while I am certain that the temporary Bieber displacement will be short-lived because I am aware that you cannot stop the insanity madness idiocracy that supports a concept like Bieberism, you can certainly enjoy it for one brief, shining, Twitter moment.