Today’s Strip Search episode is a real doozy. This challenge was about dealing with fans/trolls on Twitter and we brought in guest judge Scott Kurtz to critique the artists on their social media skills.
This episode is generating a lot of great discussion in the comments section and on Twitter. Obviously all these challenges are very subjective so not everyone is going to agree on the results. I have to agree with most of what Scott says to the artists in this episode though.
**MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD SO WATCH THE EPISODE FIRST!**
The reality is that making stuff is not easy. Finding that creative voice inside yourself and then trusting it enough to make art and put it in front of other people is fucking hard. Scott is right when he says that you can’t let the audience determine what you create. You have to remember that for every email you get complaining about a comic strip, there are hundreds of people who loved it. You learn very quickly about the vocal minority in this business. If you start trying to engage and please every pissed off troll that sends you a tweet you’ll lose your own voice very quickly and then you’ll lose the vast majority of silent fans of your work.
Recently you might have seen the “DO NOT ENGAGE” plaque I’ve been using on Twitter occasionally. I have learned that there are really three major types of trolls that I tend to get on Twitter. There are people just being jerks in the hopes of getting a response. There are people who honestly do not seem to understand that if you put my twitter handle in a tweet I will see it. Finally there are just plain crazy people. Now the first two I feel pretty safe engaging with. Sometimes I can have fun with a jerk and at least get a funny tweet out of it. With the second kind of troll they often times seem surprised when I respond and quickly apologize. Sometimes I think it’s easy to forget that there are real people at the other ends of these twitter handles. It’s the last group that I use my “DO NOT ENGAGE” plaque for. I feel like I’ve gotten pretty good at spotting the difference but sometimes I’ll engage with what I think is a run of the mill troll only to find out a few tweets later that they are in fact nutballs crazy. These people I tend to just block or mute forever.
Twitter is harder than I think these artists realize, although after this episode and their experience at PAX I imagine they are starting to get a taste of it.