A lesson in the power of going viral... for all the wrong reasons.
By Rachel James (Treasurer/Writer)
Logging on to Facebook this week, I noticed a few of my friends had shared the below exchange:
Now, I happen to know the playwright in this conversation. And since he has given me permission, I will let you know that his name is Duncan Pflaster. He is a talented, award-winning writer/director, and his talent is only surpassed by what a fantastic human being he is. He posted this on Facebook, and by the end of the day, 80 people had shared it and over 150 people had commented on Duncan’s page alone. I believe that speaks not only to how ridiculous this whole display was, but to the fact that everyone who knows Duncan loves and respects him, his talent, and his work ethic.
The internet is a global community. It is not something only your friends will see, and it is DEFINITELY not your journal. It is the world wide web. And it goes beyond the two block rule.
To those unaware: after seeing a show, you must be at least two blocks away before saying anything about it. Especially when it’s negative. Sometimes it’s one block, sometimes it’s ten. But as long as you don’t shout to your friend across the theater during intermission “What a piece of shit, right?!”, you’re usually fine.
The internet has been such a blessing for artists. First of all, it is a quick and easy way to make your art available to as many people as possible. Second, it is a convenient way to communicate with fans and colleagues alike. It has the ability to bring people together in this incredibly unique, easy, and speedy fashion. So when I see things such as the exchange above, I get angry.
What you say matters. And how you present yourself online matters. Just because you think it doesn’t mean that everyone needs to know about it.
Also, it seems as if this person has forgotten that the internet is actually made up of people. Real, live people, who are more than Twitter handles and avatars and hashtags. If you wouldn’t say something to someone in person, DON’T SAY IT ON THE INTERNET!
I don’t know what’s going to happen to this actor and his career. I know that he is on many people’s “do not cast” lists. Maybe that will last, maybe it won't. Maybe he will regret starting this exchange, or maybe he'll take the side that "There is no such thing as bad publicity". He did go viral, and he did get his name out there. But for someone who wanted to work on material that was "classy", did he actually show any class?
Peace and love!
RACHEL JAMES is a native New Yorker and theatre baby. Her plays have been produced by The 52nd Street Project and Starfish Theatreworks. She currently makes a living working the various box offices of Off-Broadway.
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