Pat Clark

Pat Clark: A little bird on the social media wall

Admission No. 1: For years, I thought wasting time on random Twitter feeds was silly.

Admission No. 2: I now have joined the ranks of the millions who waste time on random Twitter feeds.

Blame Judd Apatow. I followed the comedian and film director a couple of months back when he took Turlock Community Theatre to task in a tweet over a show featuring comic Bill Cosby. While I was not thrilled with Apatow seemingly throwing blame at the theater – and said so in a previous column – the Hollywood insider’s Twitter feed turned out to be, well, kind of interesting.

And then there were the convenient suggestions from the Twitter gods on whom else to follow – other celebrities, actors, comedians, TV hosts, etc., based on Apatow. A click here, a click there and suddenly I was following a list of people whom I’ve never met nor will, but whose thoughts and photo links hooked me into the social media’s blue birdie maelstrom.

I’ve had a Twitter account for a year or two, originally set up for a work project – vague because I rarely logged in. I randomly followed a couple of people I know – The Bee, of course, and then a few work-specific folks such as Modesto actor Jeremy Renner.

As far as personal participation, I think I’ve actually tweeted two, maybe three times, tops. But it’s not the participation that’s the attraction. It’s completely a voyeuristic endeavor.

Reading thoughts and seeing photos snapped by all these celebrities – Renner, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Jon Stewart, Ben Stiller, Rob Lowe, Tom Hanks, Steve Martin and chefs like Giada De Laurentiis, Alex Guarnaschelli, Hugh Acheson, and more – has become a filler pastime.

By filler, I mean while standing in line at stores, waiting in drive-thrus, killing time before appointments. Seriously, what did we do with all that idle time before social media and at-your-fingertips access to a bevy of electronic information?

I probably seethed. I’m a seether. I don’t like waiting in lines or in doctor’s offices. I get bored, I get impatient, I get cranky. Now, instead, I pull out my smartphone and check Twitter, or Facebook or play a few rounds of Words With Friends. It’s still a waste of time, but at least it holds back the meanie seethies.

Of course, just how many of those celebrities actually are typing out their Twitter comments is up for question – some likely do their own tweeting, some likely have staff who strategically run the feeds as part of bigger public-relations campaigns.

For the most part, celebrity tweets are not awe-inspiring. A plug for a project here, a random thought there, a politically charged comment tossed in depending on the person – it’s just people speaking their minds, as common as the next guy.

One of these days, I’ll start speaking my mind, too. But for now, it’s more fun to be a little bird on the social media wall.

Reach Scene editor Pat Clark at