Strategic Use of Twitter
Remember the good ol’ days when David first started using Twitter, long before it became a “thing” for the celebrity types to use, or before Shonda Rhimes used it to get fans of her TV show Scandal to trend different topics and catch phrases from the show?
At the time, I thought David was ahead of the curve, and while some celebrities would regularly get in trouble, not David. Nope! He found ways to keep his private life and thoughts very private while randomly tweeting bits and pieces of his life that would turn out comedy gold.
Or how about this?
Fun stuff! Revealing just a little about what’s going on in his life without actually letting us know what was going on in his life! 😛
Yep, David used to play things close to his chest. It would be the folks surrounding him who would leak things to us: about his mission, about behind-the-scenes troubles and so forth.
Back then, I couldn’t help but think: “Wow, David is smart! He has mastered the art of revealing himself on Twitter without actually revealing himself on Twitter!”
Then, he goes away for two years in Chile on an LDS mission.
Then, he comes back from that mission. Having been immersed in proselytizing his faith for two years, I realize he has not transitioned back into the secular spotlight of the music world. What once came as an effortless move back when he was and seemed so much younger is now a more awkward engagement with the public, and his mixed-faith fanbase in particular.
That he kept tweeting stuff about his religious beliefs and his church, I took in stride. Patiently waiting for his focus to get back into music, I kept the faith (yes, I’m still a believer in the Voice, which has yet to crack – despite the external cracks showing up in his religious tweets).
Think of the excuses I would make: Eh, he’s still young, not yet 25, he’s going through the “extreme” version of his religion. Or maybe he always was that way: his big sister hinted that this was his way of thinking since way back after his Idol appearance. Heck, even in his memoir Chords of Strength, both his parents had to use the Bible to convince him to audition for a talent show (that whole “don’t hide your light under a bushel” episode). Perhaps we’re getting the “real” David now!
Does it mar my image of him? Yes and No. Yes, because I’d rather not think that, in his embrace of a particular faith, he also adheres to problematic worldviews and values. No, because I hear his sincerity and see that he wants to live a certain way, and his faith always rang out in the way he raised his Voice in song.
Still, I had to recognize that I was writing less and less about the Voice, what inspired this blog in the first place. That’s complicated, because I’ve been doing more professional writing, and my work has increased over time, which has taken me away from Soul Davidian. At the same time, if he were still inspiring me, I would make more time to write about David. Full stop. Period.
David, my plea to you is this: Inspire me again! Bring back the Voice! And stop sharing other “voices” that some in your fanbase quite frankly don’t want to hear. We don’t care about the elders in your church. We care about YOU! Yes, they mean something to you, but they mean nothing to those of us who don’t share your religion. Worse, their views may be alienating to others, who in turn will come to associate you with the alienating, bigoted type.
I want the Old David back: the one who implicitly understood, even at 18, that Twitter is not where you go to reveal yourself but where you go to strategically reveal parts of your self that the world can appreciate and love.
Here’s hoping that he takes some sound professional advice and learns to go back to using Twitter as a “selfie” you want to share with the world and NOT as a mirror revealing your flaws.
I think it’s great David no longer wants to hide his religious self, but there are other aspects to his self. Let this controversy be a lesson on how he can move forward in a more strategic engagement with social media.