Last week Late Night with Jimmy Fallon launched an experiment: How many followers can he, with guests Russell Brand and DiggNation hosts Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht, get audience member Bryan Brinkman on Twitter.
Well, so far so good – he’s gone from 7 to over 34,000! But I wanted to know the back story – how did Bryan get chosen for this and what has his experience been so far?
Thankfully, Bryan was nice enough to submit to a nine-question (and 140 character plus!) interview about his adventures so far with Late Night and Twitter.
John Boyle: You said you were on Twitter for just a few months and only had seven followers before all this happened. Why only seven?
Bryan Brinkman: Well i didn't know have friends that used it a few months ago, so I kinda gave up since I didn't feel like anybody was listening. I made a tumblr and had the posts from that feed into the twitter, but that was about it. Of course now plenty of my friends have started using it, not to mention the thousands of followers I have acquired.
John: What were your initial impressions of Twitter?
Bryan: At first I thought "This is just the facebook/myspace status bar, etc", but since then I've realized its a much more intricate with the @replies and other categorizing options. I'm still learning new things every day, but there's something to it that removes the personal level that facebook and myspace have. I find it very tough to fit my thoughts into the 140 characters, so its a fun challenge.
John: How did you get roped into Late Night’s Twitter experiment?
Bryan: I was planning on seeing the show for a few weeks, and I had told friends about it. It turned out someone I knew on the staff got wind I was coming and when the idea for the experiment came out, my name got thrown in as a possibility. So they contacted me before the show and asked me. I found it it was happening for sure about 4 hours before the show aired, so i barely had time to react. It really came down to good luck and good timing.
John: Did you have any reservations when they approached you?
Bryan: I'm a pretty shy individual, so I was very reluctant at first, and got very nervous about being on TV and having so many expectations. After they talked to me for a bit and I realized it would be good fun and also great publicity for my artwork, I agreed.
John: You’re now a Twitter celebrity. Any stories from interacting with the Twitter community?
Bryan: It's been a lot of fun, having people I would've never interacted with talking to me about my life and films is amazing. This interview is a perfect example of that. The community is great, they are always quick to respond and help if i need it.
John: How has your new following impacted your work as an animator?
Bryan: It has brought thousands of people to my website, having a global spotlight on my work has been unreal. Everyone has been really supportive of my work, it's definitely a motivator for me to continue making films and artwork.
John: Has traffic increased to your site?
Bryan: I think Google analytics said I've had a 20,000% increase in traffic, before I was getting maybe 5 hits a day. haha
John: Any thoughts on where this goes next?
Bryan: I'm trying my best to decide where to take it, but I'm not trying to make a quick buck. Ideally, I hope to create a website that can utilize the community of followers I have to work together, hopefully on something art related.