I usually keep the twitter-specific drama to Twitter, but this week one particular event occurred that seemed worth noting. The anonymous tweeter known as @MysteryExec nuked his account. The gentleman behind this moniker claimed to be a studio executive of some kind and in recent years, had taken to semi-regular "sermons from the mountain top" imploring his followers to "Be the Change" and support new and diverse voices in Hollywood.
I'll be honest with you - I was not always a fan of the guy and a lot of that had to do with my conviction he was a fraud. I remember what his account was when it launched sometime in 2010. He was less of an idealistic force for change and more like a bad parody of someone's impression of Kevin Spacey in SWIMMING WITH SHARKS. When an account goes from boasting about all the chicks he's banging while knocking back liquor to suddenly being very pro-feminist, it's hard not to see someone putting on an act. Neither incarnation really rang true as a real exec's voice.
In fact, there was one time I tweeted "If an account has 'Mystery' in front of it, you can bet that whatever follows it is total horseshit." Within seconds he replied, "oh, like YOU'RE so scintillating!" It seemed curious to me that my stray comment would have gotten so far under the skin of a person who was what they claimed to be.
But even I called a truce of sorts, eventually. I refused to follow him until late last fall when I saw that he was boosting the signal for some causes I feel strongly about, particularly anti-piracy and stronger voices for women and minorities in film.
Last night, I tweeted some thoughts about what we can learn from all of this. What follows is an edited transcript:
I don't blame people for feeling mislead by Mystery Exec. I don't like when anonymous accounts misrepresent themselves. No matter how transparent the ruse. I've seen people say that they really responded to a lot of his thoughts calling for more diverse voices in film, among other calls to arms. If what he said provoked you to think about things differently, that isn't diminished by learning Santa isn't real.
But I also keep coming back to the fact that everything he said - he didn't need a fake executive pose to give it weight. It's a genuine shame he felt he couldn't express those opinions while being honest about who he was. Or what he was.
Look, I'm a script reader. I'm LOW on the totem pole. And via my blog and twitter, I've reached a lot of people here and made a LOT of contacts in real life. And I've made a lot of good friends. And it's NOT because I'm anonymous. And it's NOT because people love readers. It's because i have a voice of my own. And I've found people who respond to that. Or they found me. I'm not important, but people listen.
I'm sorry that ME closed himself off from that by maintaining total anonymity. I'm sure there are a lot of good friends he could have made. The first time a working writer asked me to coffee, the idea someone WANTED to meet me was so foreign I didn't realize it WAS a legit invite.
You can make good friends on here. I've made very strong friends. I've made bonds that have helped my career, for sure. I use the moniker so this isn't the first thing that pops up when people google me. It wasn't so I could drop gossip or put on an act. This is 100% me. I strive to be intellectually honest here. After all, who'd pretend to be a Script Reader?
So if you must take a final lesson from this Mystery Exec thing, let it be this. Don't be afraid to be yourself.
You don't need a fake Mystery moniker to have value.
Also, keeping up an act is HARD.
Thank you, and have a good evening.