(A very big thank you to Meg for finding this article!)
As mentioned in the previous post, the idea behind this two-part series is to look at a couple of personalities from recent history and see how social media may have changed their path. Part one asked what if Leon Spinks had social media in 1978. This installment will go back another decade to see how social media may have changed the life and career of Michael Nesmith and will explain how his being on Twitter in (circa) 1968 could have meant no Snooki, no Pauly D and no Jersey Shore.
Celebrating their 45th anniversary, The Monkees, yes from the TV show that ended in 1968, toured through my hometown making me wonder, what happened to the fourth Monkee – Michael Nesmith.
Here is an over-simplification of his life. Nesmith was part of the Monkees, a made for TV band that was criticized for not playing their own instruments, and he was also a trail-blazing musician and entrepreneur, that by many accounts was hampered by his being type cast as a former Monkee.
So, how would social media have changed any of this? Well, here are a couple of possibilities.
Controversy: Report Says Monkees Don’t Play Own Instruments. This shocking revelation could have been extinguished with a simple tweet.
@RandomTeenMagazineCira1968: @MonkeeShow tell me it isn’t true? Do you play your own instruments?
@MonkeeShow: Dear @RandomTeenMagazineCirca1968 it is a TV show. Guess what, Barbara Eden doesn’t actually live in a bottle. #IdreamOfJeannie
This 140 character reply would have been met by thousands of ‘we don’t care’ tweets. Or the Monkees could have taped a 5 minute YouTube video showing the TV stars actually playing instruments. Controversy ended. Who knows, with instrument-gate behind them, maybe The Monkees would have been a real band for the next 20 years.
Fighting to distance himself from The Monkees: Apparently, Mike Nesmith, at some point in his life decided that he no longer wanted to be associated with The Monkees. The appeal of The Monkees in large part was thanks to the laid back gentle non-threatening nature of the individuals. They were silly, likable and friendly. The quickest way to distance himself from that image and persona would have been to simply air some dirty laundry, publicly criticize the producers, cast members etc. This would have been pretty easy to do with Twitter or Facebook. Maybe this would have launched a post-Monkee career for Nesmith free of type cast limitations.
And, finally, the way Mike Nesmith’s social media presence could have impacted all of us…
Social media could have saved us all from Jersey Shore: Nesmith is credited with creating (and selling) the idea that launched MTV – no not necessarily Jersey Shore, but the original music video concept. Had YouTube been around then, it is certainly conceivable that Nesmith could have launched a channel on YouTube, and MTV would have never been launched and we’d all still be fortunate enough to have no idea what happens to those people from Jersey.
Now, I’ve never met Leon Spinks or Michael Nesmith (or even Michael Spinks for that matter), so I don’t know if they would have wanted their lives to turn out differently nor do I know if they would have been interested in participating on social media, had it been available in an earlier time. But I can’t help but wonder, what if.
If there is a moral to the story (and I’m not sure there really is) it is that social media provides tremendous power and possibilities. So whether you are a heavyweight fighter, a musician, a PR person etc. be careful not to miss the opportunity. You never know what could happen.
Next up, how Twitter would have changed the careers of the Different Strokes cast members. Wait, that is too easy, how about the cast members of Hardcastle and McCormick.
Ok, new moral of the story is that it’s time to stop living in the past. And, I’ve got to stop watching old fights and TV shows.
Please wear eyeliner more often. Also, please get Micky and Peter to wear eyeliner too, so that you can be a trio of eyeliner-wearin’ hotness. And don’t try to act like you’d be against it—you were rockin’ the liquid liner in Fairy Tale something fierce.
“They always treated me as a professional, which is quite unusual for the age they were at the time. They and the producers were just tons of fun. Sometimes during the shooting, the boys would disappear and there was a faint smell of something wafting in the air. A bit later, they’d come back and they’d all be smiling over nothing. I wonder why? I loved them!”—
Rip Taylor, on the Monkees
(thanks to Psycho Jello FB member Claire for the quote!)