Nathan Fillion is an actor currently best known for his role as the eponymous Richard Castle on the show Castle. His past roles include Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, Waitress, and one show which has probably done the most in giving him a large and dedicated fan base: Firefly. Fillion’s twitter account is quite an entertaining one, he is very active in tweeting his opinions, jokes, responding to and retweeting fans and other celebrities, and maintaining consistent references to Firefly, a move which his fans surely appreciate.
In Giddens’ exploration of the construction of identity and subsequent presentation of that self, he refers to a few concepts involved in this identification, some of which are very clear in Fillion’s twitter behavior. In adhering to characteristics of performativity, Fillion will constantly pull from his past show Firefly in order to produce twitter content based off of an outside factor. As mentioned, the show has a very strong fan base, and by constantly referencing Firefly he appeals to this fan base while reaffirming his identity as a main character. This reaffirmation demonstrates his use of reiteration as a way to reinforce his online and in person image. By consistently tweeting about Firefly he also solidifies it as an identifying factor of himself as an actor and person. Additionally, he establishes and reestablishes his friendly disposition by consistently interacting with fans and including them in on twitter activities. This past Halloween, for example, Fillion retweeted pictures of people who dressed up as any of the characters he’s played. On a regular basis he also answers fan questions, retweets fan art, tweets at past or current cast members from his shows, and will quote a lot of “fun fact” tweets from accounts like “UberFacts” and “What TheFFacts.” While doing this he maintains a standard format to his tweets in which he quotes whatever tweet he is addressing, adds a space below the last line, and then inserts his response. In repeating this standard tweet format he also establishes it as the norm for his twitter profile and creates a distinct aesthetic for his page.
Throughout Fillion’s unidirectional and bidirectional tweets, we can note that he is participating in the maintenance of self-face and mutual-face, a concept that Sun Sun Lim, Shobha Vadrevu, Yoke Hian Chan, and Iccha Basnyat brought to light in their exploration of facework in delinquent juveniles. Although Fillion is clearly not a juvenile delinquent, he does actively tweet and interact with others as a way to maintain his twitter reputation. In continuously providing humorous tweets, he maintains his self-face and the way people see him as a sort of jokester on twitter. By responding to fans in a friendly and joking manner, he maintains mutual-face by demonstrating that he does in fact have a positive relationship with his fans. In the picture below, for example, he responds to a fan’s question even though it has no relation to any of his past or current TV shows or films.
Continuing with his habit of producing a comically inclined twitter account, he also imagines his audience as people similar to him in both taste and humor. One can tell that he really seems like he’s entertaining himself with his responses, and assumes that—given that his fans have similar taste—they will also find his jokes amusing. In other words. Fillion appeals to his ideal reader, and by the looks of it doesn’t concern himself with adjusting for a nightmare reader.
Nathan Fillion uses his twitter account as a means of entertaining himself, his fans, and as a way of interacting with his followers. In his constant references to Firefly he solidifies his alternate identity as the main character, Malcolm Reynolds, while encouraging the fandom by providing them with fun tidbits relating to the show. As I mentioned, he maintains a humorous twitter feed. Since he has a tendency of playing comedic roles, he continues this image on twitter where he presents himself as a funny person through his witty observational tweets and responses. In expressing his love of fun facts he perpetuates the nerdy persona he’s acquired through his work on science fiction shows. So, using his deep level of reach with a large number of followers, Nathan Fillion presents himself on twitter as the lovable, goofy, nerdy character he normally portrays on television and film. And I have to say it definitely works, because I love all of it.