The one thing I can tell you about this industry without a doubt is that you need to be adaptable.
► Jersey, college, necklace, G4 –that’s the past. Nowadays it seems, at least looking from the outside, that you have one foot in the more traditional entertainment industry and one foot in that crossover of the geek realm and YouTube – Course Of The Force, Nerdist, Geek & Sundry. To you, are these fields completely separate entities, is it all just the same or separate but connected?
I definitely think they are connected. I’ve lived in L.A. for about ten years now. The one thing I can tell you about this industry without a doubt is that you need to be adaptable. The industry is way different than it was ten years ago because of the access to the internet, because of YouTube and shows on Netflix and Hulu. Nothing is traditional anymore. So to me the questions have always been a) do I enjoy doing the project and b) is it going to get my face out there? If something checks both those boxes, then it’s something I want to do, whether it’s doing an awesome guest star spot on a CBS show or appearing on a web thing for Funny Or Die. Also, we live in a day and age now where your Twitter following and your Instagram following give you clout to get jobs because people know that you have a lot of outreach. So, again, those two fields are definitely very connected.
► When you were the social media correspondent for The Voice, you tweeted from your account, right?
Yeah, I was actually pretty shocked that this was what they wanted me to do on that show. I got a little scared, too. I was on the first season. We were all running around like chicken with their heads cut off, because none of us really knew what the show was or what it was going to become. I was only hired for that show 36 hours before we started filming. On the first day of filming I had to wait in my dressing room because my contract hadn’t been done yet. It was that last-minute. I think we even shot a day or two before we went through what we called ‘media training’. That’s when they said, “You are allowed to tweet anything, unless it’s something personal about the coaches’ lives.” You know, be respectful. Basically, the only rule was “don’t be a dick”. And they said to use my account because they wanted people to know that it is actually me speaking. Of course I had thought they would create something like an alisonhaislipvoice account. So I was like, “Okay … you’re not going to restrict anything … I can still tweet other stuff, too?” Because up until that point my Twitter account was just for me and getting random shit out into the universe. It wasn’t a family friendly account by any means. I’m not a very family friendly person. (laughs) So I was afraid I was going to get censored. But they said they wanted me to do what I was doing. That was actually one of the coolest things for me about The Voice – the fact that they weren’t trying to put a face on that show. They wanted it to come from a real human being who remains real.
► Has that changed the way you view your Twitter account?
I definitely learned during the show that people don’t want to be force-fed what, in the end, is advertisement. I learned to get information out in a fun and entertaining way that sounded like me. People don’t care when you just say “watch this cool video” or if you go “had a really good time working with so-and-so”. You need to make it clever and interesting and get people to interact. You want to put things out there that people want to respond to. That’s really the only change there was – that it helped me figure out how Twitter reacts to me. Other than that, it’s still my account. So I say things I probably shouldn’t sometimes and I still stick ridiculous videos on there a lot. And I appreciate the people who stick around for that.
► You only relatively recently got an Instragram account. Before, you were using WhoSay. Was that switch a professional decision?
Well, WhoSay is really clever because it allows people with large followings to copyright their pictures. Any picture you post through WhoSay automatically sticks a copyright with your name at the bottom of it. So no one can take your picture off the internet and use it for an ad or say it’s theirs or anything like that. That’s why I’m part of it. But I did just join Instagram, mainly because I started working with Team Unicorn. They are all on Instagram, and we have a pilot in work for Adult Swim. They kept posting all those pictures and they couldn’t tag me on their photos because I wasn’t on Instagram. You know, Instagram became a thing right after I came off The Voice, and at that time I was a little overwhelmed by social media. I didn’t want to join yet another platform. That’s why I didn’t join right away. And then someone had taken my name. It was a dead account, so whoever had taken the name had obviously done it so that maybe, down the road, I would have to buy it. And once I couldn’t get my name, I wanted to be on there even less. I didn’t want to be therealalisonhaislip. Well, I almost got the account fuckyeahhaislip. (laughs) Or maybe nothaislip, which I also liked. But since there was an alisonhaislip account, that was the account that was going to get tagged anyway, instead of me on another account. So I didn’t bother with it.
► Until you did…
Yeah, when enough people gave me flak about not being on Instagram, I said, “Fine, let me see if I can get my name.” So I tweeted about it, on the off chance that the person who had my account was out there and would give me my name back. What happened instead was that the co-founder of Instagram tweeted me back. He said he was on it, and within 24 hours I had my name. I guess at that point I no longer had a choice. (laughs) And it’s been great since. I have been using just Instagram to post pictures lately because I want people to be aware of my account. But I would say once I get my following up on Instagram I will go back through WhoSay. Because when you do that, it will post to your Twitter and Instagram, and you also have your copyright. And then you’re covered.
► So you’re definitely not someone who feels obligated to join a new platform that is starting to become hip, just because it kind of is part of what you’re doing?
I try to avoid feeling obligated. What is the new one that just came out? Ello? It’s supposed to be the anti-social-media thing? I don’t know. I haven’t bothered with that one for example. Because, well, I just can’t. I have an outlet for what I need to say. I have an outlet for my pictures. I’m good with that for now.