Erin Faulk has had her eye on York for months, even though she lives more than 2,600 miles away. The social media outlet Twitter has helped her connect with locals and learn about the community.
Wednesday, she's bringing a film crew to town.
York is one stop on her 8,000-mile, 40-day journey to meet about 140 strangers -- people she might "know" from Twitter, but has never met in person. The idea for her quest came from -- where else? -- Twitter.
"I was reading an article someone posted (about how) 72 percent of Americans trust the recommendations of a stranger online as much as a friend's," Faulk said during a recent phone interview.
That's the idea behind Follow Friday -- an end-of-the-week Twitter ritual in which users tweet about their favorite followers. Faulk said that it helps her find new and interesting people to follow. As a 29-year-old filmmaker who tweets with a sense of humor, Faulk said she likes to follow journalists, political wonks, financial experts and new media creators.
"I want to follow someone who is not like me," she said. "They give me something I don't already have."
She decided to turn her journey into a documentary titled "Follow Friday the Film." She created a film website, Twitter presence and Kickstarter page to collect donations for travel and production expenses. Then, she contacted followers to create a route across the country. She and a crew of about six set out June 26 from Glendale, Calif. They've made stops in Nevada, Texas, Louisiana and Georgia.
One guy they met in Louisiana was in a wheelchair. It was something Faulk said she would have never known from their Twitter interactions. Meeting him in person helped her understand his perspective.
In York, Stefan Becket and Trisha Melikian Rego will host the crew. Both connected with Faulk on Twitter months before she started the film project. People who aren't on Twitter might not realize that the site creates a community, Rego wrote in an email message.
"I suggested (Faulk) come out to York on her tour because of the large Twitter community here," she wrote. "Considering the size of the city, it's downright gigantic."
Through Twitter, Becket, a 2006 York Catholic High School grad, landed a job at New York Magazine. He's not leaving before meeting some of the people he retweets.
After the crew finishes their journey, they'll push to collect more donations to finance the editing process. If the documentary is done by September, Faulk said, they'll meet film festival deadlines. The goal, she added, is to get a distribution deal and make a little money to finance future projects.
Follow the film
Twitter: @FF_TheFilm and @erinscafe
York connections to the film: @stefanjbecket and @parva_x
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