“Atlanta,” FX’s occasionally surreal examination of human behavior, is acutely aware of the internet. It’s fitting for a show whose multitalented creator and star, Donald Glover, released an album titled “Because the Internet” in 2013, complete with a GIF on its cover.
“The internet is everything,” Glover told Time that year.
For “Atlanta,” that means acknowledging the web’s omnipresence in our lives and linking it to every aspect of the show.
In the first season’s finale, Glover’s character uses Snapchat to piece together a drunken night out. Season 2’s premiere alludes to the infamous “Florida Man” meme while the third episode opens by parodying a 2016 viral video featuring a mother’s tearful rant about the explicit lyrics in “Norf Norf,” by rapper Vince Staples.
“Atlanta” has a shrewd understanding of its audience’s experiential bond with social media, so it’s only appropriate that each of its official channels allows viewers to immerse themselves outside the standard episodic format.
To follow “Atlanta’s” social media accounts is to follow the conversation across platforms, guided by a unified style and quirky consciousness as fascinating as the show itself.
Ibra Ake, photographer, creative director and a writer for “Atlanta,” is integral in channeling the show’s tone into its marketing efforts. He says the process began in the writers’ room, when a conscious decision was made to promote the show through social outlets to establish a better connection with the audience.
“We decided the accounts should just be accounts. In those ways, you should just be interested in them independent of the show.”
That meant creating accounts less concerned with traditional promotional objectives — as in getting people to turn on FX every Thursday. The tone would be informal, irreverent, conversational. The Los Angeles-based lifestyle marketing firm Cashmere Agency manages the accounts, unleashing a deluge of stray and semi-random observations in a conversational tone outlined by “Atlanta’s” creative circle. The voice is frequently existential, an effect reinforced by frequent use of the lowercase.
“flannel is fur for anxiety,” one tweet reads. “strip club atm charge like they givin out loans,” another muses. And while the Twitter account always live-tweets episodes of the show (from the perspective of a viewer), it has also live-tweeted episodes of HGTV’s “Property Brothers.”
“If I want to read a stupid thought or something funny, or just something unconnected, I’m not afraid to go to this corporate account because I know it doesn’t care about doing its job — just like me,” Ake says of the approach.
The show’s Instagram posts paint a picture of the city through show clips, photos and GIFs. Despite having an array of heavily produced content, Ake says snapshots displaying Atlanta’s beauty and essence, such as cellphone pictures of street corners, actually perform better because people are more responsive to simple, familiar imagery. Pictures of rappers from the city elicit effusive praise from followers.
“ ‘Game of Thrones’ is a great show,” Ake says, “but a huge part of ‘Game of Thrones’ is talking about it, gathering by the TV every Sunday night and live-tweeting together. So nurturing that community for discussion and exploration of the world is just as important as creating the world itself. ”