Strike-Stalled Agents Flip for Facebook: Hey, Let’s ‘Poke’ Nick Counter!

Over in Hollywood, while striking writers and studios remain at loggerheads, the agents, TV agents in particular, have discovered Facebook, the networking Web site, as a new and exciting way to keep the community spirit alive. “Every major studio, basically every major development executive, and I’m talking to the president level, is on Facebook,” said Dan Erlij of UTA. “I just added a president as a ‘friend’ yesterday.”

“I was on the phone today with an executive,” said Amy Retzinger of the Gersh Agency. “I said to her, ‘Hey, have you looked at the material I sent you yet, and she’s like, ‘No but I’ve been playing a lot of Scrabulous!’ And she’s somebody that I didn’t have a particularly good relationship with, so I thought it was very funny that we wound up talking about Facebook for 15 minutes and became friends on Facebook.”

Ms Retzinger said she has consciously not befriended any of her clients on Facebook, but has roughly 30 executive “friends.”

She added that she’s aware that other agents have been using the site to communicate with clients and in some cases search for new ones. “There’s one agent in particular over at Endeavor—Ari Greenberg.” (Not to be confused with the now-legendary Ari Emanuel, also at Endeavor, who is not—yet?—on the site.) “A writer friend of mine who’s not a client of Ari—Ari, like, ‘friended’ him on Facebook and you know how you can say, ‘How do you know this person?’ He wrote, like, ‘We’ll work together soon?’ Which is a little funny and presumptuous.”

Mr. Greenberg had no comment, but another TV writer told the Transom that Mr. Greenberg had in fact created a “friend group” for all his clients.

“You can create individual groups,” Mr. Erlij said enthusiastically. “You can ‘post’ on people’s ‘walls,’ you can post on your own wall. If I wanted to do something that I just wanted people to see, I could post it on my wall.” Though, he admitted, “quite frankly if it’s something that’s that significant, that’s not the way I’m going to communicate to clients.”

Mr. Erlij insisted his interest was more professional than recreational. “For me it’s much more about keeping in touch with clients and keeping in touch with executives,” he said. “It’s amazing how many people you can continue to locate and talk to. It’s kind of interesting, during the strike right now people are really hungry for information, and to have a network, a group of people that you can respond to in a very quick organic way—it’s another tool.”

But of course Facebook is also, you know, fun.

“There’s all sorts of immature behavior,” Mr. Erlij said. “People are sending each other ‘vampire hugs’ or ‘zombie hugs,’ there’s dominos—I’m not going to sit here and say it’s purely a business tool. There is a positive business aspect to it but there’s also part of it that’s just social networking too.”

“I’m not a fan of the ‘poke,”’ remarked Ms. Retzinger, referring to the Facebook term for expressing interest in a potential acquaintance without committing to further contact. “It seems unseemly.” Strike-Stalled Agents Flip for Facebook: Hey, Let’s ‘Poke’ Nick Counter!