Ryan Gosling: ‘Social Media Removes the Fear of Public Speaking, but Not the Consequences’

Celebrities are admired and mocked, exalted and raked over the coals—often relentlessly, and sometimes all in a single day.

While they are not often experts on much outside their field, the constant scrutiny celebrities are under gives them certain insight that regular citizens cannot experience. Take, for example, social media. Imagine having millions of followers instead of mere hundreds, and having them watch your every word? That’s a lot of pressure—especially on the internet, where once something is placed, it can never completely be removed.

When Ryan Gosling took the stage at the Adobe Marketing Summit in Las Vegas—a last-minute replacement of another A-list celebrity—the primary reason was obvious: star power. (Last year it was George Clooney.) These names ensure big crowds at keynotes. We rarely expect much beyond a surface-skimming of general knowledge from them.

Thus the depth from Gosling was a pleasant surprise. The suave Hollywood gentleman overcame a consistently abysmal interviewer in Adobe chief marketing officer Ann Lewnes to deliver some powerful lines on social media, risks, and passion—thoroughly delighting the thousands-strong crowd.

Here are two interesting insights from Gosling on social media specifically.

On fear and consequence

One of Gosling’s more profound soundbites from his time on stage was this: “Social media takes the fear out of public speaking, but not the consequences.”

As a celebrity, this is especially true, but it applies to everyone. It’s very easy to send a tweet that can land you in hot water, right? Now imagine standing on stage in front of a crowd of all your followers, plus a bunch of other strangers who represent all the non-followers that might chance upon your content. In that scenario, would you say the same thing in the same way?

Probably not.

Bambi on ice

When pressed on social media—Gosling has more than two million followers on Twitter and confirmed he does manage his own account—the actor suggested that it’s a concept still going through its “Bambi on ice” phase. The Disney reference is simple but accurate; social media remains young and reckless, dazed and confused, struggling still to find its legs and figure out how to march forward consistently, gracefully, and with purpose.

We’ll get there, says Gosling—social media’s full potential has “yet to be tapped,” he believes—but asking when is a futile question because, well, nobody knows.

Turns out there is plenty of valuable knowledge to gleam from celebrities after all.

Social Media Use Increased 21% in 2016