With all of the public attention on Twitter these days, I suppose I should not be surprised to see so much talk about celebrities and Twitter. Who’s on Twitter, which celebrities follow each other, and who has someone else tweet for them. In other words, it’s the typical celebrity talk just moved to the Twitter arena.
Celebrities On Twitter
If you are reading this because you think I’m about to divulge a list of celebrities on Twitter, or share links to gossip about Jennifer Aniston’s and John Mayer’s breakup over Twitter, you might as well stop reading here. I’m not a celebrity gossip sort of person, or as I like to say it, I don’t worship at the House of Celebrity. Sure, there are a few famous people who intrigue me, but not enough to sludge my way through the celebrity press lavaflow. Besides, the ones I tend to like make it easy to find them as people, like Jeff Bridges who has an unassuming website where he talks about his films, his photography, and his music. That’s my kind of person, famous or not.
There is no doubt that the celebrities are rushing to Twitter, and like everything else they do, the media is reporting it to us. Nearly every day in the last couple weeks, I’ve seen someone I follow send out a tweet about a new celeb they have found online. I skimmed an article tonight about how sports stars are using Twitter to engage their fans.
Getting Close To Celebrity
When I observe these things as a social scientist, I see people who have a message and understand the new medium for communication. More than websites and blogs, I see Twitter as the social media tool that can really get the public close to a celebrity for several reasons.
- The threshold for entry is low. With websites and even blogs, there may be a whole team of people behind the technology and visual branding and even the language requirements. Let’s face it, we don’t want to discover through a blog post that our favorite singer can’t put together a whole sentence, much less an entire paragraph. They put their best feet forward, so that means other people, part of their celebrity machine, come between the celebrity and the public.
- There is a waiting audience. I’m sure there are some people who are sitting on the Twitter fence who will jump because they hear a specific celebrity is now on Twitter. But those aside, there is a huge crowd of people already on Twitter who are eager to follow celebrity tweets. The access to fans is easy, so the celebrities are motivated to show up as well.
- The celebrities are safe. I can’t imagine being so famous that I can’t visit my favorite Target or do the grocery shopping (things I love) without a body guard or being assaulted by a mob of fans. With Twitter, the celebrities can talk freely, knowing that fans are listening, without needing an exit plan or body guards. That must be freeing.
Celebrity Twitter Categories
With the rise of Twitter use, and I assume all of social media, there is a new job task for the celebrity management teams: social media consultant. I think there are a lot of geeky people being employed to provide the nuts and bolts knowledge of how to use these tools, along with some smart business strategists who advise them on which platforms provide the best access to each target demographic. That’s good news for people who want jobs in social media.
But like everything else related to celebrity and the press, each management team will handle social media according to their brand demands and their own abilities. In general, I see the following types of celebrity Twitter categories.
- The Tom Hanks. The celebrity who has a strong sense of self, who isn’t getting daily infusions of their own press, will take to Twitter in an honest way. They will use their iPhone or other mobile internet device to tweet their thoughts spontaneously. You will get a real sense of who these celebrities are as people.
- The Ashley Simpson. The celebrity who is so obsessed with having a perfect public face that they lipsynch their performances. In other words, they hire a ghost tweeter, someone in their press machine who understands their brand and can put the right spin on every tweet.
- The John Mayer. The celebrity who wants to forget they are a celebrity and tries to be a regular person within a celebrity machine. These celebrities will make friends with regular, non-celebrity people they run across on Twitter, and be so engaged by the real conversations at their fingertips that they hide from their own machine and their celebrity friends. In other words, Twitter becomes a real life escape hatch for these unwilling celebs.
- The Britney Spears. The celebrity that is so busy being their brand that they don’t know what their celebrity machine is doing. This celebrity doesn’t have a clue what Twitter is or how it works other than someone in their machine says they are on it and how sweet it is (or whatever the cool kids are calling it these days). In other words, party on!
- The Penelope Cruz. The celebrity that is so unsure of who they are as a person that they need constant support and guidance, even on Twitter use. These celebrities want to use Twitter, and want to be honest and real and transparent, but they don’t know themselves, and wonder who is underneath the celebrity machine. In other words, they can’t find their own voice, so they can’t engage fans on Twitter.
- The Paris Hilton. The celebrity who is famous only for being famous. In other words, the fake celebrity. These Twitter accounts are run by real people pretending to be a celebrity until they get busted. They may be more interesting and more engaging than the real celebrity, they just aren’t who they claim to be.
My apologies to each of these celebrities for using their public personas to make a humorus point here. I have no idea what any of these people are really like. I’ve simply borrowed their brands for this post.
So, what do you think? Do you follow any real (or faked) celebrities? Do they fit into one of my categories? I’d love to hear your response.