Celebrities, Twitter and Free PR

This guest post is contributed by Barbara Williams, who writes on Becoming a Computer Technician. If you like her work, have comments or want to hire her, email her at: barbara.williams07@gmail.com

You have to hand it to the Internet – it has singlehandedly destroyed (or is in the process of destroying) all forms of paper-based communication, the kind we refer to now as snail mail. And now, Twitter seems to have taken the place of fan mail, what with many celebrities taking to tweeting to boost not just their online profile, but also to gain some free publicity as well.

Ashton Kutcher, John Mayer (he of the Jennifer Aniston tell-all fame), Kirstie Alley, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Tyra Banks, Cameron Diaz, Kelly Osbourne, and many others have taken to Twitter like a duck to water, and now they have hundreds of thousands of followers. But if you’re hoping for a personal tweet from them, then you may just have to depend a great deal on luck because with all the followers they have, celebs just don’t have the time or the motivation to reply to every tweet they receive. In short, to them, it’s similar to fan mail which they do acknowledge subtly, but which often gets a standardized reply.

The question most people are asking however is this – although there are many celebs on Twitter, how many of them send out tweets on their own? Or do they have assistants to take care of their tweeting needs? If I had to take a wild guess, I would say that 90 percent of celebrities use Twitter as a PR tool rather than as a social network which connects them to the masses. They promote themselves and their movies, and in a new and unprecedented move, they’re sensationalizing their own lives. We can now read the kind of news we earlier used to find in gossip rags and tabloids, direct from the Twitter feeds of celebrities who are apparently ready to kiss and tell.

Image courtesy Lance Strate's Blog Time Passing, click on the image to see source.

This is similar to celebrities selling the exclusive rights to their wedding and baby pictures to tabloids rather than be confronted with grainy shots taken by hidden cameras. Their new policy seems to be – if anyone is going to gain anything by exploiting me, it might as well be me. So we now have Twitter adding to the popularity (or notoriety, depending on how you look at it) of the stars, and making them seem like “one of us”. It’s basically a form of publicity for them, one that they can adopt without resorting to stunts or gaining negative reviews and criticism. And the best part is that it can be outsourced to their PR people, and no one is ever going to know the difference – the cloak of anonymity that the web provides is just what our celebs need to hide under even as they supposedly tweet about private lives.


  1. Do you really think it’s the celeb himself?
    Well for business use Twitter is getting more and more intresting… but for the celebis?
    There is a young marketing guy sitting behind his laptop in a small office somewhere in the middle of nowhere tipping some stuff that he got from the Managment of the celeb.

  2. I agree that the only interesting aspects of twitter tend to be the media industry, Personally i am not interested in folliwing standard accounts but it a great way to keep uotp date with your favourite tv shows and personality’s.
    As you said i do wonder if some of the “celebs” on twitter have ghost writers.

  3. Barbara, you’ve absolutely hit the nail on the head as to why celebrities are killing twitter.

    Using it as a broadcast medium rather than an interactive medium, means that many others who want to promote their business online look at what these celebs are doing, and copy, thus killing off the “social” side of social media.

    Have a look at someone like Alyssa Milano as a sensational example of a celeb doing twitter right.

  4. This is a really interesting perspective. So just as the newspapers have lost out to online news sources, we should expect the celeb gossip magazines to disappear under the waves of self-promoting and self-revealing celebrity twitterers. Finally the internet brings me something to look forward to!

  5. Great article. I agree that celebrities are mostly exploiting twitter and the fact that most of them use “go-betweens” makes it pretty much fake IMO. I understand that they dont really have the time for actual personal involvement but then they shouldn’t go boast about how cool they are for being on twitter. Because technically they are not on twitter – their assistant is. Yet that rarely gets mentioned, does it?

    When I was still using Twitter (gave it up half a year ago) I did encounter some pretty much genuine “tweelebs” like Hammer or Alyssa Milano. So my hats off to them.

    p.s.: That image cracked me up! lol

  6. Actually it is just not the case of celebrities only, I find Twitter has become a mass junkyard only without automated bot spamming around. Only 3-10% are user who do actually socialize, all the other go there for PR or promotion :(
    .-= seo magazine´s last blog ..The Best Google Buzz WordPress Plugins =-.

  7. Yep..Agree that most of the celebrities especially in Hollywood are using twitter to promote their movies.

    Yet other celebrities also exist who use twitter because they genuinely enjoy it !

    Nice and an interesting post

  8. Barbara, you really written well. Celebrities are using Twitter as their promotional tool. They are followed by a lot of people who never hesitate to retweet their posts.

  9. I agree with all of you. But it’s not only true for Twitter. Take Facebook for instance. All social media has become a free and overused marketing device.

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