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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.