Twitter celebrates its third birthday this week, just as the microblogging service hits the tipping point. Facebook copies it. CNN cites it. And, most importantly, people are signing up en masse.
Celebrities are to thank for mainstream adoption of the service. Barack Obama, Ashton Kutcher and Britney Spears were among the early adopters of the site, and thousands of musicians, actors and politicians now tweet out to hundreds of thousands of followers.
The site has forever changed the relationship between celebrity and fan — Twitter is the progression from US Weekly’s famed “Stars: They’re Just Like Us” feature. Except now they aren’t just “like” us … they are us. Celebs tweet about the most mundane of activities complete with typos and slang, and they converse back and forth with their fans. The wall of separation is gone.
The problem is that with this kind of transparency, “celebrity” just doesn’t … work … anymore. A few months ago, fans pictured Ashton Kutcher living an amazing life full of swank parties, sex with Demi Moore and incredible, hilarious adventures. Now 470,000 followers read his dozens of tweets every day and see him for what he is — a relatively inarticulate, friendly, rambling, lonely guy who lives a kind of lame life.
But fear not! Twitter doesn’t necessarily have to kill the celebrity! If celeb tweeters follow these Three Commandments, the world will remain in order—celebrities will be celebrities, fans will be fans and fame will still be the ultimate American ideal! At the very least, these rules make celebrity Twitters actually interesting to read.
1. get your freak on
The best, funniest Twitters are the weirdest. It’s just a fact. There is nothing worse than a bland celebrity. If you’re going to tweet about your groceries and visiting the in-laws, just don’t bother.
On Monday, Courtney Love posted 130 tweets in the tone/style of: “ive seenwinona Ryders TITS in a dressing room shoplifting a chinese skirt , ( she was) i almost went gay.ive SEEN A LOT.” Perfect execution.
Diddy tweeted his followers through a unique experience: “How do I send yall pics? Lol. For all those just tuning in. I’m 6 and a half hrs in on a 36-hour tantric sex session. Welcome.”
It’s possible to be weird without being outlandish. Mika has an excellently weird Twitter: “why do i fancy roast chicken for breakfast, also craving a pint of guinness… JET LAG! is this what its like to be pregnant? prob not…”
Besides being fun and ridiculous to read, weird tweets represent the best feature of the Twitter platform for celebrities: It gives fans an uncensored, accessible, personable look at their idols without the filter of a PR agent or Ryan Seacrest asking dumb questions on a red carpet.
2. Play up the celeb factor.
There are other ways to combat the Ashton Kutcher Effect — if celebs aren’t going to be weird, they can at least stay glamorous. Celeb tweeting is more fun when you think you’re getting insight into someone who has a really, really awesome life.
Some celebrities do this really well. Taylor Swift might be the best example. Her proficiency in tweeting is unsurprising — no performer has utilized social networking sites better than Taylor. She’s managed to stay relatable and accessible, while also maintaining the sense that She Is Cooler Than You. She tweets about spontaneous trips to Vegas, days on the beach in Sydney and late night moments of inspiration where she suddenly writes a “chorus you’ll hear on the next album.”
Director Jon Favreau posted the first set photo from “Iron Man 2” on his Twitter. John Mayer posted the name of his first single from his new album. Jimmy Fallon updates what to expect each night on the Late Show as it’s taped. The possibilities are endless and suggest a great direction for the celebrity news industry — who needs the middleman (Perez, TMZ, People) when the stars can tell us about it themselves?
3. Take It Easy
It’s easy to get carried away on Twitter. Celebrities who have been held back and micro-managed for years suddenly have unfiltered access to fans.
But there’s nothing lamer than a Twitter addict celebrity. Not to pile it on, but: between the two of them, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore tweeted over 800 times this February. And they had surpassed that output halfway through March.
And it’s not just lame in the eyes of fans — it’s lame in real life. Jennifer Aniston dumped John Mayer after finding out just how often he tweets (11 times a day this March so far), when he claimed not to have enough time to spend with her. And if Jennifer Aniston thinks you’re pathetic, you know you’re in trouble.