Yesterday morning when I checked my email, I was inundated with news about rapper/producer Kanye West joining Twitter and performing an impromptu “concert” for Facebook staffers. I really didn’t think this was news per-se; celebrities have been on Twitter since its beginning and Facebook has seen it’s share of stars come through their doors (such as Ashton Kutcher, etc.). Why was this news? Then people began to tweet and discuss Kanye’s Twitter follower numbers at length (which were at 50,000 in just three hours after he had joined—he’s now at over 200,000— and he follows no one womp womp) and a recording of his freestyle appearance at Facebook surfaced on YouTube. It got me to thinking: are celebrities taking over social networks? And secondly, are they ruining our social networking experience?
I really began to question this a few weeks ago when LeBron James joined Twitter, and held everyone captive for three days while he made his big announcement about leaving the Cavaliers to go play with the Miami Heat. People thought that LeBron was going to make his announcement on his Twitter page, so there was a rush of people following him so they could be the “first” to learn about where he was going to go team-wise. My Twitter and Facebook stream seemed to all be discussing LeBron and the “decision” at length, so much so that I didn’t even want to log on. Is this LeBron’s fault?—of course not. But doesn’t the experience of getting to know people through social networking singed when the discussion begins to turn to celebs and celebs only?
All of this is just food for thought, mind you, but I could care less what LeBron or Kanye tweets about. I love what they do on the court and in the recording studio, but they don’t give a damn about me or my tweets (because they do not tweet or follow us “regular” folk), so why should I bother? I don’t follow many celebs, and the ones I do (i.e. Holly Robinson Peete, Tionna Smalls, Reagan Gomez-Preston, Wil Wheaton, etc.) tweet back and regularly engage with their followers.
LeBron and Kanye aren’t on Twitter to engage. They are on there to shamelessly plug and create publicity for their brands. New album coming out? Get on Twitter. Need to create a stir about your next move? Use social media of course and let it work it’s magic!
And let’s not talk about the psuedo celebrities (Kat Stacks, Natalie Nunn, et al) who are so desperate to be somebody, that tweeting gives them celebrity status even though they ain’t famous in the real world. And what about the stars who tweet some random stuff that can be considered offensive (see Chris Brown or Asher Roth) just to delete it like it didn’t exist? Of course there are screen caps of the tweet, so the covering up of some things are non-existent.
I enjoy Twitter because of the engaging conversations I have with folk. I do not want to send a tweet to a celebrity unless I know they are known to engage back and reciprocate. If I want to read about their lives, I will go to the gossip blogs. And I find that most celebs are boring Tweeters.
Maybe that is why Kanye is already at the number of followers he has—because we are all waiting for him to have another MTV Awards moment. Maybe he should tweet while drinking some Hennessy.
What do you think of celebrities and their usage of social networks? Is it overkill? Or do you feel like they enhance your social networking experience? Feedback please.
Photo and video from Sandra Rose Blog