Why are some celebrities so bad at Twitter?

26 03 2013

A friend of mine asked this question on Twitter and I know others wonder about this too.

So, here’s a bunch of thoughts I have on the subject, for both celebrity and follower.

I’m a veteran, internet user, I started using it in the 90s, and I’ve seen a lot of changes.

One of the things I remember most is how old media (Radio/TV/Newspapers) made it seem as though the only people who ever used the internet were geeks or paedophiles.

While much has changed, their opinion of us hasn’t changed all that much, despite them also having webpages now. 😉

Old media have brainwashed a whole generation of potential internet users into thinking “the internet is bad” while Newspapers and Television “are reliable” which as many of you realise by now is utter bullshit, Phone Hacking anyone?

Celebrities are forced online by their record company but then feel a bit creepy about having to interact with “creepy people”, Thanks for nothing, Rupert.

Some celebs think they haven’t got time for social media, but it really doesn’t take that long to do, Just knock out a few tweets while waiting at the dentist, even if it’s only “Waiting at the dentist sucks”, Consider it therapy.

What happens though if you’re absolutely awesome and have 100,000 followers?

This is easy, Think of Twitter as your radio station, and think about how many people are listeners, and out of all those people, think about how many would phone in to say hello, not many will, most are just there to be entertained by your soothing voice, your jokes and your music, and that’s fine.

Out of all those who tweet many will be the complimentary or complaining types, They’ll tell you they love you very much and want to have your babies, and that’s lovely, send a friendly hello to them occasionally.

The rest will ask interesting questions or even try to entertain you, follow these, these will be your regulars, I have regulars, regulars are cool, and it’s these people who will also prove most helpful to you.

Never, Never ask to be followed, This is massively important and applies to everybody equally. Whether you’re followed or not doesn’t matter a jot, it’s like a score in a computer game, a bunch of numbers, it’s nothing.

There are celebs who won’t follow you but who will still happily reply, They may not invite you to big parties but will “stick their head over your garden fence” and start a nice conversation about cucumbers, what’s wrong with that?

Bare in mind that you may not like some Writers, Actors or Musicians for their art, but they may be awesome on Twitter, it happens.

There are some celebs who are great at their art, but for some reason cannot get the hang of social networks, and simply feel awkward and uncomfortable. They sort of want to be involved but feel a bit of a failure online. This could be due to feeling introverted or just not all that good with technology.

I do understand the bit about being introverted. I was a DJ who loved his work, but would come home and relax with my Parents and my Dog, it was enough.

I’m not too bothered by the technology bit, but when I started I needed a lot of help, and sometimes still need it.  There’s a perception among people who don’t use computers that people who do use computers know everything there is to know about them, the truth is we don’t, and often when we’re stuck, we use Google to find a solution.

I have been helping people with computers and the internet for some time, Including helping people understand the virtual world of “Second Life” on ABC Island,where I was a kind of moderator, and getting people settled in on other types of social media, like Twitter.

If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to drop me a line, and please, if you are having social media problems, contact me and we’ll sort it out.

Wolfie!

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The Brick Wall

21 10 2010

Since being involved in social media, my perceptions have changed in many ways, and one of those things is my views on what makes a celebrity.

There was once a time when I couldn’t wait to see a movie, or to watch it at home on video or TV, I liked the people I saw on the screen, but they could never love or even simply, like, me back.

For much of my life I’ve felt like there’s this brick wall, and what I want is on the other side. Though surely we’ve all felt like that at some stage, the grass is always greener they say.

Sometimes the way I see it is that people who are in media are on that side of the wall and I’m on this side.

I find it very strange that there are people who I’ve “known” via what they do on TV or Movies for years, even decades, and yet they don’t know me from a bar of soap. a lot of people are comfortable with that idea… but I’m just a little uneasy about it.

There have been moments when I’ve been online where I felt as though I had managed to put a few small holes in that wall and manage to tell someone on the other side that I am here.

I find that these days, I don’t care about someones show unless I have had some sort of contact with them online.

Actual conversation, that’s what I’m after, it means more to me if someone has sent me a few tweets to ask how Katie is today or if I’m feeling well, or to ask my opinion, or if I could help with something as opposed to “My big new show is on Ten in five minutes”.

I have always felt that I was on the wrong side of things, a frustrated audience member, I want to be up there with those other people, I want to produce something that makes people think or wonder or just laugh for a while.

You know, for a while when I was on radio, I got very upset with myself. “What use am I?” I asked myself. I wasn’t a doctor, who does serious work like heal the sick and injured, I was just a dag who turns up to a radio studio twice a week and says silly things between records.

Well, years later, I found myself in hospital, looking at stark walls, feeling worried, not feeling well enough to do anything, or even read. The constantly beeping drips really get to you after a while, and you hear the nurses talking about patients in the other ward who died during the night, I found the whole experience pretty tough going.

Then one day my wonderful Mum bought in my old Walkman, and I managed to find one station which wasn’t blotted out by all the radio interference that a big emergency hospital generates.

I still remember the first thing I heard was Duran Duran, it was bliss.

For a while I could escape.

And then I realised that to some people, hearing a friendly voice can be vital, working in radio was definitely not a useless occupation afterall, in fact doing any sort of work that makes people smile, be it radio, TV, theatre, film, writing or anything else, is definitely well worth the effort.

But I’m getting off track a bit.

If I can feel included in some way, if I feel I’m not just listener 20,345, if the person speaking into that mic knows I’m there, then it means a lot.

OK. so if you’re someone like Justin Bieber for example, you may really want to reach out to your fans on a personal level, but with thousands of keen followers, is it even possible to form a friendly relationship with any of them?

I do follow a few people who I adored as a teenager, and have tried numerous times to get a little conversation up, but have failed.

Earlier in the week @ThomasDolby followed me, he asked me a question, I answered… I was overjoyed, could it be that he and I could have a nice conversation, I would love that. I thanked him for following me, but warned that I’m a bit chatty, anyone who follows me on twitter knows that I practically write a small novel each day in tweets.

He unfollowed me.

I felt “jilted”, like the guy who was dropped by his favourite girl via SMS.

So I took my frustration out in a torrent of humourous tweets…

I thought I’d do a Vicar of Dibley and scoff all the crunchy bars in the house.
(I do store a lot of chocolate here, so if you should ever feel emotional, drive over, I have lots to share)

Well I didn’t do that, but I did down two bags of crisps instead, besides, chocolate is bad for my kind.

I thought that perhaps I had whacked a bloody huge hole out of the wall that day, only to watch aghast as it sealed itself up again in front of me again.

People do chat back to me, that’s wonderful, I appreciate it so much. If all you do is tell your followers when your concert is on, or when your book comes out, then people begin to care less about you and even wonder if you’re really you.

I follow @petshopboys, but their tweets are pretty useless, sometimes they tour and take happy snaps, but they come across as though tweeting is a business they’d rather not do, and they don’t seem particularly interested in the possibility that anyone might be reading… I find that I don’t feel any warmth towards them much anymore.

Though @StephenFry and @MrsStephenFry are really funny, and I suspect that Stephen Fry is a gent who would probably want to have a conversation with us if he didn’t have twenty million followers.

The ideal twitter celebrity is someone who will tweet back to you, has an air of kindness about them, has a few jokes with you, tweet about personal things and the things they’re working on, adds the odd passing thought, likes to stand up for the occasional issue, asks their twitter friends for technical or even personal help, and remembers to say thank you now and then… I’m happy to support this person.

I thought of Ringo Starr, do I even need to say he was with The Beatles?
Anyway, he believed in answering every letter from his fans, most just wanted his autograph, He had a damn good crack at it, he was at it for years. it wasn’t long ago that he finally told his fans he just couldn’t do it any longer, I wonder if he’s moved onto Twitter?

I have been labeled a celebrity myself by some, and I wore that label partially with tongue firmly in cheek, and partially because a part of me desires to be on that other side of the fence.

I’m forty-five this November, and am hoping to have completely smashed that wall by the time I’m 70, Perhaps that’s when Thomas Dolby will ask me if I’m free for coffee today.

And yes, should I make it to the other side, I will do my darnedest to keep in touch with you.

Wolfie!