Twitter: celebrity and comedy

I’m a huge fan of Twitter – I find it immensely useful as a work tool and it’s no surprise that so many other journalists do too, as it’s such a good way of connecting to useful people.

I’ve been meaning for a couple of weeks to post about the celebrity invasion of Twitter, but Sally Whittle pipped me to it while I was bogged down with a heavy workload. I pretty much agree with Sally. I’m slightly unnerved by the outbreak of Twitter groupie-ism toward celebrities as they’ve followed the example of Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross and begun tweeting. People I’d normally consider sane and sensible on Twitter have not been immune to this outbreak of slavering over any D-lister who’s suddenly decided to get in on the act. I do follow Fry and Ross myself, but I’ve been following them since they joined as I’m a genuine fan of both. And also Andy Murray, who never, ever replies to his followers but does give interesting insights into the life of a tennis pro.

When celebrities started overrunning the Twitterverse, I was intrigued enough to follow Philip Schofield for a couple of days but my feed was clogged with dull tweets from him, proving that most celebrities have nothing of interest to impart to the masses. They should stick to their day jobs. Worryingly, Twitterfeeds have sprung up to verify how genuine the celebrity tweeters are (because, unsurprisingly, there has been a rash of fakes). Valebrity is one such. There are hundreds of celebrities on Twitter now, at once reflecting our society’s obsession with the famous and the famous-for-being-famous. I’m ignoring them all, apart from the three I’ve always followed.

But it seems as though all these celebrities invading Twitter may have a purpose after all!

Journalist Linda Jones (on Twitter as @Joner) is planning to publish a Twitter book of comic short stories to raise cash for the very worthy cause of Comic Relief. Read her blog for details of her plans for this amazing Twitter project. And get involved. I’ve already committed to donating my time and copy-editing skills to help raise money for deprived children in the UK and Africa. So if you want to write something funny, get stuck in.

Better still, if you’re one of those following any celebrities on Twitter, please ask them to donate a quote or a quip, or to lend their celebrity in some other useful way for Linda’s project. And retweet any callouts you see from me or Linda or anyone else to keep this project at the forefront of the Twitterverse. Together we CAN make this happen and raise a lot of hard cash for needy and vulnerable kids.

Finally, there IS a reason all those celebrities joined Twitter – it’s to help raise money for Comic Relief.

3 thoughts on “Twitter: celebrity and comedy”

  1. I’ve cut my major sleb followage down to Fry, who is so sweet and interesting, and makes such a genuine effort to interact, that I’d feel like a bastard ignoring him. I’ve toyed with Ross, Schofield et al., but although they come across as decent people they’re a lot less interesting than plenty of unknowns I’d like to follow.

    There are a few other borderline slebs I follow for various reasons: Charlie Brooker because his tweets are funny, and a few others that I actually know through my work.

    Third rung contains folks like Jemima Kiss, Charles Arthur and Bill Thompson who are prominent in media circles. I follow them – and tweet now and then – but although they are major league Twitterers you couldn’t call them proper celebrities (sorry, chaps.)

    I do think it’s interesting that Twitter is becoming so hierarchical. Many people seem to spend all their time twatronising or twellating other users, depending where on the social scale they perceive themselves to be. I can understand the twellatio, too – when you’ve got the opportunity to talk directly to someone who is (gasp!) famous there’s a huge urge to interact. It’s like, ‘NOTICE ME!’ A form of self-validation, I guess. It’ll be interesting to see if social media ultimately chips away at the pedestal we put famous people on.

    Oddly, I do find a very small, but increasing, number of people twellating *me*. That’s something of a surprise, since if you composed a list of everyone in the UK media in order of famousness I’d probably be in the bottom three, just below the work experience kid in the Daily Star mailroom. What I want to do with these twellators is follow them all – i.e., treat them as my equals, show them that Twitter is a community of equals and not a hierarchy. But even with TweetDeck that’s impractical, so I find myself turning into one of the twatronising self-fanciers I affect not to like.

    I wonder if Twitter would be better if users’ follower numbers were not public?

  2. Thanks for your comments, Bill. Definitely more food for thought there. Funnily enough, someone described me earlier today as (something along the lines of) “one of the most important media people in the UK Twitter sphere” which made me burst out laughing as people like Charles Arthur and Jemima Kiss are far more prominent journalists than I’ll probably ever be. Clearly I spend too much time on Twitter though. And if that’s the case, I might as well harness what power I have for the greater good, by urging people to do their bit for Linda Jones’ project to raise hard cash for Red Nose Day.

  3. Hi Louise,
    Thank you for your help in editing this and for blogging about it. I’m delighted to say that submissions are already rolling in, so that’s great news.
    There are things I need specific help with and hope to keep up the tweeting blitz to let people know about what’s happening and crucially, how they can help. The collaboration aspect could be really interesting.
    But I have to tell you Missus that I am a big fan of celebs on Twitter, these people are hugely popular entertainers, I talk about them at work, watch their TV programmes and admire their success in some cases, to follow them on Twitter is an added bonus.

    There are plenty of ‘non’ celebs who spend their time on Twitter laregly for self promotion through publishing links to sometimes pretty stale pieces they have written etc – and they don’t always find time to reply to those who get in touch.

    Why should celebs be any different? The ones I follow are entertainers by trade – why should they be judged any different to any other industry?

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