It looks like big-name real-world celebrities are getting into the Twittering business. In addition to the presidential candidates, lately I’ve seen Al Gore, Lance Armstrong, Britney Spears, and many more.
Whenever one of these new Twitter celebs crosses your path, I don’t think you should necessarily accept it at face value. Ask yourself: What is really going on here? What kind of twitterer is this?
- An Imposter: A fan (or maybe an enemy) Twitter-squatter who has claimed the celebrity’s identity and has not yet been shut down or replaced by the real celeb.
- An Agent: A public relations agency has been hired by the celebrity to use Twitter to publicize their activities. The celeb has little to no knowledge whatsoever about what the hell is going on in their name on Twitter, or for that matter even have a foggy idea of what Twitter is. I suspect a large number of celebrity twitterers are of this type, and of course their fans either fall for the ruse or don’t care (in the age of professional wrestling “sports entertainment”, is there any difference?)
- An Assistant: The celebrity has an aide, perhaps their secretary or personal assistant, who writes the tweets for the celeb. When I first started using Twitter I imagined a corporate CEO fatcat barking orders to their beleaguered secretary — in the same voice they would have used in the 1950’s to say “Judy! Take a memo!” to get their secretary to grab a pen and paper and ready themselves for dictation — shouting “Take a tweet!”
- The Real Deal: The celebrity who writes themselves, with their own bare hands, using a real computer or mobile phone to tell their fans and followers what they are really doing.
I also wonder about the emergence of another, parallel phenomenon: the dual-identity Twitter celeb. This is where a celebrity holds two Twitter accounts. One serves as a public-relations communication channel for the celebrity’s “brand”, letting the celebrity reach out to thousands of followers just as a business would. The other account, though, is a personal account and is kept secret. It may even have an false name, a nom-de-tweet. This account is used for the same thing Twitter is used for by most other people — as a way to keep informally in touch with their real friends and loved ones.