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March 20, 2009

When It Comes to Twitter & Celebrities Its Not About Conversation

By Li Evans

Hollywood-stars-and-wannabes I'm going to indulge in a little guilty pleasure this Friday. I decided to start poking around a few Celebrity Twitter Accounts to see how some of these "stars" are using Twitter.  There's a wide variety of ways it's being used, but for the most part when it comes to Celebrity Twitter accounts, its definitely not about conversations with their communities or fan bases.

Perhaps its just the way celebrities are, that whole "look at me" factor that 95% of them are in the entertainment industry for.  It goes with the territory I suppose, we the adoring fan base waiting on bended ear to hear something great fall from their lips, or in this case, tweet from their fingertips.  Its all apart of the voyeurism of celebrities, if we didn't like to watch these celebrity train wrecks there wouldn't be a TMZ, Perez Hilton of US Magazine.

For the most part a lot of the Celebrity Twitter Accounts I'm going to list are basically just Public Relations or "Handler" controlled accounts (especially in the Music Industry) that are used a just another vehicle to get the word out about new albums, tour dates, ringtones, guest star appearances or pushes to vote for songs.  For other celebrities its about pushing their shows, videos, and guest appearances.  There's a definite difference in how engage some of these celebrities are.

There's also a difference when it comes to how "popular" the celebrity is, and their use of Twitter.  But in rare cases, like that of Jane Fonda, they understand Twitter and actually use some of the technology that's sprung up around it.  Jane uses hash tags to relate her tweets to things going on in the twitterverse, and although she really doesn't hold conversations, you don't get that "fake" PR Handler feel from her account like you would from say country music star's Faith Hill's twitter account.

The less well known or almost forgotten celebrities are the ones that really seem to be the real people tweeting behind their accounts.  I'll take two examples from the Country Music Industry, first lets look at Jake Owen.  Jake's not a huge name (at least not yet) in country music, not like say George Strait or Faith Hill.  But Jake is an up and coming country crooner who can make the ladies weak in the knees.  Jake's on Twitter, Jake's REALLY there, I mean a PR Handler would freak if one of their stars started yammering about being addicted to Goldfish like Jake tweets from Twitterfon.


Now look at the second example, of both Faith Hill & LeeAnn Womack.  First lets look at Faith.  Someone who handles her PR is actually going to the Twitter web page for her account and entering in her tweets.  All the tweets though are pimping something: ringtones, appearances in People Magazine and the release of her album.  There's no conversation, and the account doesn't follow anyone.  Simply just another broadcast medium.


For LeeAnn Womack, the PR handlers aren't even going to the webpage on Twitter.  They just hooked up Twitterfeed to pimp her Press Releases.  LeeAnn's account does follow people, but they are other Country Music Celebrities under the same label and all of those accounts are set up the same way. 


So if you have high hopes of having conversations with your favorite celebrities on Twitter, you might want to rethink that dream.  Unless they are the "B" List actors and actresses or those 80's flashbacks that still love the adoration, you are pretty much out of luck of scoring that lunch date with a celeb via Twitter. 

Now onto the the lists you all really want:

Sci Fi Celebrities:

Most of these celebrities are from Star Trek (must be a "techie/nerd/geek" thing?) TNG.  I'm a huge TNG fan, so thus my own interest in this list. Most of them talk amongst themeselves, there's not conversation going on with their followers, but if you want to keep up with them, they are tweeting about what they are doing.

  • Levar Burton:  Geordie LaForge from Star Trek TNG - His avator shows off his tattoo, gone is the Fram Oil Filter that covered his eyes on TNG.
  • Wil Wheaton:  Will Crusher from Star Trek TNG - Wil's all grown up and the guy really tweets (he's got a blog too).
  • William Shatner:  Capt. Kirk, Priceline.com Pitchman & Denny Crane!  If you are expecting him to pull up in a van and demand you add him as someone you follow on Twitter, you might be disappointed.  Seems Shatner is only interested in pimping his own stuff.
  • Brent Spiner:  Data from Star Trek TNG - Lately he's been tweeting about basketball from what I can tell but w/ only 140 characters her could be asking about his picks for something else (looked like NCAA picks, but I could be wrong), not warp core engines or answering to Patrick Stewart.
  • Amber Benson:  Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer - She's on her own, acting and directing and it's really her tweeting.

Flash Back Celebrities:

These folks were at the top of the charts, TV, Music or Movies waaaay back when.  Now they are on twitter and all of them are holding conversations.  Amazing how fleeting fame can be, right?

  • Debbie Gibson:  Late 80's early 90's Pop Star, the first iteration of Britney Spears
  • MC Hammer: Don't Touch This, Where would we be without those "Hammer Pants"?
  • Fran Drescher:  The Nanny's laugh could really double as a car alarm back in the early 90's.
  • Justine Bateman:  Malerie Keaton, little sister to Alex P. Keaton.  In real life she's big sis to Jason Bateman who just starred in Hitchcock.
  • Soliel Moon Frye:  Who didn't love Punky Bruster?  She's all grown up w/ kids of her own now and Tweeting about it.

The Over 50 Crowd:

When it comes to this group the women are the savviest and seem the most real.  The likelihood of them following you back though is next to none.  But check out Jane and Martha, their tweets are more than just PR Press Releases.

  • Jane Fonda:  From her Monster-In-Law "comeback" to her new Broadway Play, Jane's really tweeting and even using hash(#) tags.  She's one lady who's hip to the Twitter lingo!
  • Martha Stewart:  Martha seems to just tweet about anything.  From her dinners to her shows, this really doesn't feel like a PR handler out there tweeting away.
  • Al Gore:  Hard to tell what's going on here, Al mostly posts from the web links to his articles.  Kind of disappointing for a guy who seems hip on technology.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger:  From Terminator to Govenator to Twitternator?  Not really, Arnold's twitter stream has no conversation going on, but good if you want to keep up on California politics.
  • Bob Vila:  Bob's account is basically "This Old House" on twitter.  Pimps videos on "how to" in building and restoration.
  • John Cleese:  Anyone who loves Monty Python surely will want to follow John.  He doesn't tweet much but when he does, its usually funny and its undeniably him.
  • Karl Rove:  Probably the most hated political pundit in Hollywood!  But Karl, just like Jane is a savvy Twitter user.  Links, hash tags and information - not a lot of conversation though.

Comedians Tweet Laughs:

Up for some laughs?  Need a giggle in your day?  You might want to add some of these guys to your twitter stream.  It's highly unlikely they will follow you back, but if a great chuckle every now and then is what you need, its worth the follow.

  • Russel Brand:  The "Forgetting Sara Marshall" & "Bedtime Stories" star has a new book out too, but his twitter stream will definitely put some light hearted moments in your day.  Careful though his comedy can be a bit crude.
  • Dane Cook:  This stand up comedian is in a race with P. Diddy for followers.  He does seem to tweet back to some followers and it is him out there tweeting (much like Diddy).
  • Jamie Kennedy:  Fellow Philly guy and stand up comedian best known for the Jamie Kennedy Experiment.  Doesn't tweet that much and it's mostly about where he'll be.
  • Jimmy Fallon: The former SNL Newsman now has his own late night talk show. He uses Tweetie to update and seems like its real enough.  He sometimes even tweets back to people who "at" him.

Tweeting Sports Guys:

It's hit and miss with these guys.  Some times they tweet, sometimes they don't.  They really don't hold too much conversation out there, save for Shaq.  Shaq wants to know about the best dunk ever.

  • Lance Armstrong:  He's not tweeting about Sheryl Crowe or his new girlfriend, nor the yellow bracelets, its all about the bike racing on his twitter stream.
  • Eli Manning:  The New York Giants Quarterback and 2007-2008 Superboowl Champ just doesn't seem to care that much about twitter.
  • Michael Phelps:  The guy likes to swim, or so his bio proclaims.  Who would have thought that?
  • Robby Gordon:  Best known for his fights, fueds and crashes on the NASCAR circuit than his wins, it looks more like a place for fans to get updates on where he'll be and who talks about him.
  • Shaquille O'Neal:  Everyone's talking about Shaq and twitter, even ESPN.  Seems Shaq is a fan of this medium, and he really wants to know about the best dunk ever.
  • Shaun White:  The Flying Tomato who once wanted to hook up with olympic skater Sasha Cohen, is tweeting about where he'll be, and where he's at on Twitter.  Just don't hold your breath for him to tweet you back, he's a sporadic tweeter.

Reality Tweeters:

Reality show stars are out there tweeting.  I'm not a huge fan of this genre, but I'll share a few I found that are pretty interesting.  From wrestling stars to reality show hosts, check out their tweets.

  • Hulk Hogan:  Hulkamaniacs unite, cuz Hogan Knows Best.  He's Hulk and he tweets and you better not steal from him, he gets mad and tweets about you!
  • Brooke Hogan:  Like father like daughter, Hulks daughter Brook tweets too, just not that much.
  • Ryan Seacrest:  The "Dick Clark" of our generation, American Idol Host and producer of Living with the Kardashians tweets and even uses Twitterberry.  Looks like the real deal, he even wants to know if you think the LeeAnn Rimes affair tape is fake.

Famous For One Reason or Another:

These celebrities are just that, celebrities for one reason or another who have been known to tweet and their tweets sometimes even hit CNN, MSNBC or FoxNews for one reason or another.  You know who they are, so not much explanation needed!

Country Music Twitterers:

I saved this group for last because unless you like country music you'll want to just stop here (or skip to the postscript!) :).  I've broken these up into two groups.  The country music singers who look like they are really tweeting, and then the second group where it looks like someone at their record label sees Twitter as just a broadcast medium for these stars.

The Real Country Music Tweeters:

  • Taylor Swift:  For some reason it looks like she has two twitter accounts http://twitter.com/taylorswift13 & http://twitter.com/tayswift, both look authentic, both are tweeting, both are linked to from other country music stars.  Mabye I'll get lucky and Taylor will tell me which one is really her?
  • Jack Ingram:  He makes me jealous, sitting on the beach in Mexico w/ a cold beer.
  • Jake Owen:  He's addicted to goldfish, the snack folks, not the swimming things.
  • Lady Antebellum:  This trio tweets about their gigs
  • Zac Brown Band:  A little bit of Chicken Fy and some tweets for their fans.
  • Gretchen Wilson:  She's a redneck woman who tweets to her fans
  • George Strait:  Rarely tweets, but looked real!
  • Brad Paisley:  Rarely tweets, but looked real!

And that's my round up of celebrity Twitter accounts.  You can keep an eye on Celebrity Tweet, they add new celebrities all the time.

Postscript:  If you have an account you'd like me to add to the list, leave a comment, I do my best to vet it for being "real" and add it to this post.

Commenters Celebity Twitter Suggestions:

  • Dave Matthews:  Suggested by Tonya Harmati because "He does tweet when he is on his travels, and sometimes twitpics his artwork. He is def an interesting follow!"


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You may want to add @DaveJMatthews to your lists. He does tweet when he is on his travels, and sometimes twitpics his artwork. He is def an interesting follow!

Thanks Tonya!

I'll add him, upon your suggestion. I'll start a postscript section with everyone's suggestions.


MusicRow Magazine reported yesterday that "taylorswift13" is the real Taylor Swift account. As in, the real Taylor Swift, really Tweeting.

What I find ironic about celebrities is that while they may gather thousands of followers they do not follow back. Seems anti-social to me.

In addition, folks like Fox News branded show host push out news but never reveal their personalities in real conversations.

The celebrities simply do not get it.

I think celebs are using twitter because it is a way to connect online. Celbs love attention and i think being about themselves all of the time it is good for them to just post normal everyday things they do.

Just FYI, I work for a sports PR and brand management company and the Eli Manning account is not authentic (not by him or anyone in his camp).

I made the mistake replying to some celebs,didn't know the game rules,Twitter has burned me without warning,i feel like a criminal...it feels all a bit sinister

Yeah. you're right! This celebrities were just aiming for fame. But they just hiding it from using twitter and try to deceive that they want to communicate.

Thanks for posting by the way!

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