As a constant user of Twitter, I follow many different celebrities, news outlets, and other users whom are friends that I know in the offline world. I am always interested in what celebrities are posting on Twitter because the tweets can vary from their current mood to their support for certain human rights. Since I follow my offline friends in the online world, I would see what they have tweeted to others on my homepage. However, is it necessary to flood your follower’s timeline with an outrageous amount of tweets to different celebrities within an hour?
Many of the people that I follow are from my high school and some are younger than me. Some constantly send tweets to celebrities concerning how big of a fan they are and how they want the celebrities to follow them on Twitter. I’m sure everyone have some celebrities that they really admire but tweeting at celebrities constantly and flooding your follower’s Twitter homepage is unnecessary. Why do people think that celebrities will see or even care about your tweets if you tag them in it? Do you think celebrities would even be able to look or see your tweet and respond to it?
Dave LeClair talks about this particular issue in his opinion in “Five More Annoying Things People Do on Twitter“. I don’t think that celebrities have a Twitter account for their fans to constantly spam them with messages. Celebrities are human and they have a certain tolerance level for this kind of action before they will find it annoying. Yet, they cannot openly address this issue as it would be impolite, thus rendering their public image tarnished. Instead, they would have to retain all of their frustration inside or talk to others, but never in the public. LeClair mentions that:
[S]ome people take this to extremes and constantly tweet celebrities hoping for that one @ mention from them that will apparently change their life forever. I’m sorry but celebrities are people too, just like you or I, and I can guarantee that they don’t want their @ reply box filled with the same person trying desperately to start a conversation with them.
Twitter is a media-centric site. However, in the case of celebrities, Twitter is as much a media-centric site as well as a profile-centric site, because it is who they are in the offline world and what they post online that drives the traffic to their Twitter accounts. It is important that celebrities constantly initiate conversation as Twitter is the platform that maintains the connection between the fans and the celebrities. I understand that some are trying to respond to their favorite celebrity’s question or tweet, but a single tweet would do just fine. By posting more than one tweet, it makes it seem as though one is trying too hard to get the celebrity’s attention, as well as creating spam messages for many of their followers. Maybe the younger people that I follow on Twitter do not understand this idea that there are many Twitter users like them and that if they all tweet at the same time, the celebrity won’t be able to see your tweet as it would be drowned under the other tweets. Yet, maybe that is also the reason they tweet multiple times, to make sure that their tweet would be on the top of the list when the celebrity checks their twitter, and would hopefully respond to it.
Even though Twitter is a bi-directional social media platform that allows conversation to go both ways, celebrities mainly use it as a uni-directional platform, by posting tweets for the public to see, but then not facilitating a conversation with their followers. If every follower of the celebrity tweets even once and tagging the celebrities, Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber might have millions of tweets for every tweet that they post. Keep in mind that some people also post more than once, trying to get the attention of the celebrity. Hence, it makes sense that celebrities creates this uni-directional platform for the public to know what they are doing, and not facilitating a conversation with their followers.
JD Rucker and his article “Don’t tweet @ celebs so you can tell your buddies “I was talking to @Alyssa_Milano today, and…”” offers another light on the issue of talking to celebrities on Twitter. He mentions why people want celebrities to reply them:
This is where I laid into him. I won’t go over the details, but the gist of it was this: if you want to talk to people on Twitter… Do it for the conversation. Do it for the fun. Do it to find and share information. Do it for the engagement, the interlinking of lives both bland and grandiose. DO NOT do it so you can feel special and try to namedrop at lunch with an old friend (who, by the way, he wasn’t following). Some celebs are incredible members of the Twitter community. Some are not. Don’t take advantage of those who are willing to “chat” with you just so you can claim some weird (and potentially creepy) kinship or connection with them.
Rucker shows us that people might tweet celebrities just for the ability to brag about their accomplishments to their friends over social gatherings that one might have. However, people also tweet at celebrities to raise awareness for certain kinds of problems that exist within our society. It allows the problems to become more prominent as it might end up on the Top Trends chart or it might grasp the attention of other Twitter users that might be interested in helping with this cause. Therefore, even though celebrities might receive a lot of spam messages that people tweet for their attention, some people would also try and raise the awareness of certain social issues that exist in the community by trying to capture the celebrity’s attention.
People act this way because social media enables the power of the anonymous; the person behind a computer typing away on the keyboard. In An Anthropological Introduction to Youtube by Michael Welsh, he talks about the how social media can empower people by giving them a platform to talk about anything they want. Even though it is an uni-directional communication, people are able to talk to their favorite celebrities about anything. This platform has also provided a sense of community, where people know that there are some people in the world, similar to them, who try to get the attention of their favorite celebrity. It allows them to be a participant in this activity without feeling like the only one in the world doing so.
It is through these tweets that I realize how many users of Twitter use it as a tool for their own selfish needs such as the need for celebrities to reply their tweets or for the celebrities to follow them. I find this very concerning and also a shame that people are using Twitter, an amazing platform for information sharing, gathering, and having conversations about intellectual issues, for their own selfish needs. People can be using it to keep up with the latest news and facilitating intellectual debates for issues such as politics or social issues that exists within the society. However, Twitter is a platform and a tool for anyone to get their message into the public cyberspace. It is a platform that allows technological appropriation to occur, where everyone has their own thoughts and ways that Twitter can be used. Maybe next time when you are going to spam another celebrity, trying to get their attention, think about your followers and the celebrity that you are directly affecting. Do we actually want to hear what you have to say?