The ‘look at what sandwich I’m eating’ fad on social media only stays interesting for so long. Fortunately, Amanda Bynes decided to mix things up a bit over the Summer by throwing out her lunch and tweeting a mental breakdown instead. Her tantrums and alcohol allergies caught everyone’s attention including the media’s. People seemed to be repetitively refreshing her Twitter page awaiting the next psychotic episode to occur. Complex magazine even took a lovely video of Bynes dancing in the streets of New York City (followed by Bynes tweeting threats to sue them). Unfortunately, the nostalgic dancing lobsters didn’t make the cut.
(Screenshot by Eric O.)
One can determine that there’s quite a bit going on in Bynes’ life after glancing at some of her most recent tweets (which date back to this past July). The first thing that comes to mind is Liu’s discussion of the four different types of taste in “Social Network Profiles as Taste Performances”. Being theatrical (an over the top, obvious performance) is one of those four tastes that is readily apparent in Bynes’ feed. Needing to tweet that your superpower lawyer is going to remove whatever you want from the Internet and comparing yourself to a cancer patient over your hair is just screaming for attention and a major facepalm. Granted, I cannot argue with the success of her theatricalism, as her cancer tweet landed an article in Vanity Fair Magazine, receiving over 1.8k tweets and 1.5k likes. Although the article attempts to correct the tweet and claims it is referring to the astrological sign cancer instead, this excuse simply does not feel plausible.
Her profile can also exhibit aspects of Liu’s differentiation, as there are certainly not a lot of other comparable celebrities out there tweeting any similar content . Although she might have high levels of theatricalism and differentiation, this is not the case for the other two types of taste. In terms of prestige, Bynes does not score too high, as mainstream culture tends to frown upon the promotion of plastic surgery. Plus, cancer jokes or comparisons rarely end up being funny, and turn out as just distasteful. For authenticity, I believe it is possible to argue that she can have high or low amounts. Perhaps Bynes is trying way, way, too hard for any glimmer of attention. Or, perhaps she is not trying at all and hence is not careful enough about what she decides to post which leads to the visibility of many imperfections in her personality.
I believe many of her tweets also have aspects of trolling in them. In Phillips’ “LOLing at Tragedy: Facebook Trolls, Memorial Pages and Resistance to Grief Online”, he discusses trolls, or people who like to cause controversy. Although the article mainly focuses on anonymous Internet users who spam memorial pages on Facebook, the concept of trolling can apply to numerous facets. Being theatrical and trolling can go hand-in-hand, as they both can be very over-done and have an obvious performance.
(Screenshot by Eric O.)
Could anyone really argue that these tweets aren’t someone who’s seeking attention? Most celebrities tend to be hush-hush about aesthetic surgery, and openly talking about having surgery on your whole face on Twitter just seems to be a grab for attention, and maybe not even true. Some replies to these tweets such as “and that’s why you don’t dive head first into a bag of coke.” by Cody Sky or “Pardon my french on the hate speech but WHAT THE FUCK?! Why ruin your face some more? It was fuckin’ gorgeous the way it was.” by Cassie llyse in addition to nearly 11,000 retweets shows that she is quite successful in this Twitter trolling.
Amanda Bynes was able to put on quite a social media show which complimented her shattered bong fiasco and police raid in May. Because of her theatricalism, she was able to gain a high level of attention thanks to the help of her social media pages. However, the end effect is a definite lack of prestige, and it is unlikely that her reputation will recover from her numerous performances.
Note: I have no intentions of demeaning Bynes in the case that there are underlying issues present in her personal life. Unfortunately, no matter how serious her problems may or may not be, publicly tweeting them is going to stir up controversy. I wrote this blog under the impression that the majority of her social media display was to some extent a publicity stunt. If I am incorrect in this assertion, then I mean no offense to any personal issues related to Amanda Bynes.