Yesterday’s New York Times article “When Stars Twitter, a Ghost May Be Lurking” presented some interesting points regarding celebrities, politicians, and other public figures who are “embracing” social media outlets to build their brand and provide fans with a greater level of access to them.
As a PR professional, I realize that I may have only a half of a leg to stand on to debate this matter because certainly we ghost write for our clients and are typically the master minds behind branding and messaging, however ghost twitterers seems to be a bit contradictory to the cause. After all, isn’t the success of Twitter due to its users answering the question “what are you doing?” Is it me, or does ghost tweeting seem to undermind the organic nature of Twitter?
A brand must be managed and I 100% agree that celebrities themselves are a brand. I also concur that (even for little ole’, non-celebrity me) Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites have become a time commitment and ultimately anyone’s time is money. However, I believe there is a vast difference between a “personal” account, celebrity or not, and other company or brand accounts (see OmniMount and URC on Twitter). Both share news, promotions, and building community, but I don’t think anyone assumes that the CEO is on the other end of our clients’ accounts. Well, we all know what happens when we assume, don’t we? But, it seems naturally misleading if nothing else.
If the intention of a celebrity account is to provide intimate access to their thoughts, activities, even rants and self-promotion, why should fans bother following celebrities like Britney Spears or 50 Cent who have enlisted social media managers to manage their accounts for them? To be fair, Britney’s page qualifies that updates come from “her team, her website and yes, even Britney herself.”
I find myself having to agree with Shaquille O’Neal, a prolific Twitterer who has more than 400,000 followers, who the article quoted as saying, ‘“If I am going to speak, it will come from me.” He added that the technology allows him to bypass the media to speak directly to the fans. “It’s 140 characters…” ‘
What do you think? Would love a good Friday afternoon debate.
Posted by: Katie | find me on Twitter