Should Celebrities Have Access To Twitter?

(Image via NYpost.com)

Celebrities are a big focus of my blog because they provide great examples of poor public relations. As I mentioned in one of my first posts, Twitter can give fans unprecedented access to their favorite athlete, public figure, actor, etc.  Twitters that are run by celebrities get the coveted blue check next to their name, verifying their account so you know its not an impostor.

Through Twitter you get a fairly unfiltered picture of your favorite celebrity.  The things they like, dislike, events they are promoting, music they listen to, what their dog does that makes them laugh.  You get the picture. But this free access to celebrities has repeatedly proven that maybe its not such a good idea for celebrities to run their Twitter account themselves.

Just to name a few Twitter scandals…….

1.) Chris Brown’s post-Grammy Tweet

2.) Chris Brown’s homophobic tweets circa  2011

3.) Courtney Love vs. Billy Corgan

4.) John Mayer calling his penis a “white supremacist.”

The list goes on.  A brief Google search brings up  any number of Twitter controversies between celebrities and their peers, celebrities and their fans, celebrities and their managers…..so this begs the question, should Twitter be the platform that celebrities use to post their innermost thoughts? In an article for Crushable.com entitled, “Dear PR People Stop Letting Celebrities Tweet,” Jenni Maier brings up a very valid argument. She remarks that every week there is some type of  offensive tweet put out by a celebrity that draws media attention but is then deleted quickly. Maier says, “Within 24 hours the tweets are deleted and replaced with a vague apology tweet that you just know was quickly crafted by an anxious PR person — desperate for her client not to sound racist/homophobic/ignorant/sexist.”

In a previous post I said that Twitters can be helpful in generating POSITIVE fan interaction, for example,  Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and Shaquille O’Neal. Unfortunately,  many celebrities are using their Twitter in the wrong way, resulting in embarrassing/scandalous situations.   In fact, it has almost become expected for celebrities to tweet offensive, rude, or insulting comments.   Celebrities are human too, with thoughts and feelings like the rest of us, but they need to understand that there are certain boundaries when you are in the public spotlight.

To Tweet or Not to Tweet?

(Image via mediabistro.com)

In today’s social media saturated world, you would be hard pressed to find somebody who does not have a Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or at the very least a Myspace. At the most basic level social media has completely revolutionized the way that people communicate and share their lives online. Social media platforms have similarly  changed the way that companies and celebrities interact with the public.

Twitter specifically has given fans the ultimate tool to directly communicate and sometimes even interact with their favorite celebrities.  Through Twitter you can tell Coldplay how amazing their Grammy performance was, commiserate with Kim Kardashian about her most recent break up, or tell Lil’ Wayne what you thought of his latest album. Twitter has also  helped companies, organizations and groups become more reachable by providing a channel for customers to give feedback on a product, complain about a bad experience, or applaud a recent purchase.  Establishing online communication via Twitter  has become essential for businesses and celebrities because it helps create brand loyalty.

I recently spoke with a friend who contacted a travel agency to request the online special that had been advertised though he had already purchased his travel package.  After he was denied the online rate, he took to his Twitter and complained that the special was misleading and how disappointed he was with their customer service.  Within minutes, he receieved a call from the agency’s director of hospitality who offered him an extra night free of charge for his hassle. While not every complaint is acknowledged this promptly, or as generously, this is a perfect example of how Twitter can help a business interact with its customers and establish brand loyalty at the same time.

Twitter is also useful for celebrities, who can announce apperances, special events, concert dates, important notices, and also personal messages to fans. Pop icon  Lady Gaga has a Twitter following of almost 20 million and she uses her account to communicate and receive feedback from her loyal followers. Twitter gives celebrities the opportunity to keep fans more involved in what they are doing, and when they are doing it.  Just as companies can create brand loyalty through customer communication, so too can celebrities create a loyal Twitter base through fan interaction.