Celebs Out, ‘Reals’ In!

Today I decided to do some Twitter spring cleaning, in part prompted by a piece I heard on the radio in which Ricky Gervais explained why he doesn’t tweet. He says celebrities only go on Twitter to show off by speaking to other celebs in public and he’s right. It never really bothered me before but now I think about it I’m questioning my own motives in following people like Jonathan Ross and Simon Pegg. Why? What am I hoping to get out of it? Do I seriously think that they will suddenly want to be my friend on the back of a couple of witty tweets sent their way? Following celebs is a shallow, empty, rather desperate thing to do. When I look at my Twitter friends’ timeline it becomes clear that those followers and followees I value most are the regular Joe’s (and Joanna’s) like me.
So, the path forward is clear. Why clutter my timeline with self-obsessed narcissistic celebs who don’t care about me when I can have more witty, cutting, sardonic normal friends, for free?

Today is Friday and Twitter has a tradition (bit odd ascribing ‘traditions’ to something so new and fangled but there it is) called #followfriday or #ff for short, in which people recommend Tweeters to others. So if, for example, one of my followers really liked my tweets and wanted to promote me they would send a tweet that said, “#ff @nealofarabia”. The #ff hashtag denotes that what follows is a Follow Friday recommendation and @nealofarabia is my Twitter username. Geddit?

I receive many #ff recommendations each week from people I like and respect on Twitter, but I seldom act on them. Well today will be different. Today there is Twitter Change in the air. Today I shall deliver the ultimate insult to all my celebs by Unfollowing them! Then I shall replenish my now thinner friend list by accepting every single #ff I receive from friends.

I’m quite excited. Are you?

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About Chris Neal

Personal Technology Consultant. Tailored services and advice for people who want more from their technology.
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2 Responses to Celebs Out, ‘Reals’ In!

  1. Rob J says:

    Hmmm. I’m not sure I agree with your blanket statement of “celebrities only go on Twitter to show off by speaking to other celebs in public” but I think I do (or at least did originally) follow celebs for that “brush with fame” feeling.
    However the ones that I have stuck with I have done so for the same reason I stick with anyone (yourself included). I find their tweets interesting. They are the ones who use twitter in a similar way to the way I do.
    Some, like serafinowicz, are essentially an extension of the comedian. I find him funny, and the small amount of interaction that twitter provides, and the way he exploits that, makes it a different experience from watching his TV show.
    Others, like the pegg/frost/wright triumverate fall more closely into your category, but these people aren’t “celebs showing off” so much as they are friends. The twitter exchanges between these people are similar to ones I might have with my friends. Why do I feel the “need” to witness them? Well, you know, I’m a pop culture junky, and I can’t escape the thrill of celebrity, at least a bit.
    But I followed Kevin Smith for a while, and all he did was talk about what book was on sale, or what show was coming up. It was not interesting. So I don’t follow him now.

    One thing though: although I’m a fan of Gervais, it’s hard to take criticism of something from someone who hasn’t tried it, and hasn’t tried to get value from it. Too many people see it as “who wants to know when Miley Cyrus is having a bagel?” when it’s more than that. Even from the celebrity side, it’s more than that. (I say that without having any idea how much exposure he has had to it. But it’s only the people who have actually used it, that seem to go “ooooohhh, so it’s NOT necessarily about when celebrities go to the toilet”
    But the great thing about it is that twitter is different things to different people, and I think it’s interesting seeing how different people both use it, and react to it.

    Rob (@spoon579)

    • Chris Neal says:

      You’re right of course; I was generalising. The comment about them chatting to each other in public was from Ricky Gervais. My own view is, like yours, that some do that, some use it as another adulation channel and the minority actually want to interact with their fans in a genuine way. I decided I don’t want to hear Alan Davies plugging his latest podcast any more, and I didn’t wante to a part of Serafinowicz’s #PSQA . The part of me that hates dancing to someone else’s tune is in the ascendance. Must be the time of the month.

      I don’t mean to say that anyone who follows celebs is wrong to do so; people must use Twitter how they like. For me it’s just time to shake things up a bit and I was feeling guilty about not acting on #ff’s from people I like.

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