I felt there were a number of different styles to how celebrity tweeters presented themselves which could be broadly lumped under three particular titles based upon their connecting to followers. Firstly, there was the personal connection, which I judged based on the @ replies sent by them and to whom. Some celebrities – Oprah and Alan Sugar are two prime examples – reply to messages they are sent; Oprah even has the particular occasional ‘live tweeting session’, where she personally reads and replies to certain tweets her 5.5million followers send her. This appears to be the most intimate form of celebrity/fan connection. However, it portrays the celebrity tweeting almost as a gift to the message recipient, which appears honest and forthright, as it seems to demonstrate the personality on Twitter as real, but in reality shows the celebrity tweeting as important; there is no room for a dialogue with a fan, which makes the message seem intimate but in fact distances the two, maintaining the celebrity’s ‘professional’ demeanour.
A second form of connecting with followers is the ‘Lady GaGa approach’, which also exemplifies Justin Bieber’s and Britney Spears’ attitudes – her Twitter account appears as her acting as a kind of orator and whipping up her fans into various states of excitement. This then manifests itself as trending topics created as millions of twitterers tweet as GaGa has instructed them or, more subtly, in many of them adopting the term ‘Little Monster’ to describe themselves. This phrase, coined by Lady GaGa to denote her fans, both has the effect of unifying twitterers as a sort of mock-army, as well as providing a connection with Lady GaGa – ‘Mother Monster’ – which presents her as their leader. This still holds a not inconsiderable impression of honesty to it, but GaGa does use her Twitter as a form of viral marketing; aside from the expansive messages, she mainly posts information about her upcoming events, albums, etc.
A final form of connection to their followers I judged was in what celebrities chose to tweet about. Whilst every celebrity tweeted in some respect or another about their professional life a number of celebrities, such as Stephen Fry, Lily Allen and Rihanna, had a great number of tweets I deemed to be ‘personal’; that is, about their day-to-day lives without an apparent intention to self-present – ‘walking the dog’ tweets. This I felt was closest to Erving’s 1959 work in self-presentation as, unconscious or not, the celebrities who tweet this way are trying to present themselves as normalised and no different to everyone else. By portraying themselves as relatable and seemingly the same as everyone else, these celebrities created an attractive persona for themselves whilst apparently being honest in their self-presentation. It is appealing for the public to feel their idols are human too, and by tweeting as human, the celebrities here garner affection for their down-to-earth attitudes.
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