It’s odd for me to write about the benefits of social media when I openly hate Facebook and have never tweeted—not even a single character. And I wish I could say I didn’t check either of my accounts regularly, but as much as I dislike reading my newsfeed, I feel too disconnected if I leave my Facebook unattended for more than a few hours. I have had a Twitter for a little over a year, but can’t seem to find the words worthy of a first tweet. So what’s the point of even having a Twitter if I’m never going to tweet? I’ll put this simply. Celebrities.
During my senior year in high school I developed an intense fascination with tabloids and celebrity news, just like every other teenage girl. It started out with People, US Weekly and Star, but quickly moved onto Perez Hilton and JustJared. But it was during my freshman year in college when I discovered Twitter. Not only was I getting celeb updates multiple times a day, but the information was coming straight from my favorite popstars, movie stars, and Kardashians (they have their own category). After a few days I got the hang of hashtags, retweets and mentions, and was amazed at the amount of access I had to these celebrities.
One of my favorite famous faces to follow is Bethenny Frankel from The Real Housewives of New York. Don’t judge me—I know you watch the Jersey Shore every Thursday … embarrassing. Anyway, Bethenny (yes, we’re on a first name basis) is one of the most accessible celebrities on Twitter. She is constantly retweeting and answering her fans’ questions, allowing them to interact with the reality star and have a more personal experience with her. Obviously this is great for any Bethenny fan, but it’s also a great way for the Bravolebrity (celebrities created by Bravo) to gain viewers for her show and to get people to buy her book. Over the past year Bethenny has created a small empire with her Skinnygirl brand and New York Times bestselling books. I don’t think she would have been able to accomplish what she has without the 24/7 access of Twitter.
Another favorite celebrity I follow is Chelsea Handler. Following success of her late-night talk show, Chelsea released three books of personal essays, all topping The New York Times bestsellers list. As a fellow Jew from New Jersey with a semi-ridiculous family, I have always been able to relate to Chelsea and her inability to censor what comes out of her mouth. But after religiously watching her show for a few years, I felt something was missing. I wanted to see a behind the scenes look into the hilarity that is Chelsea Handler’s life. Thankfully, Chelsea decided to ditch the E! controlled Chelsea Lately Twitter account and set up her own. For the past few months, my Twitter feed has been inundated with pictures of margaritas, Cabo, midgets, Bentleys and even the occasional celebrity, all courtesy of Miss Handler. It has given me the chance to catch her unscripted and uncensored, making me an even bigger fan.
Twitter and Facebook give us common folk access into the lives of the rich and famous. From Charlie Sheen to Nicole Richie to Christina Aguilera (or her assistant), social media allow us to relate to our favorite celebrities and interact with them on a personal level. Of course by personal I mean a one-word, MAYBE two-word response and retweet, but it’s still a direct answer to a specific question asked.
Is it worth it to stalk, say, Justin Bieber and push through throngs of screaming tweens just to be left on a New York City sidewalk with nothing to show but a few bruises and damaged ear drums? Or would you rather sit in the comfort of your own home and just bombard him with mentions and hashtags, so if he finally answers you the entire world could see? I’d probably go with the latter, but then again, I don’t tweet so you might just find me sitting outside of the Trump International Hotel with my camera in hand.
Zoee Silber is a sophomore IMC major. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org