Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Celebrities and their first tweets

The phenomenon of celebrities on Twitter is currently reaching a frantic pace. Once a few visionaries (I'm looking at you Shaq) left their footprint on the social network, famous people lined up to jump on the bandwagon and join in the fun.

Of course, that doesn't mean people on Twitter are now reading the most intimate thoughts of the biggest names in Hollywood. Like all great, cool, quirky things, people have found a way to exploit it - whether it's for publicity or another easy way to "interact" with their fans, stars use Twitter in a number of ways.

And who's to say someone is using Twitter wrong? It's fairly evident that @britneyspears on Twitter is pretty much her publicity machine doing everything it can to manage BS' persona. Yet do people care? They don't seem to; at present time she has 339,717 followers. So maybe Twitter is perfect for safe vanilla PR for celebrities.

And you can't say anyone is trying to pretend Britney is updating either, because the first update on her account was:

Welcome to Britney Spears' Twitter! Follow the latest in Britney news and get updates straight from Britney and her entourage. 12:46 PM Oct 10th 2008

So that got me thinking...how do other celebrities use Twitter - and more importantly, what were their first tweets? Did they understand what Twitter was, or how to use it? Did they dive right into the deep end or inch themselves down the ladder into the cool murky waters of the social network?

Luckily, using the awesome website mytweet16.com, I was able to go back and see what people first Twitters are. For example, here's mine:

Weighing the pros and cons or starting my own blog. 6:09 PM Jan 11th 2007

As you can see, I wasn't about to do a quality check, or read it twice; I was raring to go and wanted to make sure everyone knew exactly what was on my mind. Now, I use Twitter differently today (feel free to follow me to find out more) and feel a little stupid that that was my first tweet.

But now, let's see what these celebrities did with their first tweet!

(Note: This is a random collection of celebrities. I tried to stay away from the obvious fakes out there, but I can't verify that these are real, so I apologize in advance if they are. Feel free to let me know in the comments)

MC Hammer:

boring night...my controller must have been broken...every channel had some preacher name Rev. Wright..I think he's running for President?? 11:18 AM Apr 29th 2008

Shaquille O'Neal:
, this is the real SHAQUILLE O'NEAL 4:19 AM Nov 18th 2008

John Cleese:
i am still alive 6:43 AM Dec 3rd 2007

Al Gore:
Just signed up for Twitter. Please check out http://www.algore.com/ and http://www.repoweramerica.org/ . 4:21 PM Nov 6th 2008

Jimmy Fallon:
I'm getting started on twitter.... 11:34 AM Dec 4th 2008

Russell Brand:
i have come to join you pleas be gentle with me as ive been feeling vulnerable... yet implausibly, sexy 3:36 PM Jan 26th 2009

Demi Moore:
trying to figure this twitter deal out! 1:23 PM Jan 26th 2009

Kevin Smith:
flick to some fresh eyes, backing up laptop. 7:27 PM May 6th

Yoko Ono:
dancing 9:07 AM Nov 27th 2008

(this one is my personal favorite)

Elijah Wood:
chilling out, have some tasty Lunch! 9:52 AM Dec 20th 2008

Eli Manning:
i love football 7:45 PM Jun 26th 2008

(Ok, this one has to be fake, but I just loved the simplicity and pureness of this statement.

Crispin Glover:
Hello! The person who was twittering as Crispin Hellion Glover on this account previously was not me.Now this is me Crispin Hellion Glover! 6:09 PM Jan 11th 2009

Fred Durst:
Hanging with John Otto. Enjoying our Sunday on a Saturday. Bringing some Jacksonville to Los Angeles. 5:20 PM Jan 17th 2009

Larry David:
What the hell is this thing? I'm suposed to tell you what I'm doing? Why would I tell you what I'm doing? What are YOU doing? 7:49 PM Oct 8th 2008

Michael Ian Black:

is checking that his new Twitter account is working and fully awesome. 11:40 AM Feb 18th 2009

Penn Jillette:

Penn is barely awake and learning about Twitter. 11:04 AM Sep 3rd 2008

Tom Waits:

is this thing on? 7:01 PM May 30th 2008

Doug Benson:
Pat Hingle is dead! No details to follow. 4:15 PM Jan 4th 2009

So what did we learn with this fairly small sampling of celebrities on Twitter? That the majority of the celebrities like to test the water and see if it bites back before getting in. Which should come as no surprise, as Twitter is not easily understood when first faced with it.

Many people in the beginning questioned why he/she would bother to update with such brevity. In fact, they still do. But as I researched the article, I noticed that as they got more comfortable with the technology, some celebrities got into a groove and are now extremely comfortable with Twitter - not just for publicity, but for the interaction it can give them to their fans. When that will be taken away from everyone is everyone's guess; I assume it will be shortly after Twitter develops some sort of commercial plan that takes away its quirky charm. Until then, follow your favorite celebrity and see what they have to say. You might be surprised.

I will say that people's second twitter were much more interesting and funny. If you have the time I would check out their first 16, to get a full appreciation of the evolution of how one tweets.

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