Please Tweet Responsibly: Celebrity Accessibility, Fans and Twitter Etiquette

Twitter

When I first signed on to Twitter back in 2009, I remember that one of the most interesting things about the platform was the fact that suddenly I was not only sharing web space with celebrities, but they were accessible!  I could talk to these people and they might talk back!

The prospect was as terrifying as it was exhilarating, to be honest.

Over time I became more confident and started communicating with a handful of writers and musicians.  I shied away from “big names” like Stephen Fry or Neil Gaiman but ended up finding myself talking to a few London-based musicians and having the occasional late-night banter with Duncan Jones (director of the film Moon), all of whom were extremely friendly and happy to chat with fans.

And so, despite my initial feelings of being incredibly star-struck, I quickly caught on to one very simple fact: celebrities – actors, musicians, directors, writers – are just people in the end.

However, the fact that they’re just people like you and me – people with needs and emotions and private lives just like us and not public fixtures – is something that is easy to lose sight of, and when that happens, it quickly becomes a problem.

This problem is something that I’ve noticed personally as, in the wake of all of the Les Misérables publicity, the actors playing the barricade boys have found themselves suddenly thrust upon the international stage, and along with them, their Twitter accounts.

While some of the guys have handled the sudden rush of attention by limiting their contact with people on Twitter outside of friends, others have, at least for now, opted to maintain contact with their fans through their Twitter accounts, and honestly, that’s really fantastic.

However, with that kind of privilege – and yes, it is a privilege that we can communicate so readily with the actors we love – comes great responsibility and we have an obligation to treat them with respect.

Imagine for a moment that you’re minding your own business in a café when suddenly a complete stranger approaches you and asks you a slew of personal questions – “Hey!  I really like you!  Are you seeing someone?  What’s your sexuality?  Will you come hang out with me?” – chances are that you would feel more than a little weird about that, and perhaps even concerned or stressed out, yes?

Well asking actors on Twitter the same kinds of questions is a very similar experience for them.  It’s intrusive and rude at best and almost terrifying at worst.

Honestly, I find myself cringing sometimes while scrolling through Twitter – many of these guys are in my age bracket and so when I see these really invasive tweets or see people haranguing them and demanding to be tweeted at or followed I can’t help but put myself in their place and wonder “Oh, god, how do they handle it?”

In the future, I ask that you think before you tweet.  Don’t just shoot Fra Fee or George Blagden or anyone else the first thing that comes to mind.  Stop and think to yourself “How would I feel if a complete stranger asked me this?  Would I feel weirded out?  Uncomfortable?  Violated even?” and if the answer to any of those is yes, then don’t send it.  Famous people are people too and they deserve the exact same consideration, privacy and human decency that you would accord to anyone else.

So please, next time you go to shoot off a tweet to your favourite actor about how you think his ass looks or asking his sexual orientation: stop, think about how you would feel and then don’t do it.

And remember: with great twitter-privilege comes great twitter-responsibility and if you abuse your ability to communicate with celebrities, you make it more likely that they’ll be reluctant to communicate with their fans in the future.

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8 Responses

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  3. Thank you so much for this.

  4. Thank you so much for this article.

    And I’ve noticed something else too – it’s Fra Fee & George Blagden who have copped it the worst – and, ironically, they are two of the sweetest, most well-mannered, and the most polite guys you will ever come across on Twitter.

    Contrastingly, if you read the tweets of Killian Donnelly & Alistair Brammer, both of them are extremely sarcastic, outspoken, and sassy, and don’t feel shy at all to express their opinions regarding anything. And either this “sassiness” genuinely intimidates some people, or Donnelly & Brammer simply choose to ignore such intrusion.

    So, the ONLY way to handle such intrusive tweets is to give a sarcastic/sassy reply back, even if it comes across as a bit rude. Or ignore – you know, the ‘Block’ button on Twitter is present for a specific reason.

    Unfortunately, Fra & George are way too nice to block accounts even if they get a bit too difficult to handle. And some people have simply taken them for granted.

  5. This can’ t be maore true and I have seen so many people ask Fra if he’s gay and I think that people who ask are actually taking crossing a line to a new level and like why do people even care about his sexuality

  6. I’ve never used Twitter and I don’t intend to, to be honest, but I think the message is still such a good one to pass on. I’ve cringed even on Tumblr at some raunchy and obsessive comments; there’s a fine line between joking fantasies and well, just being downright disrespectful. Thanks for the article!

  7. THANK YOU, M! Now if only everyone were to read this before being allowed to sign up for a twitter account.

    Brilliant as always, Monsieur.

  8. Thank you, thank you, thank you.