Celebrities, Stars and their New PR

5 02 2009

Five months ago I posted a piece called The New Twitterati on PR Media Blog.   It was inspired by my discovery that tennis player Andrew Murray @andy_murray  had started to talk to his fans via Twitter.  This was long before  Stephen Fry @stephenfry  or Johnny-come-lately, Jonathan Ross @wossy had started to eulogise about the microblog fad.  It is clear now that Andy was blazing a trail.  I suggested at the time that we should “stand by for a rush to join the new ‘Twitterati’.  It won’t be long before we have a flood of singers, sporting heroes and stars of the screen, sharing stuff”.   That rush is turning into a deluge.   Stephen Fry is the third most popular person on Twitter and Hollywood couple Demi Moore @mrskutcher  and Ashton Jutcher @aplusk signed up a couple of weeks ago.   Tour de France hero Lance Arrmstrong @lancearmstrong is just outside the top ten most popular and Britney’s entourage fill out the 140 charaters for her…although she claims to do a few herself.    Even legendary crooner and definite non Gen-Y-er Neil Diamond @NeilDiamond is hanging out.

Twitter only really works for those that use it themselves and engage directly.  It works best if it is used as a conversation channel in the way that Fry uses it not simply as a broadcast tool (take note DJ Chris Moyles). 

What is fascinating is that it provides a real route for stars to talk to their fans – direct.  No PR people or journalists in between.  They can do it right there with no advice.   Some will do it brilliantly and use the medium to boost their profile.  Others?  Well…there may be a few egg shells to be delicately traversed and even the odd banana skin.   I can’t wait.

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4 responses

5 02 2009
valebrity

I think it will change the dynamics of how celebrities interact with the public.

I don’t think it is necessarily a bad thing – it makes many celebrities much more amiable to the public when you can directly interact with them. Takes away from of the gap – especially at a time when people are watching their pockets they can know that the people they are spending their money on actually want to talk back to them!

There will inevitably be some mistakes, but again that will make some of them even more like us and hence more of a connection. It is the new PR.

You will need to work pretty hard to do any real wrong (the fact you have a bad day may not be news anymore!).

5 02 2009
Matt

I think that Twitter is a great conversational / thought leadership tool to promote your online presence.

Is it a bad thing that celebraties are talking direct to the public, probably not. I think that the over polished “PR corporate speak” of old, a la Tony Blair, has been exposed for what it is by the web – fluff.

As a result, I think that the PR of old and the mentality that “every message must be controlled” is on the way out actually.

The people you talk about are in the media remember and are well versed in what to say and what not to say on Twitter. (Well ok @wossy might be a bad example!)

Seriously speaking though – PRs are not longer responsible for “media relations” , we must now think that we are part of the media. Also PRs must react and move away from broadcast to first person conversation. As a result transparency and honesty will win out in the long run. Therefore, if you are fit to Twit you are probably onto a good thing.

BTW- My Twitter is @prbristolblog (Thanks for the follow).

5 02 2009
Chris Norton

Rob, it’s certainly interesting to see Twitter finally reach its tipping point. It seems to have become much more mainstream in the last couple of months. Now watch the bucket loads of celebs rush to use this exciting new channel. I only hope they learn how to use it properly and don’t just use it to tell us all about themselves. As you say it’s all about the conversation – I couldn’t agree more.

Today Alan Carr has more than 17,000 followers and he is following nobody. I reckon this type of thing is going to change as they slowly realise social networking has to be inclusive, after all it is supposed to be SOCIAL.

5 02 2009
Rob Brown

Chris, I couldn’t agree with you more about Alan Carr (and several others) but I just don’t think he understands it and there are few celebs who will generally sustain their involvement over time. I don’t know what the average span of ‘twitter interest’ is but for some celebs the bell curve will have a very short timeframe.

Matt, I agree that PR people (and the organisations they represent) need to become part of the media and publish direct.

Valebrity, I think the dynamics are changing but the PR disasters are just waiting to happen. What is posted on Twitter gets picked up.

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