Social networking was doing perfectly fine before the explosion of Twitter, but the site has taken things to the next level. While the previous king of the social networking hill, Facebook, is considered by many to be a little bit too exposed (carrying as it does far more personal information), the Twitter revolution has become a way for celebrities and their fans to become far more connected than ever before. Celebrities have gone for Twitter in a way that makes the other social networking sites look slow by comparison – and the effects of this are quite fascinating.
Of course politicians have been swift to see the possibilities of Twitter, and of course their Tweets are relatively anodyne – a policy announcement here, a publicity statement for a public appearance there. They’re not going to Tweet their deepest thoughts. Nonetheless Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and many others have got accounts. Actors such as Will Wheaton and pop stars such as Britney Spears and Courtney Love have got accounts too, and update with varying degrees of frequency and candid-ness.
One of the most prolific, and heavily followed users of Twitter is the UK actor and comedian Stephen Fry. He has become something of an unofficial spokesman for the phenomenon in his native United Kingdom and posts candidly and frequently on a range of subjects. Many users consider it an honor to receive a direct reply from a celebrity user – and it happens far more frequently than one would think. It must be something to do with the lack of regulation.