Hi there, after the summer break here is a summary of the main findings from the study of celebrity tweet streams I was working on earlier this year. There is more detail on the stats in the post just below, but here I'm reflecting on the possible relevance of the findings too:
1. Celebrities favour a 1-to-many form of broadcasting in twitter, not peer-to-peer messaging
2. The majority of celebrity tweets are about their professional activity, not the ‘everyday’ domestic lives.
3. The immediacy of celebrity tweeting is used to prioritise shows or products (shown in collocational patterns for ‘today’, ‘tonight’ and ‘tomorrow’, which associate with ‘on the show’)
4. Like other tweeters, the links celebrities share in their tweets boost their professional status, but they share more photographs which literally increases their online image.
5. Celebrities cover over this self-promotion with a veneer of conversational strategy, telling jokes, praising and thanking their audience, asking questions, making positive evaluations.
6. Women celebrities make positive evaluations in RTs more than men, especially Dannii Minogue and Demi Moore.
What’s the point?
Mainstream media sensationalise celebrity tweets as giving direct access to the ‘real person’, e.g. the Guardian’s recent piece on ‘seeing into the brain’ of the musician 50 cents, but in fact, most celebrities aren’t using twitter for personal self-disclosure. We don't find out much about the celebrity themselves, let alone see 'into their brain'. Twitter self-promotion for celebrities doesn’t necessarily result in influence. A recent study from Northwestern University showed that specialist knowledge about areas of professional expertise was more important in trending topics than the number of followers or retweets gained by a celebrity.
Substance over style is more important for influence in Twitter. This is the opposite of what happens in Facebook where seemingly trivial disclosures are important for the ‘social grooming’ work that this small talk achieves.
Labels: twitter facebook celebrity