Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Darker Side to Growing Online Fame

Recently someone asked the question whether if the proverbial tree actually fell if it wasn't Twittered about. I responded that I'd require Twitpics to believe the tree and the forest actually existed. Now that I am following an olio of personal friends, celebrities, and local folks I wish were my friends, I feel like I am living in a reality show. And while much of it is rooted in reality, a lot of it is staged.

I've succumbed to following celebrities on Twitter. I have no interest in following Ashton Kutcher and his struggling to be still be relevant squeeze Mrs. Kutcher (that's what she calls herself on Twitter), but the Kutchers' comments about the Twitter tv show were big news. Kutcher (Ashton said this, but presumably Demi concurs) states that a Twitter show would encourage stalking.

My question is what kind of stalking? Encourage us to hang on their every tweet, view their movies, purchase their products? Twitter stalking is highly unsatisfying and is sophisticated PR. Ethan Suplee of the now cancelled Earl (He was Randy) completely sucked me into his world with his pseudo personal tweets about his sarcastic family. He posted a Twitpic of his daughter and I went for the bait. The photo was of his daughter with her hand blocking the camera. That reminded me that Twitter are not unscripted moments for the famous. I know their publicists are in on the game. (Has Entourage shown Ari Gold on Twitter yet? If not now, then soon).

My friends who Twitter often put up tantalizing pieces of information, but unless I am actually talking to them on the phone or by DM, I'm never getting invited to all the things they talk about. Sometimes it's tempting to do a pop in when somebody I've never met says, "come out tonight," but I know they aren't talking about me. They are talking to their friends and I am an eavesdropper.

But this stalking thing is a real issue. I've known people who have gotten very enthusiastic and has started following me on every possible social networking site. One time I was chatting via gchat with a guy and then signed off- an hour later then he found me on another social media site and said "I thought you were going to bed, but here you are." But as long as he doesn't start showing up at my bbq's, it's manageable. I can't make light of this issue because I know several people who have been relentlessly followed on the internet. But I think the Ashton Kutcher's of the world might have more potential stalkers, us regular people don't have fences, moats with alligators or bodyguards to protect us.

I think those of us who are active on Facebook, myspace, Twitter and other social media have developed public personas and what is really interesting is our private lives intersect with the public. There is a lot more I can talk about, but I must get ready to go out dancing. You will know my whereabouts because I already posted updates on Twitter and Facebook.

I will develop this topic in a later blog post. I appreciate comments.

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