While surfing through The Nerd Machine I noticed that new technology has changed the role of the infamous paparazzi who use to capture the private opinions and photos of celebrities that weren’t carefully monitored and adjusted. Now, because of convergent media and the role of social networking, celebrities themselves play an active role in revealing their ‘real’ life, intentionally or not.
Twitter allows high profile accounts to be involved in opinionated discussion and disclose private pictures and opinions of themselves and others electively. “Thanks to Twitter, modern celebrities are only ever one ridiculous comment away from ruining their careers” Student Beans. And those less vigil do.
Ashton Kutcher has posted private photos of wife Demi Moore. And he felt the wrath of his 8 billion twitter followers in November 2011 when he defended Joe Paterno (fired for ignoring child sexual abuse by one of his co-coaches). Kutcher later clarified he didn’t have all the facts. (SMH)
The result? “I will stop tweeting until I find a way to properly manage this feed.” Kutcher turned over his twitter account to Katalyst Media to manage.
This new medium comes with responsibilities, especially for high profile accounts, because their ability to talk to millions. James Griffin said Kutcher’s incident is a “reality check” for celebrity users, but the professional management of his account means it is “no longer true to the medium.”
Meghan McCain, a young political commentator, tweeted a photo of a “night in” that didn’t get the expected response. An hour later she tweeted that she was upset by the fact that by wearing “anything other than a pantsuit I am a slut”. The “embarrassing experience but also a learning one” meant that though she threatened to delete her account she decided to “be more careful in the future about my use with the medium.” (McCain)
Other mediums like YouTube also allow for celebrities to be affiliated with various opinions that would have potentially been more private in the absence of convergence culture. Indeed, some celebrities have gained fandom because of YouTube. Nerd Machine TV has celebrities announcing their self-acclaimed ‘nerd’ status and connecting with fans more intimately. Justin Bieber on the other hand posted videos of his private life, him singing, and gained stardom though rising online popularity.
The publicity that social networking allows has been exploited by celebrities to expand fan bases and to increase publicity. However, it has created a medium which encourages the sharing of private information. Where celebrities previously complained about paparazzi exposing what should be private and sacred they are posting online themselves.