Friday, November 21, 2008

Trendspotting: Web 2.0 Celebrities...

Way too early this morning, I indulged my Twitter addiction, yet again, and while still in the wee hours I became Twitter friends with Shaquille O'Neal.

Now, I'm definitely not a celebrity gawker. In fact, half the time when walking around the streets of New York and spotting someone famous, I usually roll my eyes because I don't think very highly of their work, and have to fight a strange anti-social impulse to tell them so at an increased volume. So my "friending" of Shaq caught me off-guard. I did it, not because he was Shaq, but because his Twitter posts were actually pretty entertaining and a good read.

He texts from his cell phone statements like: "Cant sleep, the lakers embarrassed us, im pissed"; "On my way 2 da arena. I feel like the main charachter n da movie 300"; "Why does shane battier always were that golf masters jacket on the bench, lol".

This is the new trend... celebrities leveraging Web 2.0 social-networks in ways that don't just create a presence for themselves online, but actually use them the way the rest of us do... to give status updates, to vent, to rant & rave, to bore the daylights out of people reading their feeds with inane references only a few people will understand or care about, and to, occasionally, provide something thought-provoking or insightful.

To be sure, the idea of celebrities using the web is nothing new. Mark Cuban, Wil Wheaton, Pam Beesley (from "The Office"), and Pamela Anderson (to name only a few) all have blogs with huge followings. And of course, this comes on the heels of Britney Spears joining Twitter, plus most of the political candidates during the campaigns jumping on the Web 2.0 bandwagon as well.

But as celebrities venture beyond blogs and into MySpace, Facebook, Twitter,, and the rest, it becomes ever more apparent that the same rules apply to them as they do to us. Their cyber identities are defined by what they post, and the more open and transparent they're willing to be - and the less they hold back, take neutral stances, or use the services for blatant self-promotion - the more they're likely to get out of the experience.

Actually, I think I'll go share that thought with my new buddy, Shaq.


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