Recent events reminded me of an issue I’m torn about. Whenever something big happens, celebrities, organizations, and everyday people alike often use Twitter these days to make statements, express condolences, and so on.
In the case of a tragedy (like, say, the death of an A-to-B-list celebrity), I instinctively find the use of Twitter to react kind of gauche and low class. Perhaps it’s because I’m used to Twitter’s normal purpose: to transmit vapid and meaningless crap to the rest of the world. Perhaps the use of that medium makes me think that doing so is somehow downplaying the tragedy or treating it like the latest meme or photo of your last meal.
If so, I do recognize that this reaction is at least a little misaimed. After all, with a large scale event (like, say, the death of an A-to-B-list celebrity), immediacy is often the point, especially if the one reacting is an A-to-B-lister themselves. Yet I can’t help but think that an actual statement, offline, is somehow more… high class.
A more formal statement is likely to be ignored or lost in the flood of other similar statements. Celebrities have thousands of followers on their social media platforms, thus get more attention in that medium.
Plus, I don’t think a formal public statement would be appropriate from just anyone. The informality of Twitter is what makes it better for this purpose.
Who would it be appropriate from? People inspired by him, who looked up to him. People close to him. But not just some celebrity who happened to work with him once, or someone who unrelated who is not currently in the spotlight. It would come off as a tacky way to promote oneself by his death.
Doing it on Twitter comes off more like you are grieving, and of course that is appropriate.
In addition, these days I think there’s a certain amount of expected behavior. If you’re a big enough name, it would be almost more notable to NOT acknowledge the big story of the day than to make a statement.
Oops, didn’t see this reply. Kinda hate to bump, but I just want to note that I (and many many others) do end up seeing Twitter statements even if we don’t read it: via news reports, where “celebrity X said via Twitter” is practically a macro.
That is an outdated view. It’s true that all social media has a lot of people saying such things, and everyone does so at least occasionally, but Twitter has long since established itself as a legitimate communication and entertainment platform.
It does seem to be primarily a way to follow celebrities, in lieu of fan club activities of yesteryear, but that’s not a bad thing. But beyond that there are news sources, instant images sent from across the world (and solar system) providing updates that bypass red tape, and screeds of other useful information is disseminated to millions instantaneously.
Having said that, if we eliminated the spambots and Justin Bieber fans, it would help a lot.