Friday, 7 January 2011
I have, however, noticed that there is a second type of celebrity on Twitter that has a much lower tolerance level for any whisker of disapproving sentiment. There are certain celebrities on Twitter who seem to be entirely incapable of accepting criticism in any form. These incidents do not usually come to my attention unless an argument kicks off between two individuals in my timeline (and I’m not on Twitter very often at all) but once in a while it becomes apparent to everyone that a tantrum is being thrown. It appears that some individuals have their twitter feed mainlined straight to their ego and bask gloriously in praise from their fans, only to spectacularly throw their toys out of the pram the very second that someone asks a question, raises a difficult issue or suggests some kind of improvement to a project or their modesty. From what I can tell there are very few celebrities who suffer from this kind of ‘Twitter ego massaging’, but they are out there. And in these cases I relax my sympathies. They deserve the reality check.
To make matters worse in my particular case, I hear that the tweeter I replied to yesterday is now threatening to quit Twitter. How much more terrible do I feel now?! I realise that I am not the cause of this and the individual must regularly receive a number of offending tweets that have led to this decision, but I can’t help but feel (unintentionally) partly responsible. While it is difficult to determine whether the individual in question belongs to the ‘genuine nice guy/girl’ or ‘ego massaging’ breed of tweeters, I have apologised profusely because I realise that I am to blame and I hold the individual in high esteem and adore their work – which was exactly why I was following their tweets in the first place! I can only hope that this show of contrition convinces them that it was an ill-judged joke and I’m not a random cretin hell-bent on sending deeply offensive comments every hour of the day and night.
So take my advice and think twice before tweeting someone in the public eye. If they are of the ego massaging variety then fire away - you are entitled to your opinion and no twitterer should be shielded from criticism, as long as it is an honest sentiment and not deliberately engineered to cause offence. But bear in mind the genuine, Fry-eque characters on Twitter. Not only can inadvertently offending these people lead to crushing guilt of magnificent proportions, but if these individuals in particular become offended, disillusioned and leave, then the Twitterverse is going to become a very boring place…