Celebrities open up via Twitter

By, Julie Gordon

*Casey Feldman contributed to this story.

Britney Spears is “playing Slip N’ Slide with the boys. SOOO CUTE!!!!” Ashton Kutcher “is running five minutes late.” Miley Cyrus is “going to atlantis whoop hoo!” John Mayer is “at home with some scotch and a breathalyzer.”

No detail is too small for a growing number of celebrities — many of whom claim they cherish their privacy — to share with the world via the micro-blogging Web site Twitter. The difference between twittering and dishing to reporters, they say, is that they control what reaches the public.

“It has allowed people to get closer to me,” said rapper LL Cool J. “More about the mind, not just the muscle. I’m in touch.”

Sammuel V. Anderegg, who started the “John Mayer” Facebook group in 2007, agreed. “You actually get the feel of a human being, not just … the gossip from a magazine.”

“It’s liberating for them,” said Gabriella Coleman, assistant professor of media, culture and communication at New York University. “They’re bypassing the middleman and doing it themselves.”

The role of those middleman — aka celebrity publicists — is shifting from primarily setting up media interviews and photo shoots, to schooling their clients about how to make the most of their 140-character postings called tweets.

Though some celebrities have others twitter for them, Nate Schreiber, president of publicity firm PMK/HBH whose clients include Miley, Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Simpson, said tweeting several times a day and in an authentic manner is most effective. Last month, Kutcher grabbed headlines when he beat CNN in a race to garner 1 million Twitter followers.

Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton said he gobbles up every detail of stars’ lives, but he wonders whether too much familiarity will deglamorize A-listers. “It’ll be interesting to see the long-term results of that because do we really want to see Brad Pitt and Angelina (Jolie) tweeting? he asked.

Hillary Fisk, 20, of Manhattan, said she follows celebrities on Twitter, especially TV star Heidi Montag. “They always write such stupid things and update so frequently. I lose respect for them because I’m like, shouldn’t you be doing something else? I wonder who [Heidi] thinks cares.”

Another twittering pitfall for celebs is revealing too much information, such as where they plan to dine, shop or party. Such tweets can be perceived as an invitation for fans or stalkers to show up.

Lori Levine, CEO of Flying Television Productions, which specializes in celebrity wrangling, brokering and events, advises her clients not to reveal these details.

“The bottom line is, while fans love you and care for you and follow you and are safe, stalkers pray on tweets,” she said.


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