Which celebrities are the best — and worst — at using Twitter?
“Neil Patrick Harris has done a spectacular job. He’s using Twitter in such a wonderfully subtle way,” says Peter Shankman, a man who knows. Shankman has 100,000-plus internet followers via HARO, the mega network he created, HelpAReporter.com, and he is most certainly at the forefront of the social networking phenomenon.
(Come to think of it, the other day on Twitter, NPH got us all excited again about “Accomplice: Hollywood,” the way cool alternate-reality live theatrical experience he’s currently got going on the streets of Hollywood, as a producer. Why, oh why, can’t Neil be the new “American Idol” judge when Simon leaves, not icky Howard Stern?… But, we digress….)
“You know the reason celebrities have publicists is not so they can speak, but to shut them up,” Shankman wryly states. “Twitter has shown us how easy it is for celebrities to get drunk and say something stupid and make fools of themselves. It’s also shown us those who do a really good job of posting things — very funny things, edgy things, subtly promotional things. They’re not taking pictures of themselves topless and posting them like Lindsay Lohan.” Talk about a Twitpic.
Shankman also names director/choreographer/ producer Adam Shankman — “same name, no relation” — as an able Twitterer. And, not surprisingly, Ashton Kutcher. “He and Demi Moore did something very funny a couple of weeks ago. They were deciding what to have for dinner by writing on their arms and taking pictures and posting them.”
On the other hand, as Twitter followers know all too well, there are those who are already wearing out their welcome with mindless, disjointed chatter.
“There is this concept of oversharing. Way too many people overshare,” Shankman believes. “But the beauty of it is, people will only follow you if they’re interested in what you’re sharing, so it’s going to become harder and harder to overshare.”
Also, “We’re starting to see people who are taking payments from sponsors to Tweet,” Shankman adds. But those who are too blatantly trying to use Twitter for advertising may find themselves quickly dropped by followers, including him.
How did he get all his followers? “I wish I knew, because God knows it’s not about my looks,” insists the triathlete and skydiver, obviously not wanting to give away his secrets. Of course, his HARO site offers an ingenious service, bringing together media people who need expert information, and experts who need media exposure.
Of his personal messages, be they Tweets or Status Updates, he says, “I always add value for people to enjoy.” Indeed, Shankman’s missives are filled with funny bits and pieces of wisdom. “It’s not what people can do for you, it’s what you can do for people,” he says.
And, you want your words to carry from follower to follower to follower. As he notes, “The value of Twitter lies in the reTweet.”