The Best — and Worst — Celebrity Tweeters

Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris

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.”

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About Stacy Jenel Smith

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley when it was a kids' Shangri La in the 60s and we had Fabulous Eddie's miniature golf and trampolines on Ventura Boulevard. My big brother frequented The Third Eye psychedelic shop back in the day, but he wound up turning out anyway. Dad was an NBC video man who worked on "Laugh-In," Dean Martin's show, and specials by everyone from Sinatra to Fred Astaire. Mom was a first class home maker and PTA and GCA volunteer. They're still doing great. Anxious to get going in life, I quit college and jumped into journalism when I was still a teenager, and was writing for the New York Times syndicate and People magazine before turning 20. But that was a long time, many adventures, lots of traveling around the world and thousands of interviews ago. I go back to the very last days of hot type and getting to talk to Henry Fonda and Bette Davis, and Sammy Davis at the old Brown Derby...What a ride. That's in no small part thanks to my amazing writing partner, Marilyn Beck, one of the grand old-school Hollywood columnist stars -- a true star -- who knows how to do it right. I'm lucky, for sure. Now is fun, too. I love going out to events with my 17-year-old daughter (Jonas Brothers!). Seeing everything fresh through her eyes renews my excitement about the game. In-between I went back and finished school -- University of Redlands -- married, divorced, and at long last found my true love. My favorite things outside of the show business realm are being with my family, my faith and spiritual growth, learning new things (from doing Qigong to uploading stuff on Facebook), and running. See you on the trail.

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