Once upon a time in a faraway land I like to call “The Early 1980s,” when a celebrity’s career had reached the end of the road, there were a fewÂ avenues open to them if they wished to remain in the spotlight. There were game shows like “$25,000 Pyramid,” or selling exercise equipment, or being a guest star on “Murder She Wrote.” Other than that, the prospects of hanging onto fame were slim to none.
Today, however, thanks largely in part to reality television and the Internet, celebrities can continue to stay in the public eye regardless of whether they’ve produced anything of any merit in the last fifteen years or not. A recent Twitter battle between Kim Kardashian and Demi Moore nicely illustrates this point. The reality television star and the Twitter den mother (and former box office beauty) exchanged an online war of words over the usage of the slang word “pimpin’.” By yesterday, word of the spat hit wire services and a full-blown story about nothing of any real consequence became a tasty tidbit of celebrity gossip. Likewise, this week’s news of Ricky Martin’s announcement that he is gay picked up major steam, and links, thanks to Twitter. Since the announcement, the Latin singer has become a top trending topic on Twitter as well as one of Google’s most searched celebrities. This is remarkable considering it has been a long long time since any of us were jamming out to “Livin’ la Vida Loca.” Lastly, Miley Cyrus announced, with the kind of drama only a 17-year-old could muster up, that she was quitting Twitter and perhaps music forever, only to show regret later via her blog about having made the comments.
All of this Tweeting back and forth amongst and about stars whose talents and artistic contributions may be questionable at best definitely confirms Twitter as today’s PR heavy hitter. Tweeting is now the instant way to confirm or deny rumors, plug upcoming projects, and to create buzz where there may otherwise have been none. It really doesn’t seem to matter whether the star in question, or their faithful assistant, posted the Tweets. We, the public, want the dish from the source – and want it now – so Twitter offers instant celeb gratification.
We’ve seen this happen with companies and products on Twitter since 2007. The one-stop PR destination to get the word out has done magic for everything from makeup lines to taco trucks. Even older brands that were stuck in dead-end imaging problems have found new life via Twitter.
This being said, Twitter is not the end of the social media marketing or public relations rainbow. I believe Tweeting is just the tip of the iceberg in PR. The old-fashioned press releases, new-fangled Facebook fan pages, and linkable blogs are just as important, if not as instant. Strong brands and celebrities, for that matter, seem to have mastered all forms of social media PR. The only real difference between now and the early 80s is that if you feel inclined to sell, say, a Buttmaster, you have a million ways to do it.