10 Lessons Celebrities Need to Learn About Twitter

[ 42 ] January 8, 2013 |

The other night, I got into it with a celebrity on Twitter over a question I asked. I won’t get into details because it really went from 0-60 and it was disappointing and made me become less of a fan of someone whose work I really respected and really liked.

What I came away with was the reminder that Twitter is a communication tool that requires good communication skills to be used effectively. Celebrities and public figures need to be very conscious of their interactions with fans and recognizers alike because Twitter has come to be their main representations online. How they conduct themselves in these 140-character bites shouldn’t be taken lightly because in a worst-case scenario, they can turn off their most die-hard fans in one measly tweet.

There are some lessons that all celebrities (and really, people in general) need to learn about Twitter.

10 Lessons Celebrities Must Learn About Twitter

1. Your tweets are under a microscope. 

As someone who is famous, with thousands and millions of fans, you should know that your tweets are under a microscope. Even if regular people’s aren’t, yours are. It comes with your territory as a celebrity. People will dissect your words because your life is up for greater scrutiny. Is it fair? No. Is it what you should consider a by-product of your job that you must deal with? Yes. Consider it an occupational hazard.

Oh, and remember that every public tweet is archived by the Library of Congress.

2. Be social on Twitter. This means don’t just throw out tweets but respond to some.

Twitter is supposed to be a conversation, not a monologue. If all you do is tweet your own words, without ever replying to people, you look like a self-centered egomaniac. No one likes someone who just talks instead of listens.

3. Learn to distinguish between trolls and people who are trying to engage you in conversation.

There are trolls online. These are the people whose only point is to get people riled up, to say shockingly negative things and to just piss you off and ruin your day. There is no shortage of trolls on Twitter. As someone who is famous, you will have many trolls in your mentions but you will also have people who are just trying to engage you in conversation. They might ask you questions but some people really suck at words so they might come across as shadeful. You need to figure out who the trolls are and who the curious folks are and deal with it accordingly.

Folks have really showed out and lost out on the chance to really connect with fans by placing everyone in the troll box. Take the time to figure out who is who.

haters gon hate sarabi gif

Fly above ALLA haters.

4. Don’t feed the trolls.

Now, if you do know who’s a troll and who’s not, make the decision not to feed the trolls. This means you do not engage them in any way. You do not respond to them and give them the attention they need because they will only multiply. Like the eGremlins they are. DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS. You’re giving them what they want and that is your time. They don’t deserve it. Ignore them and keep it moving. Also, use your block button.

5. Don’t use Twitter as your therapist couch.

You should NOT use Twitter like it’s a leather couch at your Psychologist and Psychiatrist’s office. No one should really, but as a celebrity, you really can’t afford to do that. I’m looking at you, Kanye. Remember that folks are always watching and they’re looking to use this against you, TMZ takes no time off and neither do bloggers who are waiting to talk about how manic you seemed the night before.

6. Don’t tweet things that you will need to delete later.

On the topic of being emotional and making bad decisions, don’t tweet when you’re incredibly mad or sad. If you’re having a bad day, Twitter is not the place to be. What ends up happening is celebrities will shoot off a series of tweets, sometimes about someone they’re beefing with and act a complete fool. Throwing a massive online tantrum for 3 million fans to see is not the move.

Panda Tantrum gif

Don’t do the verbal version of this.

Then afterwards, they’ll say they were hacked and delete the offending tweets later. But everyone already got screenshots of it so those tweets still get attention and they get embarrassed. And we all wonder where their PR person is.

Don’t be that person. If you say something, stick with it. Deleting tweets is like walking in a crowded room naked, then running back out to put on clothes. We already saw your goodie bits and some of us even took a picture so the damage is done.

7. Do the opposite of everything Chris Brown does on Twitter.

Think of anything Chris Brown has ever done on Twitter. And do the exact opposite. In every situation, ask yourself “What Would Breezy Do?” and go the other direction. It’ll serve you very well.

8. Your tweets will dictate public opinion on you. They become a crucial part of your brand.

When you spend enough time on Twitter, your tweets start to paint a picture of who you really are. If people only know your work before, Twitter introduces them to your actual personality. So it’s only natural that your tweets get people to think of you in a certain way. They will either strengthen your current brand or create a new idea of you. Celebrities who we know and love on-screen or on stage are either excelling and being loved more or shooting themselves in their foot in 140 characters.

Tyra Rooting For You gif

I can’t tell you how many celebs who I love have been ruined on Twitter for me. Folks who I’ve adored over the years because of their work I’m no longer fans of too many people because of their tweets. Finding out your favorite can’t spell, or is a douchebag, or a racist idiot is incredibly disappointing. Twitter has killed the celebrity’s star.

9. You might make mistakes. Own up to them.

If there does come a time when you misstep on Twitter, the best thing you can do is hold yourself accountable for the mistake. And own up to it. Celebrities need to stop using the “I was hacked” excuse, first of all. It’s weak. Most of the time they say it, we know it’s not true. It’s cowardice. Just say you momentarily lost your mind and filter and couth and you’re sorry for making the mistake. We’ll respect you more for the apology than the shirking of responsibility. Just say sorry.

10. Your fans really do love you. Connect with them.

Twitter is a great way to forge greater connections with your fans. You can talk directly to the people who’ve supported your work over the years. Never has this been so easy, so celebrities should take advantage of it. This isn’t saying that they need to reply to everyone who sends them a tweet. No. That is actually impossible to do. I’m not a celebrity and my mentions go nuts sometimes and I can really only respond to a small percent of what I get so I can only imagine what famous people deal with.

What I mean is that you at least take the time to reply to 5 people a day (if they’re on Twitter that day). Just 5 people. It shows that you are listening a little, and hearing from you might make those 5 people’s day.

Also related, when a fan asks you a specific question about your work, don’t tell them to Google it. Realize that it’s an opportunity to market yourself and repeat information to people who want to know.

Twitter is a tool but don’t be a tool on it. Put your best foot forward and realize that every tweet you send out can potentially be seen by millions. If you’re famous or represent an entity that’s greater than you, you should be extra cognizant of how you’re coming across. Don’t burn bridges, don’t be a complete asshole and don’t give your publicist a heart attack by doing the most with the least.

Be humble. Be human. Be interesting.

And all will be well.

drops mic gif

Any other lessons that celebrities need to learn on Twitter? Which of these do you think is most important?


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Category: Famous folks, Social Media

Comments (42)

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  1. Amber says:

    You nailed it with this one, Luvvie! I agree that some celebrities feel that everyone wants to antagonize them (as was the case from the incident you mentioned); and that’s simply not true! Social media is just that: be social(ble) online. Period.

  2. So no tea with this knowlagble and instightful post?

    • Luvvie says:

      What tea you looking for?

      • inquiringminds says:

        We wanted to know who dun made you mad. I loved this, you hit all the points. My question is why does it take your genius mind to articulate this? I’m not a celebrity, but I’m in a public profession and know DAMB well not to do none of this.

  3. I totally agree with this list. I would add that they should not search their name if they cannot handle feedback and trolls without throwing a hissy fit. If you MUST respond, learn how to do it without looking like a fooldog.

    • Luvvie says:

      YES!!! It’s such a bad idea for celebs to search their own names. As if they don’t get enough feedback in their @replies. Doing a name search is nothing but trouble.

    • Wendi B says:

      I think this is what led to Jermaine Jacksun (nee Jackson) blocking me, even though I wasn’t following him in the first place. I decided to search his name to see what comes up, and… well… I don’t recommend he does it again if he doesn’t want his feelings hurt.

  4. nichole says:

    A great post especially in light of what transpired the other evening.

    I’ve always found Twitter to be a perfect tool for engagement. If a celeb doesn’t want to engage, their perfect medium is a website where they can share what they want and not hear what their fans have to say.

    We’ve seen it happen too many times when a celeb forgets their brand and their bad behavior affects their career. How they interact with a fan can determine if they are marketable in particular tv show or movie.

    And if you still have fans of your show after it has gotten a multitude of press (often negative) during the last year, cultivate those fans. After what happened, I’m truly believing the media hype about problems on the set and behind the scenes. Too bad

    • Luvvie says:

      YUP! IF you don’t wanna talk to nobody then don’t be on Twitter. It’s that simple.

      • LizzyizDizzy says:

        Something I wanted to add and thought it fit the unfortunate situation from the other night. As a celeb, you might get asked the same question a few times. If there is a way to display the information to cut down on the questions, say in a twitter bio (“show” is scheduled to return “date”. Stay tuned for updates!), do that. And specifically for YNB, her show has been hanging on by a thread because of fans like you and I who have been devoted watchers when NBC was ready to cancel. You’d think one wouldn’t be so arrogant/flippant when responding to a fan.

    • Jennifer says:

      Unfortunately this celebrity didn’t think her behavior was in any way negative and spent WAY more characters defending herself and making excuses for her bad behavior than it would have taken to answer (or ignore) the question in the first place. This post needs to be printed by every PR firm that reps folks with a Twitter handle and put in a handbook or something. Seriously.

      • Max says:

        Word. I had to unfollow when that mess started. If she had owned up to it I would’ve been cool but if you can’t be a grown ass woman and say you were wrong then I can’t mess with you.

        • Trianna says:

          If you are as sick as she allegedly was, why are you on twitter? When I’m sick I’m cranky so I keep to myself. She was nasty.

  5. Taj Mahal says:

    *slow clap*

    MESSAGE!

    And those gifs…LOL

    I don’t know what it is about people in bear suits doing crazy stuff that sends me over the cackle cliff, but that panda…! LOL

  6. Katrina says:

    Adding on to #2 if I may. Responding to fans means not just RTing all and only the positive tweets fans tweet to you, but actually responding to fans. Like you said it’s a conversation, so converse with your fans. Don’t just sit back and RT all the wonderful things fans tweet just to show how many people love you.

  7. muyiwa says:

    True, true. However, I follow a couple of comedians online who famously don’t @ anyone or respond to anything, but it works for them

    @stephenathome
    @stevemartintogo
    @conanobrien

    Now one of my favorite follows is the rapper
    @JeanGreasy – she’ll respond to anyone and interacts like CRAZY – her humor isn’t for everyone, but I love it. She crushes fools online.

  8. saitonne says:

    *slow clap*
    It’s election year here so you best believe we have politicians and even ministers acting a fool on Twitter.

    Worst still are the celebs. I’m bookmarking this to tweet them this anytime they step out of their lanes.

    The funniest is the hacked excuse a Kenyan celeb accidentally tweeted her number and instead of instantly deleting tweeted that she’d been hacked. What was funnier is that someone used th mobile money service we have to transfer money to the number and apparently confirmed it was her. ( each transaction types out govt names)
    She might have to change her number tho. *shrugs*

  9. Ayana says:

    ask yourself “What Would Breezy Do?” and go the other direction. It’ll serve you very well. <—- Sound advice. SOUND AD-VICE!

  10. Windycity_Peach says:

    This is an amazing post. I think celebs searching their names is like high fiving yourself in the face. It’s so TIRED!

    I had a certain celeb/new correspondent who happens to be very vocal during election time (yeah him) respond to a comment I made about him. I was so shocked when he was in my mentions but the tweet taken completely out of context but was also 5 days after I had tweeted it. Like you said, I was confused with a “troll” and he tried to lure me into an argument. Nope. Not this one.

    At the end of the day the celeb looks like an idiot and their star begins to dim. I do accept that they are in fact regular people but they are ALWAYS in the public eye. What I have found is the stars that are more “regular people” like on twitter and more interactive with their fans “star” shines brighter than those who do not.

  11. Tiffany says:

    Can I say this is why I appreciate Beyonce. She’s tweeted like 4 times or something, her PR team KNOWS better. She has carefully cultivated an image over a decade or more and is not about to let twitter mess it up for her. I realize celebs who are on the come up now need Twitter and other social media to be relevant, whereas Beyonce came up in a different era, but PR is your friend! I mean messy ol Kim K. and her family CLEARLY have good PR because they stay on social media, and have only let it enhance their celeb status. Celebs need to take lessons from Beyonce, Kim K, and you Luvvie, because they will only be expected to engage more and more through social media as time goes on.

  12. Chicken Maaaan says:

    I agree on all points. I have to say about that Tyra gif, is it possible that she looks even hotter when angry? I was like damn!

  13. yeah, i agree. to put it succinctly, the main thing is to not be an asshole. i mean, who cares if u keep stressing, “i really try not to be rude to ppl…” if you’re clearly telling ppl to go google something for the love of god..smh. not being a jerk to your fan base is important. who knew?

  14. M says:

    If you are sending this as a handbook can you share the difference between connecting with fans and overwhelming their timelines? When one is live tweeting an event or show there’s bound to be a large volume and I’m ok with that (even if I don’t watch show) but I’ve had to unfollow some folks because of the non stop responding to everything.

    I think some celebrities need to figure out if Twitter is the right venue or if they need to move back to FB/fan page/blog for all of that extended “talking”. My entire TL shouldn’t be filled with your announcements or endless promotions for an event happening in June.

    • M says:

      Forgot to add I am SO proud of you for the way you handled the original situation. As Mother Maya said when someone shows you who they are believe them. All the backtracking and explanations afterwards shows exactly who she is and I’m not here for it at all.

  15. Just Peachy says:

    I know who “THAT” person was! I only followed up with a tweet saying I would have just ignored the tweet, and that heifer blocked me. I wasn’t following her anyway NOR had I heard of the show until then. Needless to say, I definitely won’t watch now! She came across to me as a total B-I-T-C-H. I did notice she played a pound puppy before, maybe that’s her niche. Teehee

  16. saro says:

    Yvette Nicole Brown is the best at Twitter, I think. I loved her on Community before but now I love her, she is a ‘friend in my head’!!!

    Oh, and I saw a woman walking around with a red flannel blanket and I thought, “Lenny, this is your fault.”

  17. Ah, the irony of this comment right above mine ;) Proud of you, Luvvie – you handled yourself in just the manner I’d expect of someone who will be a Hollywood power player herself one day. Fly with that head held high, Nala! xx

  18. Annette says:

    Preach it!

  19. Flyy says:

    You know who I think handles twitter well? Chrissy Teigen (John Legend’s fiancee). I didn’t even know who Chrissy was prior to Twitter. However, I think she follows all of your rules to the letter. She interacts, is sociable, let’s her personality shine through… but knows how to clip up someone disrespecting her without feeding the trolls. I stan for Chrissy! Lol.

  20. CityGirl81 says:

    Luvvie,

    I have been lurking, but this post and then reading the exchange I was floored. The initial response was RUDE, plain and simple and the follow ups were even worse! I don’t even know who said person is, but that was NOT the way to handle that! You handled that better than most!

  21. NeicyRox says:

    I didn’t really want nothing but to say that the “Edison, Out!” .gif from Community is everything.

    Community is everything.

    ok,bye.

  22. Wendi B says:

    There are also those celebs who suddenly develop personalities and remember how to tweet only when they have something new to promote.

  23. LB says:

    She was super rude. I’d be thrilled to know someone was interested in my show. Also, even us non celebs have to sometimes put up with an annoying facebook post or tweet from an acquaintance or friend. Solution to that is not putting them on blast (can you imagine how arrogant it would sound if someone asked the average person ‘where do you work again?” and she answered “oh my gosh look me up on linked in why dont you? we NEED to do better!” um, we need to do better with voting, knowing our rights when pulled over, getting involved in local volunteering…..not knowing when a show is going to come back on.

    The whole one sided conversation thing is advice some non celebs could take as well. I have an awful lot of facebook friends who think it’s totally acceptable to just listen to themselves talk on fb but never interact with anyone else.

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