I’ve been spending a lot of time with my new friend Jane Fonda, who is all over the place these days as she gets ready for her first Broadway show in 46 years, “33 Variations.”
One day recently, Jane twittered me -- me! -- about her new unctuously headlined press release, which was largely about a "social media evangelist" (his wording) named James Andrews.
Now La Fonda has started to “follow” me on Twitter. So I know her middle name is Seymour and that she thinks about her Dad a lot, particularly backstage while she’s readying to star in the new vehicle.
But then I see these same comments in printed interviews, too, and I am starting to wonder... Am I being hoodwinked?
Jane, is it really you out there?
Stars cannot just show up online and expect to succeed. It takes work! Social media means getting to know someone—not faking it like celebrities always do.
The idea of social media types helping stars infiltrate the Twitterati is probably what we’ll be dealing with for years to come. You’ve got to figure that the smarty-pants who can put their thoughts (or someone else’s) on the Web plan to make a lot of money with celebs. Take the dude who works for Britney Spears, who posted an ad online recently asking for someone to “handle all social media aspects” of her life.
Granted, sometimes the messages seem like the actual senders’: Shaq tweeting obliquely “any 1 touches me say yur twit gets 2 tickets… gotta touch my right shoulder!” Or Lance telling us “OMFG, my bike got stolen.”
No doubt publicists are going nuts having to compete with a social media warts-and-all world.
But alas, that’s where we are, watching stars (or their social mediators) tell us things we really do not want to know (“Seymour?”) and making us wonder if Ashton Kutcher is as dumb as he seems on his blog. (That's not possible. Is it?)
Whether they participate directly or not, social media is only the latest in a long list of online attention-getting vehicles for stars. (Lest you forget, stars are actors -- so which one of them are you dealing with at any time? And celebrities are being looked at all the time. They get used to it. I hasten to add, most crave it.)
I remember how a few years ago, the dude from semi-successful regulation pop band Fall Out Boy went for the attention button and pretended that a friend took a picture of the FOB’s penis (don’t ask what he was doing to get the shot) and sent it around on the Web. A lot of us PR kinds watched with sideways glee. Would this stunt blow up in the FOB’s, er, face? But it did not. He married Jessica Simpson’s sister and now hosts VH-1 shows. I don’t think he’s in the band full-time now!
Since those days, it seems a lot of stars who used to show up crapped out at parties to get attention (Tara? You listening?) simply send an emissary online to rant and get play for giving away “secrets.”
Gee whiz, Nicole Richie is pregnant! So her husband “Joel” told us on his weekly podcast. Oh look, there’s an Oscar winner talking about how heavy the award is on her Plurk feed. The social media evangelists sure know how to work us.
And yet, back to Jane. I’m sure that guy on the press release will be upset to hear someone has figured out that we’re being played -- or is it that she’s being played by him? It’s all kind of awkward and confusing.
In the end, it does not matter, because Jane is back and she’s a treasure. I know Ted Turner misses her a lot, while he tours the country these days in support of his new and expensive autobiography.
How can I be sure? He mentioned it on a post a couple of seconds ago.
— Richard Laermer, CEO, RLM PR