Celebrities and the power of Twitter

Brian McFadden and Delta Goodrem

My favourite news story of the week down under, concerns our ex-Westlife friend Brian McFadden.
Brian’s actually been something of a favourite over here in recent years – he’s dating the nation’s sweetheart Delta Goodrem, has had his singles top the Australian charts (yes, really), and is even a host on Australia’s Got Talent.

But finally, sense has prevailed and the Australians are seeing Brian in a more realistic light. His latest single ‘Just the way you are (drunk at the bar)’ has caused huge controversy when listeners to the song suggested the lyrics were encouraging date rape.

In his typical classy style, Brian tried to defend himself on twitter. Unable to see a way out and in a series of cringeworthy tweets he announced that he didn’t want his song played on the radio and he would instead donate all proceeds to charity.

Putting the lyrics of song aside (because I couldn’t face putting myself through a listen), it’s not the first time Brian’s taken to twitter to defend himself. Last year, he let a feud with his ex-wife spill onto his tweets, and he has also stated he doesn’t want ‘ugly followers’ to his twitter site.

Time and time again, Brian actually creates the news story himself by engaging in a debate which should otherwise have been managed through a timely and considered press statement. Not ad-hoc, reactive and rash thought-streams.

Twitter seems to have opened a channel of communication to celebrities, where before a publicist, a manager or an agent would stand between them and the general public. In some respects, it is quite refreshing to hear a personal view, rather than the same rehearsed spin from a press office. But, when reputations begin to be damaged and sales start to fall, these people will find they have the same responsibilities to their job as the rest of us and will have to face up to their employers as their careers start to fall apart.

Celebrities need to realise the power of twitter, but also the responsibility that comes with using it as a tool to communicate. Brian McFadden may be hitting the news this week, but he is just one of many celebrities and sporting stars who have found out the hard way that whilst twitter might help raise a profile, in the wrong hands it can potentially ruin it too.

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