Celebrities and Social Media: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Earlier this week, Kelly Clarkson took to Who Say, Facebook and her blog to challenge Clive Davis’s account of their working relationship in his new memoir, “The Soundtrack of My Life.” Clarkson claims the music mogul’s description of her “feels like a violation” and that she refuses to be “bullied” by Davis. This is the latest chapter in the ongoing case study of celebrities using social media to air their grievances and feuds with other artists.

It’s no secret that social media has changed the landscape in which we connect with one another. For the first time, “common folk” have direct access to their favorite actors, musicians and politicians through social media platforms such as Twitter and Who Say. At the same time, with this direct lifeline to the pulse of their success (i.e. fan base), celebrities often use social media to act as their own publicists and address issues often involving other artists. Today, Our Space examines three cases in which celebrities use social media for the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good: Conan O’Brien   

Our Space Team CoCoIn 2009, Conan O’Brien negotiated a new contract with NBC. As part of the deal, the writer/comedian would leave Late Night with Conan O’Brien and takeover The Tonight Show from Jay Leno. Six months after his debut, NBC proposed moving The Tonight Show from its 60 year historical 11:35 p.m. time slot to 12:05 a.m. in order to accommodate The Jay Leno Show and its flailing prime time ratings. On January 12, 2010 O’ Brien released this statement: “I sincerely believe that delaying The Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t The Tonight Show.” Incidentally, O’Brien exited The Tonight Show 10 days later.

On February 24, 2010, O’Brien started a Twitter account and issued his first public statements since leaving The Tonight Show one month earlier. In less than two hours, O’Brien’s subscriber list was on the brink of surpassing 50,000 followers. To demonstrate their loyalty, fans quickly adopted the nickname O’Brien acquired in a sketch that aired during his 2nd episode of The Tonight Show and created the popular trending hashtag, #TeamCoco- one went so far as to register the TeamCoCo.com domain to reserve for the digital team. O’Brien seized the opportunity and the site launched along the
effectively sold out “The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television” 30-city tour.

 

The Bad: Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher learned the hard way to get the facts straight before firing off an angry tweet. Kutcher took to Twitter to express his anger at the firing of Penn State’s head football coach, Joe Paterno: “How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste.” Subsequently, it was his fans who found his tweet to be in poor taste (given the circumstances of Paterno’s dismissal) and Kutcher turned his Twitter account over to his media management company.

 

 

 

 

The Ugly: Anthony Weiner

Our Space Anthony WeinerOn May 27, 2011, Democratic U.S. Congressman (NY) Anthony Weiner, used his Twitter account to send a picture of his erect penis to a 21-year old woman from Seattle.  After several days of denying reports that he had posted the image, he admitted to sending the photo and other sexually explicit images and messages to women before and during his marriage.  As a result of the sexting scandal, Weiner announced his attention to resign from Congress on June 16, 2011.

 

Cover Photo Source: StephenMitchell via Flickr
Photo Source 1: The World Famous Comedy Store via Flickr
Photo Source 2: Talk Radio News Service via Flickr

Ebonne Just is an Account Supervisor at SJG. Originally from Omaha, NE- Ebonne received her BA in Marketing Communications from Columbia College Chicago. In her spare time she enjoys reading, cooking, listening to old records and supporting the Nebraska Cornhusker football team.