Celebrities Embrace Web 2.0 and Twitter

Last few months web 2.0 has been supporting social media revolutions taking place in the Middle East, while in the West we have seen it used by celebrities like Charlie Sheen to tweet out their angst or in the case of Australian cricketer Shane Warne and Liz Hurley have seen them play out their love story though now it ex lovers. The British newspapers were filled with the revelations that Liz and Shane were seeing each other as they were @ it (sorry for the pun). The shock wasn't that they were having an affair; just that they were having one in a very open way.

Celebrities have embraced web 2.0 and social media outlets like Twitter, making it easy for fans to establish a connection with their favourite stars. What has been interesting about Warne and Hurley is how they used Twitter to begin their public soap opera without the input of salacious celebrity magazines like Ok! Magazine or Grazia. Fiona McIntosh, foundling editor of Grazia says, "That's what was so extraordinary...just how open they were in their tweeting. Maybe they were carried away in the first flash of love. That's what I'm not sure about, if it was a strategy or not."

Meanwhile, Warne and Hurley went silent for over a month and if they were in contact, they were doing it the old fashioned way. Yet by 27 January things changed and were back on web 2.0 tweeting out their affections again. This time round they were more direct and open than before, as we learnt that Hurley was planning a trip to see Warne and when Hurley did arrive in Australia, Warne asked his 330,000 follower, "Where is the sexiest place to take Elizabeth for lunch ?" We now knew that their tweets were intentional and that they knew the attention their tweets were attracting. The question is, why?

The answer simple; PR; it sells. By using web 2.0 and Twitter, Hurley and Warne were taking the power away from journalists; one of the biggest gripes that stars have, stories about them that are not only damaging, but also not true. Twitter is a way for celebrities to feel empowered, though Twitter has as many pitfalls due to the legal risks of tweeting. If a star wants to slap an injunction on a story about their private life, a judge would look less favourably on their request if they had been regularly tweeting about their private lives.

Perhaps the web 2.0 Twitter's appeal for Hurley and Warne is commercial rather than social; as they're both trying to sell something; Hurley's her bikinis and organic snacks, while for Warne's it is advertising an online poker company. It has worked: Hurley’s Twitter following has almost doubled from 50,000 in December to now over 90,000. Though her romance with Warne hasn't been so successful, on Valentine's Day! Hurley tweeted, “Remember, love is like a rollercoaster ride sometimes it's exhilarating but sometimes u feel sick and want to get off."

Photo Credit: dno1967b