Celebrities and social media seem to go together like cheese and wine for good reason: social media is one of the most powerful mediums for celebrities to connect with fans, increase their visibility and maintain their personal brands. Oh, and stoke their egos.
From Ashton Kutcher to Lindsay Lohan, Michael Phelps to Shaquille O'Neal (oh, and Kanye West), the celebrities you love (or love to hate) are increasingly on Facebook, Twitter and other popular social media platforms. But that doesn't mean that everyone in Hollywood is starstruck with poking and tweeting.
George Clooney certainly isn't. When asked by People.com recently about Facebook at the Toronto International Film Festival, Clooney wasn't shy about expressing his true feelings:
I would rather have a prostate exam on live television by a guy with very cold hands than have a Facebook page.
While I'm sure that there are some network television execs who would love to make that happen, Clooney is making an important point: social media isn't for everyone.
Social Media Can Be a Prostate Exam
It's easy to write Clooney off as one a Hollywood elite who just 'doesn't get it'. But that wouldn't be a valid criticism in my opinion. Clooney is one of the most successful men in Hollywood and his popularity isn't waning just because he isn't on Facebook.
For some celebrities, social media is a wonderful tool. Ashton Kutcher and Shaquille O'Neal, for instance, are avid Twitter users. While it helps them connect with their fans and has boosted their visibility online, it's also clear that they enjoy using Twitter personally. And that's precisely why they've attracted attention and fans. They're real, they're having fun and it shows.
For celebrities who aren't inclined to 'socialize' online, however, any use of social media is probably about as enjoyable as an uncomfortable medical procedure. After all, if a celebrity isn't going to get some enjoyment out of participating in using social media platforms, there are only two real possibilities:
- Set up a social media presence just so you can say you're on [insert service name here] and then let it languish.
- Outsource your presence to a 20-something social media manager/intern who plays you on Facebook, Twitter, et. al.
Neither works well. In the case of the former, one eventually asks "What's the point? I look like crap". In the case of the latter, users usually pick up on the lack of authenticity.
Anything Worth Doing is Worth Doing Well
Bottom line: social media is no different than any other endeavor. If you're going to half-ass it, stay home. And that's precisely why George Clooney isn't leaving his Lake Como villa.
Increasingly, I think more celebrities will probably want to consider doing the same. Nobody should be using social media just for the sake of using social media. When social media was new and there was something really cool about a celebrity interacting with fans in an open medium, use of social media alone meant something. But it doesn't anymore. The A-list, B-list, C-list and D-list are all a few clicks away. Celebrities I've never even heard of are on Facebook and Twitter.
15 Minutes of Shame
It's worth considering that in Hollywood, those who are able to earn more than 15 minutes of fame do so by being unique, creative and, most importantly, themselves. Each year thousands of people make their way to Los Angeles looking for 15 minutes of fame. Ironically, busloads of Hollywood celebrities who have already found it have flocked to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and just about every other social media hangout where a few fans might lurk. Looking for 15 minutes of social media fame. Or shame.
As with Hollywood, only a few have the right stuff and the right motivation to make it. George Clooney has decided he isn't one of them. Somehow I suspect he'll live with that.
Photo credit: mrvmedia via Flickr.