kanye-westNot too long ago, another celebrity decided to join Twitter. Nothing unusual there. That celeb’s name was Kanye West, and what is interesting is his unique approach to Twitter.

Instead of the usual celebrity tactic of following showbiz pals and huge brands, Kanye decided that the Twitterer he was most interested in was Steven Holmes. Kanye followed him, and only him. 

You might not have heard of Steven, and it’s not that surprising. If you have heard of him, then I’m assuming it’s because you’re in one of his classes in Coventry, since Steven is an unassuming student with no particular claim to fame or knowledge of Kanye West.

Of course, this kind of attention from a major celebrity is the stuff of marketer’s dreams: free publicity on a massive scale.

However, there is an important lesson here.

Most (if not all) of Kanye’s followers – bordering on half a million – have no interest at all in Steven, and after an unending stream of tweets from people trying to use him as a conduit to the R&B star or trying to find out the latest news about the upcoming ‘Good Ass Job’ album he’s already sick of his minor celebrity.

steven-holmes-twitterSteven’s problem is one that needs to resonate with marketers.

Building a massive audience isn’t all-important unless they are interested in you. If they are adding you to bump up their own numbers  then they’re completely useless.

If they’re consistent spammers then they’re downright annoying and will quickly make your stream unusable. Follow and follow back judiciously, and set filters on your stream so you can weed out the important content.

Steven Holmes is a rather unfortunate victim of circumstance (although word is he's been offered some free soft drinks...), and no word has been forthcoming from Kanye as to why he’s singled Holmes out for attention, but the fact remains that he’s still receiving thousands of poorly composed tweets on a daily basis, not to mention a fair proportion of Kanye-hate mail that do him no good whatsoever.

It seems in the world of Twitter, fame is a double-edged sword, and one that highlights the need for marketers to understand exactly who they are following and why.  

Matt Owen

Published 5 August, 2010 by Matt Owen

Matt Owen is a marketing consultant based in London. He was previously Head of Social at Econsultancy and currently runs Atomise Marketing. Opinions expressed are author's own.

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Comments (1)


Depesh Mandalia, CEO & Founder at SM Commerce

to be fair kanye was probably having a laugh with no intent on followup or has been advised to create a publicity stunt to increase his own followers in the hope that someone else might be picked. the poor guy Steven's nothing more than bait, a puppet to the kanye entourage

almost 8 years ago

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