The most followed person on Twitter is Katy Perry. The second most followed is Justin Bieber. In fact out of the top 20 most followed on Twitter, 15 of them are celebrities. Society’s obsession with celebrity culture is alive and kicking on the world’s most popular micro-blogging site.
For celebrities that gained fame by offline means, Twitter is used a tool of self-promotion, a means by which they can continue to market themselves when not acting/singing/modelling etc. The platform seemingly provides a glimpse into celebrity lives, allowing their followers to interact by commenting, favouriting and retweeting. The scale that which celebrity tweets are retweeted by followers is excessive. Let’s use one of Katy Perry’s latest tweets as an example;
🐠🐟Had a magical dinner with the tour watching the natural choreography of the beautiful sea life in… https://t.co/JYX1ZX9lFX
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) May 13, 2015
This banal comment has been (at time of writing) favourited 6,923 times and retweeted 3,313 times. All for a sentence about someone’s dinner. Whilst Twitter’s celebrity focus may seem harmless, it still tends to lend authority to the (usually subjective, sometimes harmful) words of the rich and famous.
Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he’s Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise.
— Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) February 13, 2012
In Twitter’s defense, it also hosts a vast number of accounts focused on science, education, news, charities etc. Let’s hope that in the future more attention is paid to the 140 characters of accounts such as NASA, Malala Yousafzai or National Geographic than the 140 characters of celebrities.