A recently tweeted article is the prompt for this blog. In short the article said that Ellen DeGeneres was using the feature list function at Twitter to manipulate other users into following her. The end purpose of this no doubt is exposure/ self promotion ultimately translating into bargaining power come $ contract time. You can read the article here: http://bit.ly/1ajkxR
That DeGeneres or any other “celebrity” has the right to promote their product or themselves is not in question. It is the underhanded manipulation of a star struck public that is wrong. That a “social networking” site like Twitter is the instrument used for this self promotion is also wrong. These social sites are for the purpose of connecting, expressing, making friends. They are the greatest of opportunities for people to unite in friendship and self expression. For them to be used as commercial vehicles of exploitation or money spinning ventures is to pervert this purpose.
It also speaks loudly of what is happening to society in general. Think in terms of the new demi-gods: those ordinary people whom other “ordinary” people place on pedestals for the two fold purpose of hero worship and identity. Celebrities are indeed ordinary people. Ordinary people with hundreds of thousands of followers? With the benefit of scripting, production and direction, lighting, make up, marketing and advertising they of course become something else. They become idols for worship.
People seem to have a deep psychological need to put something or someone above themselves, or conversely place themselves under or below. Some fans do the fan thing simply for fun and nothing more, but for the majority of fans, celebrity worship is a way of life. A substitute for their own lives. It is instrumental in creating their own identity and building ego via an imagined umbilical cord with their idol. Most people at Twitter, for instance, follow their fav celebs in the desperate hope that the star will tweet back to them. The fan-celebrity symbiosis is built on mutual need: one is to be worshipped and adored, the other – the worshipper – is to feel gratitude and just a lil bit special ;). To me this is a belittling, demeaning attitude.
Karl Marx said “Religion is the opiate of the people.” If he was living in the 21 st century he would have changed it to “Hollywood.” I think it’s time the “ordinary” people, the “masses”. the “peasants,” so manipulated and controlled for hundreds of years in every aspect, stopped looking up to others while looking down, and started looking straight ahead. A coiffured, perfumed, manicured, maufactured, air blown celeb is not someone we should place so much value on when we have doctors, nurses, firemen, policemen, soldiers, scientists and so many others saving lives and building our world. They are the true million dollar babies…and THEY are YOU.