Celebrities may temper Twitter comments after 2011 blunders

Sun Jan 1, 2012 1:33pm EST
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Celebrities may want to resist the urge to send a stream of consciousness on Twitter in the new year after so many of them tweeted their way into trouble on everything from boxer briefs to breast-feeding in 2011.

NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne became the latest celebrity to blunder on Twitter, when he had to apologize for a tweet critical of public breast-feeding.

But Kahne has been far from alone in discovering Twitter's pitfalls. The year 2011 saw U.S. congressman Anthony Weiner resign in a scandal that began with an errant tweet, and the musings of Hollywood stars such as the tech-savvy Ashton Kutcher and comic Gilbert Gottfried generated public controversy.

As a result of those and other scandals, 2011 may be seen as a turning point when more celebrities and politicians saw the dangers of Twitter and quit sending unfiltered messages, pop culture experts said. Handlers of celebrities are likely to play a larger role in managing the stars' Twitter accounts.

"There was a time from 2008 to 2011 where Twitter was like, whatever was on your mind you tweeted about it -- literally mindlessly," said radio host Cooper Lawrence, author of "The Cult of Celebrity."

"Now you're going to see the other side of the bell curve, where people are more cautious. Politicians are already more cautious," she said.


Probably the greatest self-inflicted Twitter wound was suffered by Anthony Weiner. He was an influential Democratic congressman from New York until June when he tweeted a photo of his bulging underwear to a female college student. At first Weiner claimed his Twitter account had been hacked but later admitted he was responsible and resigned from office.   Continued...