Celebrities need authenticity to rule on Twitter

Fri Oct 16, 2009 4:32pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Basil Katz

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Twitter has been kind to a motley crew of actors, TV personalities and pop stars whose fame online outstrips that of the outside world. And it's all about getting personal.

Ashton Kutcher is the most popular user with more than 3 million Twitter followers, and LeVar Burton of Star Trek fame is more popular than pop star Lady Gaga. Cellist Zoe Keating has 200,000 more followers than mega-star Justin Timberlake.

"Name recognition only takes you so far," said Jeremiah Owyang of the Altimeter Group consultants.

The social networking and blogging service that limits messages to 140 characters has a different hierarchy of who is most popular. And crowding the top are those who adopted Twitter early in its 3 1/2-year history.

Simply being a celebrity does not guarantee a following, analysts say. A loyal following, said Owyang, involves creating a dialogue with users that is personal, not self-promoting.

"If they talk about Christmas, or what they're doing this weekend," said Owyang, then a conversation is begun.

Kutcher is followed closely in popularity by Ellen DeGeneres and Britney Spears.

"Unlikely stars like LeVar Burton or MC Hammer" participate actively in Twitter and interact with users, said Rohit Bhargava, senior vice president at Ogilvy.   Continued...

<p>Demi Moore and her husband Ashton Kutcher arrive at the "The Joneses" film screening during the 34th Toronto International Film Festival, September 13, 2009. The festival runs from September 10-19. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>