Making Peace with Famous Folk on Twitter

March 30, 2011 at 7:46 pm

A rare non-fatherhood post for me tonight – I guess it’s more social media related, but not really good enough to go on any of my work-related blogs. So I thought I’d share it here…

Last year, I wrote a post on the Tamar blog about celebrities on Twitter, which still gets views on a daily basis even 9 months later, thanks in part to a very nice tweet from the man who inspired it – online visionary and entrepreneur (and part-time award-winning film director) Kevin Smith.

You can read the post here, so I won’t rehash it now, merely follow-on from the topic after I’ve been thinking about it recently.

Anyway, I realised something about tweeting with/at/to famous people on Twitter, which I thought I’d share, see if anyone else thinks the same…

Despite knowing I shouldn’t, I sometimes find myself getting frustrated when @messaging “famous people” (and by that I mean the ones who actually reply to the norms, not the broadcast-only folk) because a lot of them will spend way more time replying to nasty people than nice. I’m sure you’ve all seen examples of this – pandering to the abusers when you wish they’d just hit the “block” button…

As somebody who has had my fair-share of nice replies from famous people – and I don’t just mean “celebrities”, I mean well-known people who I admire – over the last year or two, I should clarify that this isn’t a “Don’t give them the oxygen of publicity” gripe – I repeat, just an observation.

Anyway, my point is, I’ve realised this is EXACTLY the same as something that used to frustrate me at school, which I took a long time to understand. Namely:

When I was at school, I think it’s fair to say I was a nice kid. Good marks, didn’t cause trouble, nice relationship with my teachers. But it always frustrated me that some of the teachers you looked up to could sometimes brush over the good kids and spend time calling-out the nice things that the usually-misbehaving kids had done. Plus, some of them didn’t even know the NAMES of the nice kids, but would know every intimate detail of the challenging kids that would mess around. This always confused me – I’d even go as far as to say it seem unfair to me.

Only when I married a teacher did I finally appreciate why this was. Sitting speaking to my wife every night, I’d find myself knowing all the naughtier kids’ names very quickly, and on the odd occasion I’d hear about the nice kids, it’d be brief at best. But I’d hear all about the problems these kids have, hints at some of their underlying problems, all that kind of thing. So I began to realise why it might sometimes SEEM like the teachers cared more about the misbehaving kids. They don’t – they’re just exposed to them in affecting ways much more often than the average student might realise.

I have a suspicion that this is the same for famous-folk, but it’s probably very hard to appreciate if you’re not exposed to all the shit they have to deal with. As somebody who considers myself reasonably nice still, and generally @messages people I admire with nice messages, I completely forget all the crap-stirrers, moaners, haters and nasty folk they have to deal with, day-in-day-out.

Anyway, I’m not really sure if I have a point here, but it seemed like something that I should throw up online, to see if other people agree or not. Whatever happens, I think I’ll continue to take the “be nice” approach, as I figure that’ll work out best in the end!