Sometime long ago, the stars among us were pretty much like the celestial bodies they’re named after – mysterious and unattainable for the most part. One often remembers the time of Prince’s bare minimum responses during interviews, and who could forget Janet on the cover of Rolling Stone with the mysterious hands over her breasts? Back then icons kept you itching for more by maintaining a low-key profile.
Enter: the cyber age. Fans are now privy to the minutest details of every celebrity’s life. With just a few clicks, you can find out who ate what for lunch, and who they’re meeting up with, and even information about their bowel movements.
The internet and social media networks have basically cajoled everyone into sharing details about their lives, creating the need for constant content generation. These celebrities are no exception. Being human, it’s understandable that they are drawn to the lure of intimacy social media exudes.
In the olden days, the responsibility of making stars was shouldered by an exclusive group of professionals – Editors, studio heads, label executives – whose job it was to engineer what would be the story of the day, or the biggest phenomenon of a season. Needless to say, that system is no longer existent in our modern day society.
Initially, well-established stars scoffed at social networks like twitter and Facebook, refusing to partake in all the sharing it involved. This defiance was cast away with the realization that funny cat videos and GIFs were taking over the spotlight.
The news cycle today is public, and thus the general public gets to decide who (or what) is a “celebrity”. Lately, it doesn’t even take much be attain the label. As long as you can establish a connection with people and keep them interested, via whatever medium, fans will gather.
Rihanna and Chris Brown sang about their wild love affair, saying it’s “Nobody’s Business” and yet posted intimate pictures of themselves their instagram accounts just days after the song’s release. Even more recently, Rob Kardashian unleashed a barrage of tweets about Rita Ora’s infidelity during their relationship and, even though he deleted the tweets soon after, the people gathered to give their proverbial two cents.
It’s a game of contradiction these stars play. “Our life is personal.” They all claim, but someone can’t stay away from tweeting or posting personal information and even the ones who do are ed for not sharing with their “fans”. Beyonce, for example, dabbled in social media and was still barraged for more personal information.
Today’s celebrities seemingly have no choice but to stay online and feed fans the information they crave. On the plus side, this allows celebrities an opportunity to cut down the rumors that may arise about before they hit full circulation.
Even though social media may be a new trend, it’s based on pretty old school principles. It’s all about establishing connections and bug links, and it’s up to the individual concerned to choose how best to do this.
While gossip and tantalising personal information may grab attention, there are much more fulfilling things to talk about. Some stars like Tracee Ellis Ross and Angela Simmons, who have launched websites based on their lifestyle interests, and Starlet Jurnee Smollett who uses her Twitter feed to bring attention to social issues are among the few who know how best to use the social media without causing any scandal.
Social media has given rise to an audience that is fully away of its power and wants to engage on a deeper level. Unfortunately, a number of people in the public eye are unaware that deep engagement doesn’t necessarily have to involve private business. According to Forbes:
We’re looking for celebrities who will acknowledge their dependence on us and their engagement with us. We want celebrities in fact who will admit that they are like us and… will also show us how they are different, bolder, more outspoken, funnier but not distant.”
It’s cool that stars are getting closer to their fans and admittedly it does have its benefits. But still, everyone loves some mystery now and then.