It’s all about social media these days. You stay in touch with people around the world on Facebook. You hear the latest news the minute they happen on Twitter. You learn what people are doing, where they are and with whom.
For performers Twitter has become an important and useful tool to both promote themself and hear from their fans without giving up their privacy. It’s an easy way to stay in touch with the people who support you and your career. Performers will often let fans know about their off dates in shows or post when they will be on for a certain role through Twitter. Fans on the other side will voice their appreciation for a performer (to name just one example). It’s a give and take really and when used in an appropriate way both sides profit from this loose online relationship.
But we are talking about the world wide web and its millions and millions of users. And not all are willing or able to communicate on Twitter in a respectful way. And whilst I agree that performers have the right and should be able to voice their opinion just like their fans I can’t help but point out that there’s a huge difference between an opinion and randomly swearing. This applies to both sides, of course. But performers – whether they want to be or not – are in the spotlight especially on a public platform like Twitter. A performer is a role model. Fans look up to him/her.
“Performers are normal people, too!” will be a popular answer to my statements. Yes, of course they are. I’m the last person who will put a performer on some insanely high pedestal and worship the ground he/she walks on. And I expect an appropriate tone from them just as I do from everyone else.
I will explain the reason behind this whole post. There is a performer who shall remain unnamed. He has a huge fanbase and more than 100.000 followers on Twitter. Said performer reacted to a tweet sent to his girlfriend and himself by a fan. Said tweet was an answer to a photo posted by the performers girlfriend taken after a funeral. It simply showed the performer and his girlfriend standing next to each other and smiling for the camera. The fan voiced an opinion (after all that’s what Twitter is for) doubting that a funeral was the right place to take such a photo asking if this wasn’t a bit disrespectful. Now you can think all you want about that tweet. I myself have no problems with people taking photos after a funeral but I also understand some people might think it wasn’t the right time and place for a smiley picture.
Guess what the performer did. He answered the tweet, of course. So far so good, the performer has the right to post his opinion just like the fan. And the performer tweeted the fan to mind her own f…. business and called her an idiot. This is where I raise my hand.
It’s one thing to make a statement and defend yourself or your actions. But tweeting in such a low and simply inappropriate tongue is not acceptable. And coming from a well known performer who has a lot of young fans it’s just plain wrong. I understand said performer was upset about the tweet. And I understand he wanted to make that known. I respect a performer who doesn’t hide his views and who stands up for his actions. However, I don’t respect a performer who randomly swears at a fan – to me that shows the performer is not able to voice his opinion in a proper way. Swearing in public shows weakness. You achieve nothing with it except looking like a bully. Swear all you like when you’re alone if it makes you feel better. But when you’re in the public eye you shouldn’t sink on such a low level.
And being a public figure, in this case a performer means you should be able to control your temper. You are a role model. You may not want to be one but you chose your career and as a performer you are bound to have people watching you. There’s no question you should stay true to yourself but you should also be able to adapt and fit into a civilised society to a certain extend. And talking in a proper tone is not a lot to ask.
So, what has the performer achieved with his tweet? The fan who set all this in motion by commenting on the photo-tweet is getting hate tweets from various other fans of the performer – a lot of them are full of swear words. Either they have adapted to the performers tongue rather quickly or this performer generally attracts a certain kind of following (I find both options rather off putting). Another bunch of people has taken sides with the fan and are no longer supporting the performer. There’s no winner in this game.
And all this because the performer wasn’t able to simply tweet the fan something along the line of “I disagree with what you wrote. Your post is rather upsetting.”
Just in case you are wondering: I did message the performer and voiced my opinion about his tweet telling him that I found the tweeting a bit off putting. A nice little tweet asking the performer if the swearing was necessary. Nothing bad or insulting.
He answered me with probably the best advice he could give: “Then don’t read it and unfollow me simple!!”. At the end of the day there are hundreds of other performers who deserve my support because they are talented, humble, interesting and – in this case most importantly – know how to communicate in an appropriate way.
This is just one single follower lost. The performer will hardly even notice. But more than 100.000 follower will see the tweet in question. What kind of reputation will the performer gain? Does he care? Probably not.