When Celeb Tweets Should Fall Silent

paula clapYou know you’re a major celebrity if your Twitter page can become an impromptu press release.

When that happens, it also shows how ridiculously unprofessional you are.

Last night, Paula Abdul took to her official Twitter account to announce that she is not returning to judge American Idol next year. As usual, the major news outlets picked up on this immediately and began reporting it, actually quoting her tweets (one of which replaces the word “one” with “1.”) Now, it’s one thing for a celebrity – or anyone, for that matter – to tweet their feelings about a breaking story. It’s another thing entirely to break the story first on your Twitter page.

This isn’t the first time that a celebrity has taken to Twitter to make information public that should be private, or at least released through another medium. In June, Perez Hilton tweeted about being assaulted by Will.I.Am’s manager just after the incident occurred, pleading for help. Currently, Eminem and Nick Cannon are engaged in a very public Twitter feud that is borderline…well, actually, completely ridiculous.

I have no problem with celebrities using Twitter to reach out to their fans and make themselves seem more down-to-earth. But celebrity Twitters are not substitutes for a good publicist and a telephone, and they are definitely not replacements for reputable news organizations. Yes, there is virtue in hearing news straight from the horse’s mouth, but an announcement on the Internet written with 140 characters or less screams a lack of professionalism.

As much as I love Twitter, a big problem I have with it is that it acts as an enabler for attention-hungry celebrities and wannabe celebs. Clearly, by tweeting information that should remain private or be broadcast through different channel, these celebrities are looking to draw attention to themselves. Paula Abdul wanted to be the one to break the news about American Idol, not her publicist or the Fox network. Perez Hilton wanted to create a melodramatic scene on his Twitter in order to be noticed. These celebrities are just desperate for the limelight, and tweeting in such a way is just another means of getting it.

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