Twitter makes it easy for celebs to fight in real-time... and we love it
Isabel Mohan argues why it's a GOOD thing Twitter allows those outspoken celebs to have fisticuffs in public...
Oh, how lazy technology has made us – in the olden days, if we wanted to pick a fight with someone, we’d have to square up to them outside a pub, and that would simply be uncouth. And scary, really scary.
Now, we can fight on Twitter. But why would we bother with that when we can, even more lazily, hide behind our usernames and watch celebrities fight in front of thousands, sometimes even millions, of followers?
The problem with being famous and having a Twitter spat is that it cannot be undone: the non-famous can delete a regrettable tweet, safe in the knowledge that only a handful of randoms, some of whom are probably bots rather than real humans, have spotted it, but anyone even slightly recognisable will find that their vicious words have been retweeted globally within three seconds of them ramming the “tweet” button with a perfectly manicured nail. There’s no going back for stars who spat on Twitter – they’ll be forever remembered as either aggressive bullies or angry drama queens with no self-control.
"Some of the most entertaining rows come when one star clearly finds the whole thing terribly silly and is simply winding their opponent up to get a reaction."
And who’s the ultimate angry drama queen with no self-control? Lindsay Lohan, of course – and she was one of the first stars to use Twitter as her vessel of choice for her personal problems, way back in 2009 when some of us still knew our MySpace logins. Lindsay’s entire break-up with DJ Samantha Ronson was played out in 140 character buffets of punctuation that were invariably posted late at night and deleted in the morning.
The execs at Twitter HQ might think they’ve got a gazillion members because of all that snazzy fast access to breaking news, but really, it’s drama like this that lured most people into signing up: for the first time, we could cast aside boring, PR-controlled glossy interviews and instead find out just how evil (not to mention inarticulate) some celebrities could be.
Some of the most entertaining rows come when one star (usually someone a tad on the smug side like Piers Morgan) clearly finds the whole thing terribly silly, isn’t remotely emotionally invested and is simply winding their opponent up to get a reaction, while the star on the receiving end (usually someone a tad on the dim side like Wayne Rooney) rapidly loses the plot and starts throwing out misspelled expletives and showing their audience of millions that they just can’t take a joke.
Even more entertaining, though, are properly nasty spats between two no-marks. When X Factor reject Marcus Collins and TOWIE part-timer Maria Fowler had a real-life run-in at a nightclub in Liverpool, they both took straight to Twitter afterwards and got seriously vicious: she called him a “disgusting little man” and he called her a horse-faced homophobe.
"Despite the entertainment value of this virtual boxing ring, there’s a danger of fans turning against their idols when they show their true colours online."
Even if their motivation was indeed genuine rage, the fact that it was conducted online meant that it came off like a publicity stunt. But do we care? Of course not, because it also makes for awesome gossip during a slow news day. Presumably both of them are totally over it by now, but because it happened on Twitter, them hating each other’s guts is now an eternal truth that cannot be erased.
Despite the entertainment value of this virtual boxing ring, there’s a danger of fans turning against their idols when they show their true colours online. I used to be pretty indifferent towards Tulisa, for example, but now after seeing how bitchy and snide she can be on Twitter, I think she’s aggressive and not very bright. Lily Allen, on the other hand, is another Twitter-brawler but, because she picks her fights carefully and manages to be witty with it, she gets away with it. Just.
Of course, these celebrities might not conduct themselves like this in real life (and nor, presumably, would some of the more anonymous trolls who bait them), but since Twitter is often our only access to their real personalities, how are we supposed to know that? Twitter has exposed the world to be a much, much meaner place than anyone realised, and it makes sense that celebrities would be among the meanest of all – after all, nobody gets rich and famous by being nice all the time.
Isabel Mohan (@Isabel_Mohan) is a freelancer writer and showbiz commentator.
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