Published November 30, 2012
NEW YORK – Tweeting can be such sweet sorrow, at least for celebs who think the service is their own personal megaphone, instead of a two-way street with their fans and foes alike.
Chris Brown, no stranger to drama, recently engaged in a Twitter brawl with comedienne Jenny Johnson, who blasted him for beating up his former (and perhaps current) girlfriend Rihanna. Their exchanges got so hot, Brown couldn't take the heat, and deleted his account.
A few hours later the notoriously volatile pop star was tweeting again. But he is not alone in his on-again off-again relationship with social media. Twitter devotees like Ashton Kutcher and John Mayer have also gone back and forth with the social network, some times lusting after the attention of their fans, while other times shunning the Twitter backlash sparked by ill-informed tweets or questionable personal behavior.
Dan Bova, editor of Maxim Magazine, said in the wrong hands, social media can indeed bite a narcissistic celeb in the butt.
"If a celebrity has diarrhea of the thumbs, it can be a total disaster," Bova said.
Pyror Cashman partner Robert deBrauwere said stars definitely have to have thick skins if they expect to use Twitter to their advantage, because they have little legal recourse if things get ugly
"Twitter is indeed a very powerful promotional tool for celebrities and influencers alike. The power that Twitter has is also maybe manifested in very negative ways," he said. "If someone makes a disparaging remark about someone, but in the context of an opinion or reasonably believed by people to be an opinion, as opposed to a statement of fact, then it would not be defamatory particularly with respect to celebrities. The standard for defamation is very high."
Bova says particularly temperamental stars should steer clear of tweeting all together.
"If you are a known psychotic - bad idea. Look, everyone has demons, and if you're at least trying to put out the face you're not a psychopath and trying to tell the world you're rehabilitating yourself, you should just shut up," Bova said.
SiriusXM radio personality Cristina Palumbo agrees that thin-skinned cooks should stay out of the kitchen.
"When you put yourself out there on social media, you are subject to getting some sort of backlash. It's your decision whether you can take backlash or not," she said. "When you're a celebrity, even on a small scale ... you still are out there for people to pounce on you. You have to take it with a grain of salt, persevere, keep on tweeting, or run and hide."
"When used correctly, [Twitter]'s a lot of fun," Bova added. "When used incorrectly it's horrible."