By MEAGHAN McCLURE
For the past few years, Twitter has been a main source of news for young people. They find out about breaking stories and everything relevant in current events. In a way, Twitter could be viewed as a young person’s newspaper.
However, with the rise of Twitter, celebrities have been given an easy platform to get their thoughts and opinions across, no matter how offending, or if it makes a major brand look bad. Twitter cuts out the middleman, and lets celebrities interact with fans directly.
This new direct contact between celebrities and fans can be problematic, however. In the recent case of Cee Lo Green, one stupid comment can ruin a celebrity’s whole image and, in the recent cases of Shonda Rhimes and Rihanna, uncensored criticisms can ruin the image of a major company.
Earlier this month, Cee Lo Green tweeted controversial statements about rape, one of which claimed rape isn’t “real” unless the victim remembers it. This moment of ignorance on the famous singer’s part cost him a huge loss in fan base, even after deleting the tweets and making a public apology.
In the case of Green, we can see how easily it is for public figures to reach their fans and how quickly a public image can change.
This also happened in the case of Shonda Rhimes and Rihanna. Although they didn’t ruin their own images, they used Twitter as a platform to fight back against attacks from big corporations and voice their own opinions.
Shonda Rhimes is the creator of many shows, like “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” Recently, she was described as an “angry black woman” in a New York Times feature, after which, she took to Twitter to give her own thoughts. After voicing her displeasure, other figures such as Kerry Washington criticized the Times writer too. The Twitter backlash proves that the growing popularity of Twitter certainly changes the way the media can criticize celebrities – because they will not get away with it anymore without a fight.
A similar case happened recently with singer Rihanna, after CBS pulled her song from “Thursday Night Football” following the Ray Rice domestic violence incident. Initially, CBS pulled the song the week immediately following the release of the second Rice video, because they felt Rihanna, a famous victim of domestic abuse from Chris Brown, would give the wrong message.
Rihanna reacted through Twitter, writing, “CBS you pulled my song last week, now you wanna slide it back in this Thursday? NO, Fuck you! Y’all are sad for penalizing me for this.” CBS then had to deal with the disapproval of many Rihanna fans, which ultimately led them to pull her song for good.
These recent events involving celebrities shows just how impacting social media can be, especially as Twitter gives stars a chance to bite back at the media.