Deeper Into the Twitterverse: Slow Down Perez Hilton!

This entry was posted Thursday, 25 June, 2009 at 8:27 pm

whisperI’ve been wanting to follow up on my previous post about Twitter after the overwhelming response I got via LinkedIn and Twitter and the comments on the post too, and today’s news got me to sit down and put finger to keyboard, so to speak.

The Twitterverse is All Abuzz

Today Michael Jackson died at age 50. Now as surprising as that news was, what was more shocking to me was the speed of the news disseminating through Twitter. I heard about his heart attack and within a short while, I heard he was dead (all via Twitter) before Yahoo News was even reporting it (my usual quick dose of news when I log onto my email). I’ve witnessed an outpouring of sympathy as well as the predictable early jokes. And what is interesting, too, is that there has been an aggressive backlash against celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, who earlier today posted a pic of Jackson and distasteful (his forté) comments that accused Jackson of faking the heart attack to get out of what would have been his comeback tour. Twitterers are calling for a boycott of Perez and are urging people to unfollow him.

@mashable has written an interesting post (including the offensive Perez blunder) in which he comments on the damage this might do to the blogging community. An interesting observation, though I think perhaps not totally true? Perez Hilton is offensive, that’s how he got famous and I am sure he realises, much to his dismay, that he has just made a terrible terrible mistake and will feel the repercussions, but I don’t see exactly how this will impact negatively on bloggers or Social Media in general.

Some Tweets on the topic:

hbgoddard: Perez Hilton should have died instead of Michael Jackson!

MamaNats: Perez Hilton is a true scumbag.

luckygnahhh: Perez Hilton is a blemish on humanity. If you give him a voice, he cannot seem to use it for anything good.’ Best quote ever.

SmittnbyBritain: RT @mashable Perez Hilton‘s Despicable Michael Jackson Coverage Creates Backlash –  #unfollowperez

nonifan: Please retweet: just signed petition ‘Remove Perez Hilton as Teen Choice 2009 Nominee’ –

As of yet, I haven’t seen any posts supporting Hilton, just a lot of hate.

Heard it Through the Grapevine

Along with the Perez scandal, another strange development today was the rumour of Jeff Goldblum’s death that was spreading like wildfire on Social Media channels. And perhaps this is where @mashable’s comments on the tarnishing of Social Media’s image comes in – sometimes the grapevine is not the best source of news! Rumours have abound that the actor died on set in New Zealand and there are numerous tweets from people confirming his death, denying it, asking if it’s true.  I even saw a retweet of Kevin Spacey’s confirming that it was NOT in fact true.

Social media is powerful – I have been impressed with the support and news about the Iranian protests – but sometimes the speed of information sharing can lead to rumours and mishaps. There are so many ways to use Social Media platforms effectively, but as many ways to mess up and get yourself into trouble! I often talk to students in Communcation class about how technology has effected communication – particularly its speed. Compare writing a letter to someone that you know will only get it in a month to a text message or an email that they’ll get immediately. One thing I always warn them about is taking the time to THINK, PLAN and REVISE before they send off an email.

Bet Perez Hilton wishes someone had given him that advice!


4 Comments to Deeper Into the Twitterverse: Slow Down Perez Hilton!

  1. Mark says:

    June 25th, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Regarding Perez Hilton – don’t forget the maxim that it’s better to be talked about than not talked about. Distasteful comments and Twitter-fueled notoriety will simply bring even more ghouls to his website.

  2. Geraldine Eliot says:

    June 25th, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    I totally agree – people may be unfollowing him as I type, but I’m positive his site traffic must have skyrocketed in the last few hours! If it wasn’t so obviously a complete stuff up, one could accuse him of pulling a publicity stunt!

  3. Shevonne says:

    June 26th, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    There are many people who are going to stop going to his blog, but then there are others who will take their spot.

    I don’t know what was going on with the Goldblum scandal. Pretty weird, if you ask me.

  4. Geraldine Eliot says:

    June 27th, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    I agree, Shevonne – I think there are going to be many curious people who will keep his hit count up!

    The Goldblum thing was very strange!

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