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Tweets of the Rich and Famous

By Sarah Klein

Whether they blog, Tweet, or friend on Facebook, there’s been an awful lot of buzz recently about celebrities getting wired. Oprah’s first Tweet was covered by the New York Times; Stephen Fry has been a Twitter favorite for over a year; and Ashton Kutcher recently staged the biggest Twitter publicity stunt to date, when he challenged CNN to a race to become the first Twitterer with 1 million followers. (Ashton won. As of May 21st, he now has over 1.8 million followers.)

Our celebrity-obsessed culture is keeping a close eye on many others, including pop-princess-turned-tabloid-fodder Britney Spears. Despite the disclaimer that only some updates are from Britney herself, over 1.5 million users currently follow her Tweets.  And of course you can’t mention celebrity Twitterers without noting the outrageous quotes and personal photos from Shaquille O’Neal.

Celebrity Tweet! is capitalizing on this surge of famous Twitterers. The site compiles Tweets sent by over 200 actors, athletes, politicians, and entertainers (or their staffs…) onto its homepage, making it easy to follow all celeb activity.

As celebs flock to Twitter, Facebook is trying to make sure it doesn’t get left behind. Facebook celebrity pages are now more like a regular profile page, even though followers are still deemed “fans” instead of “friends.” But not all celebs need help when it comes to Facebook. Vin Diesel has an astounding 3.7 million fans, and Michael Phelps over 2.2 million. Kutcher, splitting his time between platforms, “only” has 1.7 million.

Like Kutcher, many celebrities use both Facebook and Twitter, as well as other tech services like blogs or personal websites. Anderson Cooper has hundreds of thousands of fans on both Twitter and Facebook, as do athletes like Lance Armstrong. Politicians like Barack Obama often have millions of fans and followers but are more likely to have staff members posting and creating their content. Rosie O’Donnell blogs almost daily, posting video responses to fan-mail, jokes, thoughts, and even poetry.

Whether a celebrity is using technology to tell his or her side of the story, to promote a cause, or just to let us know they are still there, we appear to be hooked. We’re learning more about the private lives of celebrities than ever before. Entertainment news, gossips rags, and tabloids may never be the same again!

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