Social Media Set Downs

How many of us follow our favorite celebrities on Twitter? Lady Gaga currently has the most followers with almost thirty millions little monsters awaiting her every tweet. Justin Bieber comes in a close second with a little over twenty-seven million fans. I don’t follow either of them. I actually don’t follow any celebrities. I follow writers.

I love Victoria Dahl. She wickedly funny. She cusses like a sailor and she nearly always responds to her fans tweets. I also follow Jennifer Weiner. Why? Because she is the writer I want to be when I grow up. If you’re not familiar with Ms. Weiner’s work, she wrote IN HER SHOES. The book that became a movie starring Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette. She also wrote GOOD IN BED and a slew of other New York Times bestselling books. I think the reason why so many women connect to her is that she writes a realistic heroine. Women who aren’t that perfect size six. Women who don’t always feel so good about themselves. Women who a lot of us can see ourselves in. Millions of people enjoy her books and yet some people are incredibly mean to her.

If any of you follow her on Twitter you might have noticed that Jennifer had a bad week not too long ago. People (most of them men) were attacking her. Not her writing, but her personally. One man was particularly vicious. He attacked her weight. Her appearance. Her sexuality. Her religion. And was wrong on all counts I would like to add. She’s a married mother of two who looks great. Another guy said that because she failed to attract men with her body she was a failure as a woman or some garbage like that.Then there were the people who accuse of her being semi racist and blasted her book and her choice to lose weight.

None of this happened on message boards or in conversations between tweeters. All of these comments were sent directly to her in the same week and I shook my head while I read through her tweets, wondering when did people get so mean. I call it keyboard courage.People have no fear (or manners it seems) when they are sitting behind their computers. The good and the bad thing about Twitter is that it allows one to connect to another immediately with just a few key strokes.But now it seems people will say anything that pops into their heads.

Before Twitter and Facebook one had to search out an author’s email address and before computers they had to actually find a real address, write a letter, get a stamp and mail the letter to their target. If took real effort to be rude. But now people do it in a public forum with little thought about how horrible they are being. And I get it, being a public figure makes you susceptible to attacks but these people aren’t politicians. They aren’t settingout to change the world. They just want to provide entertainment and in the process make people happy.

Jimmy Kimmel recently did a bit where celebs read their meanest tweets. It was funny but it also made me feel a little disheartened. What happened to, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all?

How do you feel about it? Think celebs are fair game for attacks? Has anybody ever said something nasty to you or about you on social media? If they did, would you consider it a symbol of success? Any and all comments are welcome.

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9 thoughts on “Social Media Set Downs”

  1. This is one of the HUGE downsides to social media, Jamie. It’s a great way for us to connect to the world, but it opens us up to a much larger percentage of the dreggs of society–people who are mean for the sake of making themselves feel powerful. I don’t get it. I haven’t reached a level of exposure to warrant that kind of response in people, but I’ve had a few less than pleasant reviews that had me shaking my head and saying, “Really? You couldn’t come up with something more constructive to write than that?” I love honest feedback. I want to be the best writer I can be. But it’s clear that some people will say whatever they want without any consideration for the impact of their words. It’s a very sad commentary on the self-centeredness and smallness that is pervading our culture.

  2. I don’t get it either. I don’t think celebrities are fair game or that people should just say whatever they want. It’s sad that there are a segment of people who have no class or common sense. I’m no where near a level of popularity to warrent those kind of comments. And I agree with PJ, it’s just sad.

    1. I agree. Nobody should be cruel to anybody but I think we have a right to be more critical of politicians because they work for us, but all the name calling and low blows makes it hard for people to decide what the issues really are.

  3. In the early 70’s I became the first woman in my university’s 104 year history to write for the school paper. I had my own column, and after the first one came out, my house was egged. Later, I received death threats from other male students. During St. Pat’s week, there were frat boys actively looking for me in order to subject me to the hazing usually reserved for pledges (which that year resulted in the death of one boy). I didn’t stop writing my column though. Women made up 1/10th of the school’s population. I thought I was doing something important. ha. Well, I was certainly risking my life! Incredibly brave? or incredibly stupid. I was a single mom at the time. I survived and I’m still writing.

  4. I’m on Twitter but I don’t follow it much. I ADORE Jennifer Weiner and also would like to be her when I grow up. Or maybe Nora Roberts, since she’s richer. Jennifer’s characters, especially, feel like friends.

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