The dawn of Facebook and social media has meant we have authentic, direct and two way access to celebrities for the first time. Our relationship with celebrities is no longer coloured by the filter of tabloid press, but we are in a privileged position of knowing what it is really that they think, do, and who they do it with (Shaquille O’Neal in Ronaldo’s case!).
Facebook has broken down barriers of gossip and fictitious stories and a new era of celebrity relationships is dawning. This is positive for them, for us and for standards of truth globally.
Only recently our knowledge of celebrity life and culture was known through print publications such as Heat or The National Enquirer. These papers are dedicated to revealing the celebrity lifestyle to the public, but the constant demand for column inches about the hot celebrity of the day was not without its complications.
The over-zealous pursuit of personal knowledge could lead to reporting inaccuracies, where a journalist may have had a deadline and a story that was not quite ratified, or maybe a close friend of the celebrity was keen to make some extra money and sold stories. Neither of these things means that the real truth of a situation is likely to be revealed to the public.
Even if the real story was being reported, the filter of a reporter means that the story will necessarily be told from the point of view of someone who is not that celebrity. We would be learning about Taylor Swift’s latest break up from someone who has never, ever met her.
So, traditional celebrity press has meant inaccurate reportage so that we do not really get to know the celebrities we admire and look up to as they are, but as the papers would like us to see them, and this usually involves more scandal than is the fact, as this sells more papers.
Which brings us onto another issue; celebrity papers and magazines means that celebrities are hounded by the paparazzi, which is cruel, dehumanizing and,ultimately, fatal. Social Media is helping change this, no longer are paparazzi waiting outside clubs needed; now celebrities can Instagram pictures of themselves, in real time, while they are still in the club!
Social Media is not the first time that the walls between celebrity and the public have come down, and taken on the sensationalist press. Reality TV arrived at the beginning of the second millennium with Big Brother in the UK, and quickly was seen to be a good vehicle for celebrities to show what their lives were really like, without the smoke and mirrors of a tabloid story. Programmes like The Osbournes, Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica and Hogan Knows Best all took us into the homes of our beloved celebrities and let them speak their truth for the first time.
While reality TV was the first step on the road to revolution in the way we have access to celebrities, it was not the final solution. While it was more authentic than the public had been used to, it was still produced by a TV company, and still edited to get the biggest audience it could in the half hour time slot that it was allotted.
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have done away with this, removing the last layers of fiction, editing or restrictions on our access to celebrities. They have unlocked the doors to the closed mansions of our heroes, and we don’t need to climb them with long-lensed cameras anymore, but we get invited in as personal guests via the latest smartphone in their pockets.
Social media means that there are no temporal restrictions; we do not have to be in at 6:30 on a Friday night, with an expensive cable subscription so we can see the latest episode of The Kardashians; now we can get home from a long day in the office, make a cup of tea, load up Twitter and see what our favourite celebrities are doing at that very moment. We can feel our lives in synchronisation with our heroes that previously we only knew through scandalous press.
Facebook and social channels have changed the world that we live in and given us access to the truth in the celebrity world as we have always had the truth in our own personal relationships; no filter, no restrictions, just real human stories, direct to the fans.
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