A Twitter feed, where you subscribe to other people's musings, be it a celebrity or a friend (or both, as it often seems on Twitter), is sort of like the locker room segment from the old Nickelodeon series "You Can't Do That on Television."
Twitterers take turns firing off virtual quips, ranging from the informed (a comment on current events) to the mundane ("Making dinner. AKA a peanut butter and jelly :-)") to the highly impractical ([artist id="1244169"]Diddy[/artist]'s boast of marathon tantric sex sessions), before retreating back to the real world, where their every utterance might not be as well received or interesting as they are on Twitter.
It's an experience through which the walls of celebrity seem broken down while simultaneously remaining sturdily in place in the real world. It can feel safe for celebs who are generally averse to being open in the press. It creates new connections between stars and fans, revealing candid information about daily routines, among other things.
But while the jokesters from "You Can't Do That ..." were often reciting scripted lines, some artists often shared feelings that didn't always jibe with their public personas. Whether it was Chris Brown publicly pining for his former flame Rihanna, or Miley Cyrus being self-conscious about her appearance, the freedom of the micro-blogging site eventually was lost for some celebrities, replaced with what seemed to them like a swarm of Twitter paparazzi — RSS feeds replaced cameras, and bloggers had plenty of content to drive traffic to their own URLs. Some celebrity tweets became headlines.
But while Brown and Cyrus ended up canceling their accounts, others became emboldened by Twitter.
Take [artist id="3205943"]Pink[/artist], for example, who never seems at a loss for words. She promptly responded to Kanye West's Video Music Awards stunt of interrupting [artist id="2389485"]Taylor Swift[/artist]'s acceptance speech.
"Kanye west is the biggest piece of sh-- on earth. Quote me," the rock chick wrote.
And she wasn't the only one annoyed with his antics. [artist id="1962774"]Katy Perry[/artist] may have even one-upped her musical counterpart.
"F--- you Kanye," she wrote. "It's like [you] stepped on a kitten."
[artist id="1220799"]John Mayer[/artist], [artist id="501085"]Ricky Martin[/artist], NBA star Chris Paul, Ryan Seacrest and a host of other people also logged on to take their shots at Kanye.
[artist id="1102"]The Gloved One[/artist]'s passing, in fact, was among the biggest trending topics on Twitter all year. News of MJ's death rattled the site. Twitterers found themselves locked out of the site as the company's servers weren't able to handle the surge of traffic.
In the past 12 months, it's like a new Titanic-sized living room was created where instead of your crazy uncle saying inappropriate things at the most inopportune time, it was Diddy. People like [movieperson id="208080"]Ashton Kutcher[/movieperson] now lead the day's conversations on Twitter. For better or worse, Twitter took over in 2009, and as the new year rolls along, expect more of the same.
[artist id="2408193"]Miley Cyrus[/artist], who once tweeted simply, "TWEET! TWEET! TWEET! I JUST TWITTERED. I LOVE TWEETIN'," may have left the popular service, but here's hoping more artists embrace it and fans keep following them and speaking their minds.
And you don't even have to be stuffed in a locker to do so.