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News & commentary

Feb 6, 2013


When new users sign up for an account on Twitter, the standard process goes something like this: follow people. People follow you back. Learn the syntax. Tweet. Build an audience. But when celebrities join the social media behemoth, they are immediately guaranteed a large following irrespective of whether their tweets are literate, semi-literate, insightful, funny or completely incomprehensible.

The more than 1.2 million followers of Academy, Grammy and Emmy Award winning singer/actor Cher do not expect from her deft use of the English language. Last Friday evening, hit by a flood of Cher-penned crimes against grammar, I tweeted “If I could turn back time, if I could find a way…I’d rethink following @Cher.” You could imagine my surprise when, less than a minute later, the 66-year-old superstar shot back:



The veteran performer isn’t quite as crazy as she sounds — “Buckmaster” is the name of a popular brand of American rifle scopes.

But Cher is hardly the only celebrity to stick out from the rest of the plebs on Twitter, and not simply because she’s famous. Here is a quick guide to some of Hollywood’s notoriously bad tweeters — and the sins they commit.

The PT Barnum award for shameless self-promotion 

Many Twitter users have a golden rule: resist re-tweeting praise about yourself and try to avoid self-promotion. Celebrities can sometimes get away with this but whichever what you cut it, shameless self-promotion leaps off the screen. Ricky Gervais, a serial offender, has recently taken to the Twits to promote his new TV show Derek (never mind what the critics say). Here are but a few examples:



The “I love lamp” award for random tweets, exercise updates and crowdsourcing questions you probably should know the answers to



Russell Crowe, evidently, loves maps. He also loves making the Twitter community feel guilty about not going to the gym. The burly star’s fitness updates include “check out my abs” style tweets such as:



Thanks Russell, we’re very impressed. But we’re not so impressed by your lack of knowledge about your own films:



The can’t look but can’t look away award for car crash comedy 

You have to grant him some points for originality. William ‘Captain Kirk’ Shatner doesn’t tweet about films he’s been in, gigs he’s going to, interesting stories he’s read or even how he’s feeling. No. Shatner instead uses Twitter as a forum for a kind of Q & A stand up comedy routine, each tweet without fail ending with a bad (and occasionally inexplicable) punchline.



The award for promoting small local events to a huge global audience  

Kevin Smith has over 2.3 million followers. Going by his tweets, you’d swear he thought all of them lived in California.



The John Cusack award for incomprehensible gibberish mixed with constant updates about unspecified sports games

During last year’s Olympics, Samuel L. Jackson‘s somewhat…enthusiastic tweets spawned international headlines (probably best summarised by this Gawker story). Jackson’s Twitter account reads like a parody but no — it’s real, and it never stops.



If you think those tweets are a mite odd, did you notice his profile picture? The Django Unchained star appears to be sponsored by a ladder company.


2012The end of the world is getting so, well, old, especially if your name is Roland Emmerich. Emmerich is the brain-mulching, explosion-addicted, eyeball-crunching Bay-esque bigshot director who has built a profitable career on destroying mankind’s landmarks. In The Day After Tomorrow it was the Hollywood sign. In Independence Day, the White House. In Godzilla, the Chrysler Building and most of New York City. And in 2012, Emmerich’s latest round of apocalyptic CGI enabled furore, we wave bye bye to Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue, the Sistine Chapel and, er, most of the world. The trailer (watch it below) – a spectacular pastiche of money shots, and you just know there’s gonna be plenty more where that came from – has been dubbed ‘destructo porn’ by some commentators, a reasonable enough appraisal given Emmerich’s fetish for biblically-proportioned carnage. The story? Well, we can safely assume the narrative complexity of 2012 will amount to the delivery of one excessively rendered spectacle after the other. The movie’s cantankerous grandeur promises to be ever so slightly offset by the low key presence of leading man John Cusack, in what is likely to become one of the biggest movies of his career. Still, going by the evidence at hand, give me Cusack in Grosse Pointe Blank any day.

2012 will be released in Australia November 12.