‘Twit’tastrophe: Celebrity Junk Overload in the Twitter Universe

The following editorial was written at the University of Florida’s Summer Journalism Institute on June 21, 2010. It can also be found on their blog.

   As of June 10, 2010, there were over 125 million registered Twitter users. By rough estimate, at least half of those users are “celebrities”, the term ranging from Hollywood heavyweights to software supernerds to miniscule Myspace musicians. Together, all of these “celebrities” indulge the web crowd with a variety of topics whose relevance in the global community is certainly debatable.

   But what’s the point in these repeatedly dull updates? Here’s the 411 concerning the chaos in the ever-growing “Twitterverse”: There are more important issues to discuss other than the “Yo Momma” jokes that Shaquille O’Neal posts or what Kim Kardashian thinks about breastfeeding.

   The following is an actual post from pop sensation Justin Bieber’s Twitter account on June 19, 2010:

Yabaadabbadoooo.”

   An hour after that  masterful thought, he followed up by “Tweeting”:

“haha… #Yabaadabbadoooo is trending. My fans are not to be messed with…they are like CHUCK NORRIS.” 

  
The love for the fans is understandable, but is this spectacle of ridiculousness even necessary in a world full of crumbling countries and economic fluctuation? Why not use such a popular technology for the betterment of the people and the planet? There are plenty of celebrities that are using Twitter as a source for sending aid to the ailing, such as actress Sophia Bush for the Gulf oil spill and Demi Moore for a plethora of causes including stopping one man’s suicidal trek.

   Yet Twitter defines itself as a real-time information network powered by people all around the world that lets you share and discover what’s happening now.” Every Twitter user is posting what is happening to him or her at that moment, and it is what he or she chose to say and endorse, just as the company intended. But not everything that is posted has to be about day to day activities that have no precedence in the geological community. What is the rationale behind a misspelling of a celebrity’s name (ehem, “Jick Nonas”) rising above the BP oil spill in the “trending” section?

   Twitter is the perfect source for a combination of fun and focus, where taking time to be serious about the world around us mixes with the trivial jokes between friends. The big question is this: Why be lost in a “sea of irrelevance” when we can stand up for what we think is right? Must we listen to the obnoxious “noise” of the “Twitterverse”, including the trivial rant about someone’s haircut (I’m referring to you, Perez Hilton)?

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