There was quite the hullabaloo in the blogosphere and Twitter-verse over the weekend about pop princess Britney Spears launching a new blog-style website and setting up a Twitter account. Will Brit actually be posting messages to fans on Twitter? Unlikely, I would think — although not impossible, I suppose. Dave Matthews does it (at least from what I can tell this is the real Dave), and even shares his thoughts about personal matters such as… well, go read it for yourself. Other artists do it too, including Ben Kweller and David Usher (who has adopted social media with a real passion, and was our guest on a panel at mesh 2008 in May). And others too.
That said, however — and no offence intended to Dave or David or Ben — there are few stars of Britney’s caliber out there blogging and Twittering. And no, I don’t think Courtney Love counts, although some of her MySpace posts are a lot of fun, if a rambling stream of consciousness (or unconsciousness) is what you’re after. Among other things, it’s fascinating that Britney’s Twitter handle is @therealbritney, something I suppose is inevitable in a world of Fake Steve Jobs and characters from TV shows like Mad Men setting up Twitter accounts. Do people care whether it’s the real Britney? And how would they know, assuming they care?
Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library has some advice for Britney, which I’m sure is well-intentioned, and so does venture capitalist Fred Wilson (who is an investor in Twitter). Loren Feldman of 1938 Media, meanwhile — who is an expert in what I call “anti-social media” — thinks giving Britney advice is ridiculous, since she likely couldn’t care less what people actually think or say, and is merely interested in Twitter as a kind of distribution channel (my paraphrasing of his Twitter messages on the subject).
I think Loren is probably right. Does that make it bad? Not really. Sure, I would love it — and so would lots of other people — if Brit decided to get on there and vent about bad business deals or relationships, like Courtney Love does, but realistically the odds of that happening are approximately zero. As for Britney’s arrival being a sign that Twitter is going “mainstream,” I’m not so sure about that. If it remains just a channel for news of new videos and other content on her blog-style page (speaking of which, I hope she doesn’t mind me lifting and embedding her video, even though there was no embed code provided), then I don’t see it having much effect.
If fans start talking on Twitter and Brit responds, however — or even reacts in some way through other channels — then that could really start something. It would have been fascinating to have her on Twitter when she was shaving her head and hiding out in bathrooms and bombing at award shows, but her label probably wouldn’t have let her. I doubt they see the value in anyone knowing the “real” Britney.