Public Figures and Social Media

It used to floor me every time some athlete or celebrity of some sort of level would be shocked that people would bring up things from their personal lives. Particularly when they put so much of their private lives out in front of the world as part of their image.

Think about Tiger Woods and the mess he found himself in a while back. Granted he seemed to make an effort to protect his children’s privacy, he still put out PR photos of himself with them to sell watches or cars or whatever he was peddling. He also had Elin, his trophy wife that he proudly would display at society events, because it made sense for his image to be married. Well, that’s what so many PR people tend to believe and probably rightly so.

The thing that is the most ridiculous is when you see one of these public figures / celebrities lashing out when their family is mentioned when they themselves brought that person into the general consciousness of the masses as part of their work. Even more disappointing is when you truly feel as if you like the person not only the person’s work, and they react in a generally ugly manner.

I bring this up due to an incident that recently transpired via twitter. While I had made a simple mention referencing something that was aired, where a family member mentioned a particular concern for a personality. The personality took umbrage to the comment, while there was no disrespect or malicious intent behind it.  The personality responded with a threatening tone.

It is a sad thing to see behind the public persona some times. I have worked with well known people and have found that many are not as they appear to be as we see them through the filter of the stage, screen, or written page. I recall working with a musician when I was about 17 years old, and I was quite impressed with his success (which proved to be short-lived.) When I met him, the first thing he said was ‘hey kid, can you get me some blow?’ At that point I began to learn a life lesson that continued for years.

Contrastingly, I have worked with an actor who I assumed would be a tremendous ass… only to find he was anything but an ass. He was gracious and kind to an early 20s version of myself who wasn’t as skilled as I am now. In fact, I still think of his patience and willingness to be supportive when I felt I was doing such a poor job.

The anonymity and distance (perceived or otherwise) of the internet leads to assholes who come from the masses to taunt and provoke the celebrities who use social networking sites. So I can understand why some of them would expect any comment to have a negative tone first, even if it was not. However I am still not sure that such presumptions are why they respond as they do. It could just be that they are, themselves, like the assholes in the masses… assholes among the celebrities. In this case, I am hoping it was nothing but a misunderstanding.

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