From Gyneth Paltrow to Trump, todays idols be talking to their love. But are they really controlling their message?
I have a friend, Adam, who is an autograph seller- a niche profession, and one that is getting more niche by the day. When we fill for breakfast last month he was looking despondent.
” Everyone takes selfies these days ,” he said unhappily, picking at his clambered eggs.” It’s never autographs any more. They merely crave photographs of themselves with celebrities .”
Anyone who has attended a red carpet event or watched one on Tv, is common knowledge that selfies have securely supplanted autographs, with fans lurching urgently towards luminaries with outstretched telephones instead of writes and paper. Celebrities have adapted accordingly. In 2017, a video of Liam Payne went viral that demo him miserably making his road down a line of selfie-takers, his smile persist as long as it took for each follower to press click.
A photo of oneself with, say, Tom Cruise, feels more personal than a mere scribbled signature, which he could have given anyone( and could have been signed by anyone ). But the real reason selfies have abruptly yielded autographs as obsolete as landline telephones is thanks to social media. Instagram is seen for photos , not autographs, and what’s the point of having your photo taken with Payne if you don’t then immediately post it and watch the ” OMG !” s and” NO Way !!!!” s come flooding in? If you stand next to a celebrity and your friends don’t like the photo, did it ever happen? Do you even exist?
Instagram launched in 2010, four years after Twitter, six years after Facebook. Although social media was originally pitched as a channel for beings to keep in touch with their friends, it quickly likewise became a way for beings to feel greater close proximity to personalities, and to flaunt this closeness to others. Facebook, with characteristic hamfistedness, attempted to monetise this in 2013, when it announced it was trialling a feature that would allow users to pay to contact celebrities for a sliding scale of fees: 71 p for Jeremy Hunt, PS10. 68 for Tom Daley. But there was no need for people to spend money for the privilege, because celebrities has so far been proven extremely keen to bend down low-spirited and share their lives with the peasants. When Demi Moore appeared on David Letterman in 2010, she was already so addicted to Twitter she continued to tweet while live on air to millions. (” This stinks ,” Letterman griped .)
The appeal of social media for a luminary is obvious, in that it allows them to talk to the public without those dreadful middlemen: correspondents. The last decade is littered with examples of why celebrities( and their publicists) now prefer social media( which they can control) to giving interviews( which they cannot .) It’s unlikely that Michael Douglas would have been able to tweeted that his throat cancer was caused by cunnilingus, as he told the Guardian’s Xan Brooks in 2013( and for which he later publicly apologised to his wife, Catherine Zeta Jones ). It’s even less likely that Liam Neeson would have made an Instagram story about the time he went out hoping to kill a” blacknes mongrel” after a friend was abused, as he said in an interview this year. Why risk such disasters when, instead, you can just take a flattering photo, smacking a filter on it and berth it to your already adoring admirers? Mega celebrities with a hyper-online fanbase- Justin Bieber, Beyonce, Frank Ocean- can now go for years without making an interview and their business are helped rather than injured for it.
Instagram is an airbrushing app, one that makes beings touch up their photos, specifically, and their lives, generally, by determine what they choose to post.( When Jennifer Aniston lastly connected social media last month, and momentarily broke the internet, she naturally selected Instagram over the bearpit of Twitter .) Some are more honest about this than others: after he married Kim Kardashian- the luminary who more than any other has made a virtue out of artifice- Kanye West proudly told reporters in 2014 that the two of them expended four eras of their honeymoon in Florence playing with the filters on the bridal photo, that they eventually positioned on Instagram,” because the flowers were off-colour and material like that “.