So here is my ‘sorry I’m late’ second post on my thoughts on privacy, social media, and how it’s affected the way we interact with each other. Today I’m focusing on how we interact with our ‘heroes’ or favorite celebrities as well as how social media has changed that. A third and final post to wrap this up will be posted soon!
Here we go.
I’m going to start this with: Twitter and Instagram are two of the best and worst things to happen to celebrities.
Before social media it was harder for people to find out where a star was and bombard them. Before social media if you got a picture with your fave, it was mostly yours. Now you can find out that someone is at the airport, at a restaurant, or shopping etc and people flock there hoping to meet that person. Even worse, it seems like people are more interested in getting the picture, tagging the star, and bragging about the likes. It’s not about the connection. On top of that the star has to consider a million things. How is this picture going to look? Could it get them in trouble? Etc. Etc. A lot of people have stopped treating them like people.
Social Media allows us to interact with our faves, however…it blurs a line that should never be blurred. It makes fans feel like they know these celebrities, they start to see them as friends. The thing is? They aren’t your friends.
Networking is part of their job. Acting/singing/blogging/etc. is their livelihood. They seem familiar to you because you have so much access to content other than an album or show or interview. You get glimpses into their lives, personal pictures, their opinions etc. It makes you think you know them. But, while they may retweet, respond, or fave your tweet or like your picture…maybe they follow you? THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND. THEY OWE YOU NOTHING other than the content you’ve received or what you’ve paid for.
You don’t pay your friends to spend time with you.
If you google celebrities and mean, you’ll find a plethora of stories. Some pretty big ones are Ian Somerhalder screaming at fans who approached him in his free time with his wife about not approaching him for autographs on ‘his’ time or some of the effed up stuff Justin Bieber has done, Joe Jonas recounting his experience with a fan that didn’t respect his boundaries or that all Kardashians are bad people to meet etc. etc.
If you’ve been paying attention you know that Justin Bieber has cancelled all meet and greets and has asked fans to stop asking him for pictures and autographs.
This has a lot of people divided, but Justin did make one comment (I don’t frequently agree with Bieber or like who he seems to be, but I don’t know him) that resonated with me. When people were saying that he OWED his fans his time and networking, he said that all he owed them was a CD, which they had.
This created a lot of drama. BUT I agree. Singing is his job. My best friend works in retail. If you see her on the street would you ask her for information about her job or try to talk to her?
Probably not, because you met her at her job. Once you paid for your items or aired your concerns and left? Your interaction was over and no longer mattered.
We need to start treating stars with that same respect, especially if they ask for it. They’re normal people too, their job just has a lot of exposure.
There was a recent feature on one of my favorite actors, Tyler Hoechlin, in Empire. He made a comment about a fan encounter that encapsulates everything wrong with going up to someone for a picture and being pissed when they say no:
We were in Vegas for my brother’s bachelor party. This guy comes up to me, and he’s about twenty-three, twenty-two. He goes, “Hey, bud, it’s my girlfriend’s birthday. Would you take a picture with her?” One, it’s a pool, she’s in a bikini, I’m in my board shorts, and I go, “Honestly, man, it’s kind of inappropriate for me to take a photo right now. But bring her over, I would love to talk to her.” He brings her over, I talk to her for probably ten minutes; you know, “Where are you guys staying, what are you guys doing, seen any shows, where are you from?” Had a long conversation with her, said happy birthday, gave her a hug, said, “Hope you guys have a great time.” They went back over to their area, and when they go to leave, her mom comes up to me and she goes, “Hey, you met my daughter. It’s her birthday.” I go, “Oh, yeah, she was lovely, I hope you guys are having a really great time.” She goes, “She wanted to take a picture with you and you wouldn’t do it. You know, you’re nothing without your fans.” Walked away and flipped me off. I went, “Wow, so the fact that I actually had a ten-minute conversation with your daughter means nothing because she can’t post that on her Instagram.”
That makes a lot of sense doesn’t it? I’m not trying to judge anyone. My brother recently met one of his heroes and got a picture after talking to him about comics. That picture means a lot to him. Personally I like getting pictures with artists that have impacted me in some way or another. However if faced with a choice between picture or conversation? I’d rather have the conversation.
Call me whatever you want but the way we treat people about those pictures are important because there are these things called paparazzi. Some celebs find ways to have amiable relations with them, but paps directly profit off the pictures they take that celebs didn’t consent to. How many photos have you untagged yourself in because you didn’t like the way you looked or the way they made you look? Now imagine that someone is constantly following you, with technology that allows them to take pictures from miles away while you are trying to escape and indulge in some privacy. We admonish celebs when paps get pics of them naked, by saying that they shouldn’t have been that stupid, but don’t you like to have your private time too? Have you never been naked in the privacy of your house or when you’re with that special someone and not in an enclosed bedrooom? When paps take these pictures they are taking away a person’s consent. It’s not ok. It’s never ok.
Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard started a movement two years ago that involved only allowing photos of celebrity children to be published that the parents provided and boycotting media that didn’t respect this request. This is completely understandable. Their parents are famous, they chose to be famous, these children didn’t. They should be allowed to have a childhood free of fears from cameras or abusive paps. Several media outlets jumped onto this and it was amazing to see.
And now you have celebs like Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, Candice Accola-King, & Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds who’ve never shown pictures or shared info of their children directly after birth. They’ve chosen to show their kids at their own pace either by choosing to never show their child’s face or post pictures when they’re ready. We’ve only recently seen a full face pic of Silas, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel’s child. And as parents? That should be their choice. Michelle Williams called a news outlet herself and had the pictures of her daughter with the late Heath Ledger taken down immediately. They’re protecting their kids. We should all respect that. If someone chooses to share their child, that’s their choice and it’s valid. However celeb parents should be able to share what they feel is appropriate when it involves their children.
If you don’t know who Christina Grimmie was I strongly urge you to look her up and listen to her music. Now read this. You’ll find that she was shot and killed by an obsessed fan at a meet and greet after her set.
Meet and greets are typically attained one of three ways:
-won from a contest, radio, or the artist’s site
-purchased with or separately from your concert ticket on the merchant site or artist’s site
-gotten through waiting like hell after a concert’s over to say hi
Typically if you pay for a meet and greet or you stay after a concert you get more time with the artist/talent, a picture, maybe an autograph, and, if they’re musicians, some stripped down versions of their songs. It’s a nice way to ‘get to know’ the artist, but, if you’re like me, I like to have a genuine conversation with someone and anyone I want to actually meet has touched my life in one way or another so I tell them how much they’ve impacted me. I’ve had some out of this world, unique experiences with artists and talent. I don’t talk about the details a lot because they were personal, they’re mine.
Usually if you’ve won one…it’s basically like herding cattle. Picture and go. Picture and go.
However after Christina’s death, things have changed a lot and as an avid convention goer and concert junkie, I’ve seen the repercussions of it at the last con I went to and the last three meet and greets I’ve been to.
The last three concert meet and greets, my friend and I were rushed by staff. At these particular concerts, we noticed that the artist herself had to stall for us to give her hugs and even then staff tried to rush us. My friend and I have been seeing this artist for years in concert and it’s a tradition to see her and she recognizes us, we chat a bit, but my friend and I know that we are not her friends, we’re her fans. So when we can’t get a pic or get to talk to her a bit we understand. At the October concert we attended? Security was the tightest we’d seen.
At the last con I went to, DragonCon in Atlanta, I noticed the handlers hovered more and tried to get people to stop talking to the talent, especially if they weren’t paying for an autograph or picture. However it’s been my experience at DragonCon that most of the talent is very kind and willing to have ten to fifteen minute conversations in the Hall of Fame. They seem to enjoy connecting with fans more than taking pictures. You can buy photo ops with talent, but it’s a herding cattle situation. Security was tighter. Because of the sheer volume of people at DragonCon you didn’t notice the extra security, but I noticed more walkies, I noticed how close the handlers stuck. I will say this for DragonCon, most of the fans that come to meet the talent tend to be very respectful and the ones who aren’t get removed quickly.
At Vidcon (Christina had a huge YouTube following) this year’s security was heavily revamped as detailed in this article. Usually at VidCon conventions people are able to talk to their faves/heroes one on one in group settings, on the convention floor, and after panels. This year the talent wasn’t allowed to meet with the convention attendees after panels or one on one and talent had security. What shocked me was the amount of YouTubers who were relieved at the security.
People post what they’re comfortable with. If they choose to disclose their relationship status, sexuality, beliefs, personal information, etc? That’s their business and their decision. I stated this before and I’m going to reiterate it as gently as possible: THEY aren’t YOUR friends. YOU are THEIR fan. You are a fan of their body of work and that is all they owe you. Nothing less, nothing more. Anything more they choose to do? That’s their choice.
Please respect celebs wishes. If you see someone at a cafe or on the street, by all means approach, but if they say no? Respect that. They aren’t trying to attack you personally or be mean. And, by all means, I know that no can be hard as fuck. But please please please respect their sanity and boundaries.
❤ Lady Lynx