Pee Wee Herman had more than 40,000 followers within 24 hours of joining Twitter. An organic phenomenon? Hardly: He had a PR agency known for its celebrity "Twitter boot camp" on his side. And they taught him some secrets.
Microblogging might seem straightforward enough to your typical Silicon Valley office drone. But Hollywood superstars are used to things coming a bit easier in life. And PR firms like Santa Monica-based Id are ready to hold their hands on Twitter, Nicole LaPorte (disclaimer: the long-suffering wife of Gawker's Richard Rushfield) writes at the Daily Beast, and help bolster their image, or at least not wreck it.
What does Id teach? Well, only clients like Herman, Ben Stiller, and Natalie Portman know for sure, but it's possible to distill a few likely lessons from LaPorte's story:
- Make a friend at Twitter Inc. Everyone who's anyone has one. They're great for when hackers and impostors come around — or for when your problem is more old school. LaPorte: "Virtually every publicist in Hollywood has a go-to person at Twitter-the equivalent these days of having an "in" with famed MGM publicity chiefs-cum-fixers... during Hollywood's Golden Age."
- Latch on to current events. Just because you're a celebrity and no one really cares what you think about important issues doesn't mean you can't offer commentary. Everyone loves a clown: "The day that President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Ben Stiller tweeted: 'Was awoken this morning to my daughter telling me that I had no shot at ever winning the Nobel Peace Prize.'"
- Launch with a crowd. A real one. Herman issued his first tweet at the 140tc Twitter Conference (see video above), thus helping ensure a bunch of re-tweets from the Twitter junkies and bigwigs in the audience and thus accelerating his microblogging popularity.
Thank goodness for flacks. Without them, celebrities would have to earn Twitter attention all on their own, with only their wildly inflated global popularity to hep them.