| LOS ANGELES, Sept 14
LOS ANGELES, Sept 14 Is celebrities' obsession
with Twitter starting to wane?
When singer John Mayer, one of Twitter's most high profile
users with 3.7 million followers, shut his account on Monday,
he was just the latest celebrity to quit the micro-blogging
Some stars are finding that Twitter may be great as a
promotional tool or for reaching out to fans, but it also comes
with a downside.
Teen singer Miley Cyrus deleted her account a year ago,
persuaded into silence by her new boyfriend, Liam Hemsworth.
"Hairspray" star Amanda Bynes deleted her Twitter account
last week without any notice to her fans. Earlier this month,
Disney starlet Demi Lovato, 18, tweeted that she's saying
"goodbye to twitter" because "the access that the other people
have is uncomfortable to me."
"The blessing of tweeting for celebrities was this idea
that you could bypass sending out a press release and go
directly to those who are following you," said Robert Thompson,
professor of Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse
However, many celebrities have found that their tweets are
being made fun of, or blow up in their faces.
Although Bynes, 24, offered no explanation for quitting
Twitter, she seems to have had a volatile relationship with the
so-called "Twitterverse." The actress got flack for announcing
on Twitter that she was retiring from acting earlier this year,
and then subsequently "un-retiring" a month later.
She also got into Twitter fights with users who disagreed
with her tweets, including those about her taste in men.
FAMILIARITY BREEDS CONTEMPT
"Many celebrities are realizing the old saying that
familiarity breeds contempt," Thompson told Reuters. "We used
to think that celebrities were distant people we could never
communicate with. Twitter reversed that and some celebrities
are growing tired of that."
Just ask country singer LeAnn Rimes, who was an active
Twitter user when her marriage ended after she cheated on her
husband with married actor Eddie Cibrian.
After Rimes and Cibrian divorced their spouses, the duo was
photographed kissing each other, which sparked outrage. The
singer began to get attacked on Twitter but when she tried
defended herself on the site, users retaliated even more.
Rimes closed her account in July 2010, tweeting that it was
"unhealthy for me and my family to have to read negative
comments." However, a week later she was back on Twitter,
saying she missed her fans and wanted to let them know "how
much u r appreciated."
Paul Levinson, author of "New New Media," says Twitter has
now reached a sort of "shaking out point."
"Those who joined as part of a bandwagon because their
peers were on the site, are now finding out if it is truly a
medium that works for them.
"For some it will continue to be one of the best things
they could do. For others, it has become an imposition, a
pain," Levinson said.
WHAT'S THE POINT?
Comedian Ricky Gervais joined Twitter last December because
he was hosting the Golden Globes and "they want me to do a
running commentary on Twitter."
However, less than a month later, he quit. In his last
Twitter post, Gervais wrote he was "going to stop these tweets
because I don't see the point.
So is this the beginning of a mass Twitter exodus? Not so,
said Bonnie Fuller, president and editor-in-chief of celebrity
"For every celebrity that quits Twitter, there's 10 who
sign up," Fuller said. "There are just too many of them
benefiting from Twitter. Celebrities see it as a great
opportunity to communicate with fans, give them information and
Fuller cited reality TV star Kim Kardashian, who uses
Twitter to successfully promote herself, the products she's
lent her name to, and the careers of her sisters.
As for Mayer, a spokesperson for the Grammy-winning singer
said he had closed his Twitter account because his concert tour
has ended and Mayer is preparing to head back to the studio.
Mayer used Twitter to talk to fans and address
controversies, including an expletive-laced Playboy magazine
interview in February about his sex life.
The bluesy writer of hits like "Gravity" remains active on
Facebook, his own website JohnMayer.com and what appears to be
his new favorite blogging site, Tumblr.
In a post on Tumblr last week, Mayer said he felt he had
"made the right move" to the new site. Despite having only
50,000 Tumblr followers, he admitted to having "an even larger
Tumblr addiction" than the one he had to Twitter.
Whether or not he continues on Tumblr remains to be seen.
In a September 12 post -- the latest and last post to date --
Mayer thanked fans for making his recent tour a success and
signed off by saying that it was "time to (try to) disappear
for a while."
(Editing by Jill Serjeant)