In the midst of the Jo Paterno scandal, Ashton Kutcher hastily made a tweet about how insulting it was that Jo Pa was fired. He was immediately criticized and ridiculed for his comment. In response to the backlash, Ashton posted on his blog and explained his reasoning for the post. He said that he did not know the full story, and had only seen a headline that Paterno had been fired. Later, when he saw the full story on ESPN, he went back to Twitter to correct his error. Unfortunately, it was far too late. Kutcher said he would quit Twitter. This brings me to a question I've been pondering for a while. Does "quitting" Twitter work as an effective public relations crisis management solution?
In Jim Tobin's book, Social Media is a Cocktail Party, the author states explains that even if you're not a part of social media, your clients are. This book is focused on social media tools and tips for companies, but can be applied to celebrities as well. Even if Ashton leaves his Twitter account, fans and critics will still be talking about his comment and posting their opinions. Is it better for Ashton to be off of the sites, or would it be more fitting for him to stay online, defend himself, and show that his Twitter feed can be appropriate and informative?
Ashton Kutcher decided to stay on Twitter, but to let his management company take over his posts and control the content. Followers have an issue with this too, as they would prefer honesty and transparency than doctored comments by his management team.
Kutcher is not the first to claim he was dropping his account. Miley Cyrus stated she was quitting Twitter in 2009, due to the lack of privacy. When I checked Twitter today, she had an active account that had posts several times daily. John Mayer quit his account, citing the need for a lack of distractions while recording. Amanda Bynes quit her account without notice, later saying that she was uncomfortable with the lack of privacy. These celebrities currently have active accounts.
Looks like the threat to quit an account is truly just an empty threat. Celebrities must find more reasons to have an account that not, and that part of being a public figure means criticism and negative comments. Some stars have even used their social media platforms for a cause. In 2010, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian and Justin Timberlake stopped posting to raise money for Keep a Child Alive. They vowed to sign out of their accounts until they raised $1 million in donations for the organization. Advertisements were released to promote the cause. The stars raised the amount, and returned to tweeting and posting on Facebook.
Do you think quitting social media helps to quiet celebrities' mistakes, or does it make fans and critics even more displeased with their actions?