Thought Facebook was for flicking through photos of people you don't know? That Twitter was only for office-workers with nothing better to do? Think again: Web 2.0 is an indispensable tool for multi-tasking celebrities. Today, it is the preferred method by which the rich and famous deign to connect with we non-entities.
A fan well-fed with titbits of gossip about their idol is a happy fan and internet-savvy singers and actors are now devoting as much time to cultivating their online presence as they are perfecting that flawless red-carpet look. Britney Spears believes it's so important to get the right "online media manager" that she's narrowed the recruitment process down to Harvard graduates alone, according to a small ad she posted on the college's private message board. That's right: Britney thinks that only alumni from a university which counts 75 Nobel Prize winners among its affiliates could be up to managing her Facebook, YouTube, MySpace and Twitter profiles, plus her other personal websites. Spears has half-a-million Facebook friends who can look at photos and listen to new tracks via her profile. On two of her websites you'll find news, blogs and enough trivia to sate any fan's virtual appetite.
In fact, whoever gets this gig will be up against an international army of paps, bloggers and reporters hellbent on getting shameful pictures and the scurrilous gossip out to the public. Her web products are Britney's counter offensive, and she means business.
How celebrities manage their online presence is crucial to their brand, and new blogs appear weekly. Next month Rio Ferdinand launches a digital magazine with music, fashion and interview content aimed at "aspirational males" and edited by a former GQ journalist; Gwyneth Paltrow styles herself as a New Age Martha Stewart through goop.com, a compilation of fatuous drivel and diet secrets. Still, at least her musings on buttock-toning provide cheap kicks for the rest of us.