After an interesting conversation about editor, magazine ruiner, and gossip addict Bonnie Fuller (yes, really; it WAS interesting) over on Gawker I came up with (and why do I always give Gawker my best ideas before I put them on my blog? WHY????) a new rule of Teh IntarWebs:
The Janet Jackson Rule
If the gossip monger never talks to anyone but celebrities directly (“what do you think of X” does not count, it’s just @ baiting, so they can later say “see how involved my public is?” That’s right, you’re not an individual to them, you’re “their public”) then the gossip monger is not interested in Twitter as a platform for connecting with people s/he doesn’t already know, unless they are famous. Since this assoholic behaviour is on display to the celebs as well, let’s hope it gets the suckup gossip mongers shunned.
Bonnie Fuller being the prime example of this: while pretending to be spontaneous on Twitter, she never @’s anyone less prominent than Janet Jackson, lest she be mistaken for someone who talks to, rather than orders around, the Little People.
The counter-example I used is John Cusack, Shockozulu, who gains enormous goodwill by randomly choosing people to retweet or interact with simply on the basis of how interesting their words are to him. John Cusack is the Wild Man of Twitter, and for this he gets a total pass on all spelling and grammar mistakes. His twitter stream gives the impression of having been thumbed on a prototype iPhone stolen from Steve Jobs’ dreams, in the dark, under a table in a nightclub on the dark side of the moon, on which are resting several tumblers half-filled with whiskey and around which are sitting Cusack, the Ghost of Hunter S. Thompson, a French Legionnaire who’s gone AWOL, and a Hot Girl from the Ukraine Who is an Artist, Wears Catsuits, and Speaks Only in Ancient Phrygian.