Before nearly 40 million jumped on the Twitter bandwagon this year, Kutcher was already using the microblogging site as a tool for self-promotion and as a way to reach his fans (and complain about the neighbors).
Back in April, hunky actor/goof Kutcher became the much-ballyhooed first tweeter to gain a million followers in a race with traditional media’s CNN. Since then, his number has crept up to more than 4 million — as mind-blowing an accomplishment as Vin Diesel beating Barack Obama for Facebook fan-page domination.
Kutcher and his wife, Demi Moore, weren’t the only celebs boasting tons of fan followers. Other stars used Twitter to gossip about famous frenemies, reveal juicy, personal intimacies, and — oh yes — take their personal fights public. The Twitter twist: Celebrities and followers alike complained of a backlash, and some stars went cold turkey. Take note of the celebrity Twitter-verse in 2009 …
SPLITSVILLE IN TWITSVILLE
News travels even faster these days, so getting the first word out about breakups is important for celebs. Paula Abdul opted to announce her shocking separation from “American Idol” on Twitter, away from the reality-TV publicity machine.
Shannon Elizabeth and Derek Hough embraced the medium to break the news of their breakup, coordinating their tweets: “Hi everyone — we wanted you all to know directly from us that Derek & I have decided to end our relationship as boyfriend & girlfriend …”
Jennifer Aniston and John Mayer split up in March, supposedly because the singer couldn’t find time for her, “yet his page was filled with Twitter updates” to his 50,000 fans. Shortly after the supposed breakup, Mayer tweeted that “this heart doesn’t come with instructions.” His consolation: He’s now up to nearly 3 million followers.
Not all breakups were so civilized. Compared to her stint in rehab two years ago, Lindsay Lohan had a quiet year — unless you followed her on Twitter. When 2009 got tough, she turned to her 40,000 followers to soothe her weary soul — and air her frequent romantic grievances. On-again, off-again girlfriend Samantha Ronson was Linds’ usual target, as in this tragically spelled tweet: “can you make an attempt to not ruin ANYTHI zG positive that i have FINALLY deserved just to cry myself to sleep with your cheats, errors …”
Smack in the middle of an April fight with Ronson at a Los Angeles boutique hotel, Lohan hurled online accusations at her beloved after the two retired to separate rooms: “Being cheated on does wonders to you … So you win, you broke my heart.” The two didn’t speak until December, until someone brokered a peace: John Mayer.
CRY FOR HELP
Not all Tinseltown tiffs revolved around romance. Outspoken gossip blogger Perez Hilton accused a Black Eyed Peas rapper of assault in an online cry for help at the Toronto Much Music Awards in June: “I was assaulted by Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas and his security guards. I am bleeding. Please, I need to file a police report.” Will opted to shoot back in a video blog, claiming a member of his entourage punched Perez, but only after the rumormonger called him a homophobic slur.
Two months later, Hilton (of all people) set the rules for Tweet etiquette. In August, alt-rocker Travis Barker blasted his ex-wife and former reality TV costar Shanna Moakler, targeting her parenting skills: “Your uncle is a CONVICTED CHILD MOLESTER and you will NOT agree to keep him away from the kids.” Perez Hilton weighed in, posting, “This is just stupid Travis. Twitter is not the correct forum to air out the dirty laundry of your family.”
In addition to serving as an outlet for breaking (and breakup) announcements, Twitter was a favorite place to divulge way too much information … or sometimes just confusion.
Yoko Ono recently encouraged readers to “send lots of love to that spot. Speak to your friends about that spot, how beautiful that spot is …”
Pink discussed “girly times” and being, uh, “flat-chested.” Rivers Cuomo of Weezer mentioned his “male pattern baldness and zits.” And Courtney Love noted that “it’s not hard to stay sober … I have my shrink he’s been awesome … My kidneys do hurt though.”
Erykah Badu and boyfriend Jay Electronica tweeted incessantly during the February home birth of their son. Badu began the barrage with “Morning, I’m in labour.” Electronica kept it up with “I see the head, full of hair.” The posts might’ve actually worked as a distraction — Badu gave birth without painkillers.
A TWEET RETREAT
Texting 140 characters or less can take a toll on someone. After a tweet-related legal skirmish, Love burned out in October. Miley Cyrus permanently signed off that same month, at the urging of new boyfriend Liam Hemsworth. Among her unhappy 2 million-plus followers: her country-crooning dad, Billy Ray, who begged his daughter to return to Tweetville: “Miley. You are a light in a world of darkness. You were born ‘Destiny Hope Cyrus for a reason. You can’t leave everyone now. We r countin on you.”
Maligned pseudo-star Spencer Pratt of “The Hills” saw Miley’s exit as an opportunity: “since miley cyrus left twitter I guess that makes me the most Famous person in the twitterverse!” Hey, you can dream, right?