Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Might 'Love' Get Twitter Over the Hump?

Not romantic love, silly! I mean Kevin Love, the young power forward of the Minnesota Timberwolves who recently completed his rookie season. DUH.

"But why have you tricked us like this, TAN?" thought the internet chorus.

"Well I'll tell you," thought TAN as he wrote those very words on the keyboard ...

Sure celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Oprah are huge celebrities, but that's just it, they're *celebrities*. I'd argue that celebritydom gets us to listen or pay attention or click, but at the same time it makes us minimize the weight/value of A-B-C-listers.

So, like, a PH.D will be more respected than a celebrity PH.D. (I know, there's vagaries to that, i.e. good and bad celebrity, but roll with me here, I think this is how we will undermine the celebrity infrastructure...) In the case of Oprah, in particular, it might constitute a thesis statement in need of further research to suggest her celebritydom has outflanked her ranking/merit as media mogul. The argument is at some point she (and every other celeb) tips over the line and is no longer applying her time to her media moguldom because she's managing everything involved with being Oprah day-to-day. The Celebrity Industry Complex.

Which is to say celebrities, if not now, sometime in the near future, will all occupy the same mind space. And this will be fair: part of the streamlining brain-efficiency program, we know to be a celebrity you must take some portion of your finite time and energy and devote it to something other than mastery of your craft/art/talent etc.

To make money these days, and in the past, you had to have some talent (play a guitar, rap, shoot a ball etc), but to be a *star* you also needed skills with schmoozing and the rest. Schmoozing and networking are the tools//talents of celebrities. Some people hate that. Some people revel in it. But that's all beside the point. What matters is there's a finite amount of time to devote your energies. And before, everything was wrapped into one ball. And now, everything is partitioned off. So it's easier to be a writer these days, but it's more difficult to be a *superstar celebrity writer*.

If we abide by the 10,000 hour rule, then to split your energies might get you more money and fame, but it will make you less of a master. Less of a genius at whatever you do. Some say I'm a good self-promoter, but that invariably makes me less of a writer. Presumably we don't know The Grand Masters of our various arts because they're in a hole obsessed to the point of socio-dysfunction. Genius!

So in the future, celebrities will be celebrities: People in the public eye, that we know to varying degrees, for some reason or another. Oprah, Ashton, Pam Anderson, David Letterman, same shit, different toilet. Or somesuch. (Unless you know them personally, of course).

Now back to Kevin Love. He's no celebrity. Just a basketball player. But last week he got the NBA media circles buzzing because he tweeted news of his coach/GM/boss leaving the team before the Timberwolves made any official announcement and before any reporters knew.

The big reveal is simply that he's going unpunished, and even better, he's being encouraged to do more tweeting. And now the door opens for every team to have their first player-tweeter-journo-blogger. Who's hurt, who's traded, who's leaving, who's got a bad attitude, who's re-signing, all from an insider perspective that couldn't be duplicated by even the most observant sports reporter. Players being allowed to use the new tools of the media trade feels like a game-changer.

In sum: a sports league embracing Twitter to the point of players being allowed to break news before the team's PR department -- something that in the past would normally cause a fine or suspension or other reprimand -- is bigger than Oprah or Ashton getting a jillion followers. Sports as one of our cultural institutions is bigger than Ashton. Bigger than Oprah (i think). If our NBA broadcasts will soon be informed by players telling us all sorts of insider-y stuff, feels like more of a fundamental philosophical embrace of the new medium and what it means. Athletes already have blogs, so what happens when the players are doing both the playing and reporting?

Regardless, it seems fitting that Love has led the way.



  1. Anonymous6/23/2009

    I weep everyday for the days that were PRE TWITTER.

    "Just because someone has a pen and a pad DOES NOT make one a reporter"

    I'm just saying. Too many chiefs on twitter and not enough indians. I mean yeah, they "follow" the celebs only to feed their narcissic bullshit. THEN the "fan" or whatever acts the same and its just ugh


    I have no comemt on the "Love" person. Don't care about Sports enough to comment.

    peace :D

  2. Recent Tweet from Love: @Glen Taylor: "I STILL can't believe that dumb ass McHale traded OJ Mayo for me."

  3. Anonymous6/27/2009

    Shaq found out about his trade through twitter also. You went with the "Love" joke, but the NBA and its players are embracing the technology like no other sport. Might be worth unpacking further, just saying.


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