Celebs and Twitter: Do they have to go together?

Nov. 17, 2011 at 1:57 PM ET

So, Simon Cowell is now on Twitter. That was the big news in social media Wednesday. What was your first reaction? I'll tell you what mine was not: "Amazing! He'll have so many insights to share, and we really don't see that much of him on any of his other media platforms."

Phil Mccarten / Reuters file /

With all due respect to Cowell, who I do believe is quite an influential man about television and music, I don't see the need for him to be on Twitter. Here's the thing: most celebrities do their best work in the platform in which they became famous. Very few actually gain something by becoming more accessible via the internet. Take one of Cowell's inaugural tweets, for example: "Melanie --incredible but Josh just stole the show." Does this sound like the Cowell we've all come to know and love/hate? No. That comment about the "X Factor" contestants could have come from anyone, and arguably doesn't serve as any sort of meaningful extension of Cowell himself.

To be fair, it's still early for Cowell, and I'm not suggesting that celebs should stay off of Twitter entirely -- they're just as entitled to the platform as anyone else (and I'm sure Twitter isn't upset about their participation, even when it goes awry). Rather, it's not often that a celebrity manages to use the platform for good. Love him or hate him, Howard Stern did something really cool when, unannounced, he started live tweeting behind-the-scenes anecdotes from "Private Parts" when it was playing on cable one weekend. That is an amazing use of the platform, and something you really didn't see happen before Stern did it.

But Stern is definitely an exception, and there's also this: celebrities are at their most interesting when less is known about their private lives. This is true when we're trying to believe them in a role on a big screen, and it's true when we're following them on smaller screens, like Twitter for iPhone.

So, who DO you like to follow on Twitter? Are there more A-listers like Stern out there who go beyond the "I love 'insert brand here'" or "I have awesome fans" tweets? Take the discussion over to The Scoop on Facebook, and maybe we can float the good ones to the top of the Twitter pile.

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