Celebrity Experts

Category: Social Media Social Good Series

Celebrity experts in Social Media and Politics

I was speaking with a Social Media friend about so-called celebrity experts in the SoMe world. We quickly distinguished between the real knowledgeable person who actually did their own tweets and others that sort of fell into fame for no apparent reason. This topic even came up in a recent #blogchat where someone was negatively talking about a SoMe celebrity who had tens of thousands of followers on Twitter, but followed only a handful himself.

Twitter followers

In my experience, there are genuine stars in Social Media and a lot of people who simply game the system without providing the goods. It seems pretty obvious who is who and I choose to learn from the former and marvel at the chutzpah of the latter.

Happily, I can count a lot of the genuine SoMe stars as either/both virtual or IRL friends. The list includes Chris BroganGuy Kawasaki, Angela MaiersJessica Northey, Ted Rubin, and so many others. Not a one of those people – specifically mentioned or that I consider a valuable resource – doesn’t get back to me quickly and do much of their own SoMe work. Of course, Guy Kawasaki has assistants, as do so many others. But, when he guests on #DadChat, it’s him all the way and he rocks it out of the park each time. Same with every other name on my short list above, each of whom has co-hosted #DadChat at least once.

Most Popular on Twitter

This is who I turn to for wisdom!

Those people who give back to others are always my favorite “stars” since I truly do believe in my motto that Social Media = Social Good. But, what about the more obvious celebrity experts or, more accurately, the celebrities (without expert added) who have fame and stature on SoMe or, for that matter, fame outside of their expertise?

These are the celebrities that irk me the most — when Sean Penn, Michael Moore, Barbra Streisand, Alec Baldwin, Susan Sarandon and so many others espouse political points-of-view when clearly they know so very little. My fav is Alec Baldwin who puts his foot in his mouth every time he opens it and utters something unscripted. I still don’t understand why he lives in the United States after declaring emphatically he would leave if Bush (II) were re-elected.

Academy Awards

Sean Penn courts favor with despots and dictators while that tattooed idiot of a former basketball star curries favor with Young Kim in North Korea, one of the most evil men on the planet. The foolishness of these celebrities in spouting off platitudes when they know so very little is astonishing. I suppose it began in earnest in sixties when Marlon Brando had a stand-in accept his Academy Award and declare a political position and stance.


During World War II Hollywood was extremely pro-America. It was a badge of honor to enlist in the service as did so many actors and so many sports stars. The great Ted Williams gave up many years in his prime to proudly serve in the military. We all know how many celebrities lined up to enlist during the Vietnam era.

It was my generation which tore down all the walls of civility and respect towards authority and the military AND the government. Sadly, Nixon didn’t help the cause for a president to earn respect, but the extreme actions of my generation during those turbulent years laid the groundwork for the nonsense of celebrity experts today and the deterioration of so many of our institutions.

Social Media narcissism

Ironically, 9/11 brought back for a brief period, a sense of unity in the country but that has long been blown away by the growth of political correctness and the incredible vitriol that is standard now among our nation’s politicians.

All this rambling brings me back to who really is a celebrity expert. It’s basically in the eyes of the beholder. Do you vett what a basketball or Hollywood star says or do you simply agree with them because of their celebrity status? This is our responsibility. Take the time to know who is who. I know those in my space – public and private – that genuinely make the world a better place. And, I know those that are simply mouths that speak with rarely a word of wisdom or truth uttered. Take the time to know the difference and be sure you teach your children the same!

Hollywood and Politics

  • Deena Rae

    Excellent commentary on the BS. Those sheep that get their political views from Hollywood and only Hollywood are morons and a reason that the Kardashians are more well known than what is actually going on in the US and the world at large. 🙁

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      EXACTLY @deenarae:disqus – we think alike, clearly!

      • Deena Rae

        seems that way.

  • http://osakabentures.com/english-2/saulfleischman/ Saul Fleischman

    No rambling, @brucesallan:disqus – my favorite from you. Scheduled this with #callingbullshit once, #callouts another time. And you know what, many of the SM “gurus,” too – they’re worse: they engineer their Klout and call it “social signals.” I believe less and less. But when I read fresh ideas from people, I don’t care where the are on the SM totem pole; I look for actual thinkers, and those providing valuable material.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I’m with YOU @osakasaul:disqus !!!

  • http://www.angelamaiers.com AngelaMaiers

    Thank you for this post Bruce. So appreciate being included and so honored to be learning and leading with you all!

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Thanks Teach! @AngelaMaiers:disqus

  • David Weber

    Some topics are woven into one another here and ought to be separated. Two that I notice are (a) celebrity tweeting habits or choices and (b) celebrity political action. The two endeavors — tweeting and promoting or taking political action — of course may overlap on some occasions, and on others may not. I would want to see them kept straight apart from one another and then addressed one by one, rather than conflated with blanket statements made or frustrations expressed about one in a way that seems to also apply to the other.

    First, what are the rules that govern a celebrity’s public communication? I don’t dispute that many more rather than fewer tweets or statements I encounter by a celebrity (assuming we agree what may define a “celebrity”) are shallow, imprudent, premature or simply dumb. I certainly can only think of only three ways to control this. One is self-control or self-management by celebrities. The second is control of management of them by advisors and intimates.

    Self-control: Well, that’s probably not going to happen. Control by others: well, you are probably going to say good-bye to your relationship with that celebrity, and that means good-bye to a meal ticket, crumbs of glamour that fall into your lap and so on.

    The third way is for potential audience members to renounce any engagement with the celebrity’s public products — don’t follow him or her on Twitter any more, don’t go to his or her movies, don’t buy products advertised on his or her TV shows and so forth. What impact the latter will have, I don’t know, but logically it is a way to perhaps send a message to the celebrity.

    Second, I notice that all the examples you give are of U.S. Americans on the left. On one hand, that is no surprise: I am presuming that the majority of entertainers are “liberal’ because a certain kind of anti-establishment orientation is something that most entertainers, artists, writers and so forth have tended to be throughout history. Very generally speaking, those for whom a career depends on the public presentation of creative self-expression are less likely to be particularly conservative in their ideological commitments; there are examples to the contrary, of course, but for me only a short list comes to mind without racking my brains.

    Third, no tour d’horizon of Stupid Celebrity Comments would be complete without mentioning Ted Nugent or Charlie Daniels. All the reasons that you think that Sean Penn, Alec Baldwin and others ought STF up may be applied to those two. The list of left-of-center celebrity commentators is longer than the right-of-center list; all the more reason to say that those two of the few ought to be as embarrassing to someone on the right that Janeane Garolalo ought to be to someone on the left.

    Finally, I will propose two celebrities who in my opinion deserve acclaim along these lines–one on the right, one on the left. George Clooney is intelligent and articulate and very proudly on the left. Tom Selleck is all of those things, except he is on the right.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      So @7f990e539df4ddefe26884eb65a5f04c:disqus – what grade would I get on this “paper” in one of your classes? I think those on the Left are FAR WORSE and far more prevalent than those on the right and, as you agreed, much more so in la-la land (Hollywood – or ALL of Los Angeles/California for the most part)!