Life is tweet for a growing roster of stars


POSTED: Monday, March 30, 2009

What do John Mayer, Britney Spears, Shaquille O'Neal, John Cleese, Kevin Pollak and a potted plant all have in common?

Yes, technically, they're all life forms. And yes, they all respire. And yes, though at least a third of them lack the higher brain functioning to be aware of the fact, they all depend on photosynthesis—thanks, “;professor,”; for pouring water all over my comedic timing.

But what else?

They all use Twitter.

As reported by your dutiful Digital Slob almost two years ago, the thriving online service is basically text-messaging with a bullhorn, allowing users to post their whimsies in 140 characters or less while simultaneously following and being followed by others who do the same thing.

A major fetish among the nerd herd for some time, Twitter recently overtopped its levies thanks to the fickle finger of celebrity buzz and is inundating zillions of so-called regular folk.

You know, people who occasionally eat salad for dinner. People who don't know how to make their own ringtones. People who go to “;Star Trek”; movies but not the conventions.

Still, I keep the “;so-called”; in front of “;regular”; because everybody's a freak about something—and this is fueling Twitter's fast track to world domination.

For example, if you've got 12 posters of singer John Mayer in your bedroom, then last week in Algebra II class, you must've read the story about Jennifer Aniston allegedly dumping him for posting time-stamped “;tweets”; after he told her he was busy.

And if you know that, you've figured out that you can create an account, followed by @johncmayer and reply, “;If you were my boyfriend, I'd let you Twitter any time, and I mean any time”;—and he might even read it.

This assumes that you aren't like Britney Spears, someone who outsources her mindless 16-word musings through “;ghosttweeters,”; as the New York Times reported.

As a writer, I'm not without a need to pay the rent, but I could never ghost-write tweets for Britney. I could never find her “;voice.”; How would she spell “;thong”;? “;Thaung”;? “;Thawng”;? “;Tonga”;? (Incidentally, I assure my followers that all @digitalslob tweets are real. The 39 posts I do not specifically remember writing can probably be traced back to the Ambien.)

Yet other stars, like “;Monty Python's”; @JohnCleese and the 7-foot-tall, 325-pound @the_real_shaq seem genuine, though the latter must post using a Blackberry the size of a plasma television.

Then there's @kevinpollak, the actor/comedian perhaps best known for holding Tom Cruise's legal briefs in “;A Few Good Men.”; He has more than 164,000 Twitter devotees and a brand-new online talk show, “;Kevin Pollak's Chat Show.”; It streams live at 2 p.m. Sundays and seems at least partially inspired by his growing legion of followers.

Which brings me, finally, to @porthos—a plant with almost 3,000 followers. Thanks to a $99 soil sensor developed at New York University, Porthos sends out messages that say, “;Water me please,”; “;URGENT! Water me!”; and “;Thank you for watering me!”;

When I find the link to “;Pothos' Chat Show,”; I'll let you know.


Subscribe to columnist Curt Brandao's Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/digitalslob.