The Psychology of the Celebrity

By: Guest | May 10, 2011 | 

Russell RoeringRussell Roering is a social media marketing consultant in the Chicago northern suburbs and blogs about social media, marketing, and business best practices on

Public relations professionals are celebrity-makers. Whether we’re promoting a brand or a person; the business of PR is about packaging a celebrity for public consumption and selling it to the world. I’m in the business of communications via social media and community building because I like building celebrities. Funny thing is, I have little interest in actually meeting celebrities.


Because the experience will be a huge deal for me, but mean almost nothing to them. I remember a scene from “Friends” where David Schwimmer’s character meets Isabella Rosselini in their favorite coffee shop and he is trying to convince her that dating him would be “the chance of a lifetime.” Rosselini’s response is classic: She looks at him and flatly says “yeah…for you.”

We know celebrities and their lives so well, but they don’t know us at all. It makes meeting them like running into an old friend, except that the old friend has no idea who you are.

In the world of social media, celebrity works a little differently. We talk about Klout scores, follower, and “like” counts (for the last time, it’s just as much about quality as quantity).

The better part about a social media celebrity is that, when someone actually qualifies for the moniker, they actually know many of the people who are their biggest fans because they engage with them on a more regular basis. Many normal rational people follow Lady Gaga every day on Twitter and send her a tweet hoping they will get a response. On the other hand, when I reach out via Twitter to Olivier Blanchard, Mari Smith, or Jason Falls, I know I will get a response in (at most) a day or two. In this regard, I have more respect for social media celebrities than regular celebrities. Sure, they may not perform for millions of fans, but for tips that can help me build my business, they can deliver.

Sure, its part of their job to engage, but I’ve always thought that it’s part of a celebrity’s job to engage with their fans as well. And that engagement should include Twitter or Facebook or anywhere else.

A funny thing happens when a celebrity actually engages with people via Twitter or Facebook—regular people respect and appreciate them more. Alyssa Milano, Ashton Kutcher, Christina Applegate and a few others are perfect examples of celebrities who may not be the highest paid or highest demand actors, but many people respect the heck out of them for leaping in and talking directly to fans, and it has paid them huge dividends. Why? It’s all about the engagement. They may not want to date us, even though it may be the chance of a lifetime, but they still give us a quick hello and allow us to really be a real part of their lives, if only for a moment.

What do you think?

Russell Roering is a social media marketing consultant in the Chicago northern suburbs and blogs about social media, marketing, and business best practices on

  • TheJackB

    Ralph Macchio has tweeted with me a few times. I was pleasantly surprised. I am not star struck but I sometimes enjoy sending out random tweets to celebrities to see who if any will respond.

  • russ_dean

    Jack- I can see Macchio being a stand-up guy in that respect, and I can’t deny that it’s fun to feel a part of a life a bit more famous than ours, but I think celebs like him are the exception rather than the rule. @TheJackB

  • TheJackB

    @russ_dean Many of them have Twitter accounts that are run by assistants so I would have to agree with you.

  • michaelwhite1

    This is a really interesting article. I suppose the benefit of this social media age is that we can all be famous. There was a time when people were perfectly happy sitting in the audience but now we all have the opportunity to be on stage – the stage of social media. Deeply intelligent post, will see if I can reference any ideas here into future essays!

  • gossipgirl1979

    This is a very interesting article, seeing as one of my favorite athletes fits right into it. Willie Parker has taken things a step further into video chating and having contests with us fans via social media. And on mothers day he even called a fan simply because her daughter asked him to on Facebook! Russell I think you are onto something big and I wish more celebrities would realize the benefits of actually interacting with fans.

  • russ_dean

    Thanks Michael. I agree that social media can give us all the chance to be famous, but you know how the old joke goes “when everyone’s famous, no one is famous”. @michaelwhite1

  • russ_dean

    Thanks, and kudos to Willie for stepping up. I think many celebrities don’t realize how much it means to their fans to have that interaction. It may not mean much to the celebrity, but it can mean everything to the fan. @gossipgirl1979