Tweet, tweet

(Originally published in The California Aggie)

Have you ever wanted to know what celebrities are really thinking, at any given hour of the day, with no publicists around to influence what they say?

If you answered yes, you’re in luck, ’cause we’ve got Twitter.

At first I didn’t get the appeal of Twitter. Why limit your online presence to 140-character status updates when you can have an entire profile on Facebook? And who really cares what strangers have to say anyway?

And then, along came Ashton Kutcher.

The “Punk’d” host, husband of Demi Moore and all-around cool dude who made trucker hats a fashion statement was one of the first celebrities to make a personal Twitter account, and his tweets paved the way for the hundreds of famous folks who followed. He tweeted about everything – what he was doing, what he was thinking, causes and current events that interested him. It was as if he was our friend, and we were privy to all the details of his life that never make it into magazine articles and red-carpet interviews.

Of course, his millions of followers made Ashton’s star rise to a whole new level, and now most celebrities have a Twitter account of some kind. Still, not all Tweeters are made equal.

Take Leonardo DiCaprio. He’s one of the most popular actors in the world, makes tons of awesome movies and dates supermodels. Recipe for some fascinating, insightful tweets, right?

Wrong. Leo obviously doesn’t write any of his tweets himself, and every single one deals with environmental issues or gives ways-to-get-involved factoids. A tweet on Nov. 1 read “Tomorrow is the day we stand up for what is right for California’s environment & future. Please vote No on #Prop 23.” Riveting, Leo. Just tweet us a picture of your bedroom and call it a day.

Kanye West, on the other hand, is the kind of celebrity Twitter was made for. The guy seems to tweet most thoughts that come through his head, and oh, what fun it is to read. He has a penchant for extreme luxury, as demonstrated by his Twitpic of a “fresh” $130,000 jacket on Oct. 19, and is given to random musings such as Oct. 16′s “I swear my love bracelet and gold & diamond teeth always set off the metal detecter [sic].”

Tom Hanks delivered great behind-the-scenes tweets, pictures and videos as he filmed his latest movie last spring, and Taylor Swift is so darn down-to-earth and appreciative you feel like she could be your best friend.

I cringe reading Lindsay Lohan’s tweets, though (shouldn’t she be in rehab somewhere instead of marveling at how beautiful the beach was today?). Jim Carrey recently came under fire for tweeting in defense of Tiger Woods’ infidelity.

Yet that’s where the true beauty of Twitter comes in. After hundreds of years of celebrities being kept at arm’s length, we are finally able to see them for what they really are: regular people, with quirks and questions and opinions and ideas, who are just trying to make it through the day like the rest of us. They just have that most basic of human desires – to be liked and appreciated by others – and that’s something everyone can relate to.

If celebrities are willing to put themselves and all their craziness out there for the world to see, they have the chance to connect with us in an unprecedented way. Every time a celebrity tweets about that cute thing her kid did today, or how she’s scared of spiders, or that he’s excited to go to a party tonight, the velvet curtain that separates them from real life gets thinner and more obsolete.

One day, that curtain may fall altogether. Until then, I’ll take whatever tweets I can get.

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