Twee-cession: Will celebs follow Miley, Courtney Love and retreat from Twitter?

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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TORONTO - Call it a "Twee-cession."
Some of the big stars who gave social networking site Twitter a buzzy boost have recently retired from sharing the minutiae of their lives in bite-sized online updates.
And while celebs including Miley Cyrus and Courtney Love have given up on micro-blogging voluntarily, others have been muzzled by their employers.
Reports surfaced this week that Cameron Diaz and Mike Myers have signed contracts that demand they refrain from Tweeting about the upcoming "Shrek" movie, though their reps have since denied it. And the NBA and NFL have taken steps to limit the amount of updates their players dole out - particularly around game time.
Whether by choice or not, celebrities seem to be moving away from Twitter lately.
"See, me, I'm about to take a little Twitter sabbatical, man," rapper Wale, who has more than 106,000 followers, told The Canadian Press in a telephone interview while on tour in Western Canada with Jay-Z.
"I'm on a tour bus and there's nothing to do, so all I do is look at (Twitter). It kind of changes your perception of reality."
Twitter's succinct, 140-characters-or-fewer format gives users the chance to share their thoughts in mere seconds - it's so easy, in fact, sometimes people don't think about what they're posting, which proves particularly troublesome for immensely popular, update-happy stars.
Love bailed on the service only after her Twitter tirade against her former fashion designer prompted a libel suit.
Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley's summer stint in rehab was preceded by a downcast series of tweets from the talented 20-year-old, including: "Feelin like it's not worth livin!!!!!!! I'm done." The drama began after he posted a picture of himself on Twitter in which small baggies could be seen in the background, prompting Internet speculation about their contents.
Fellow NBAer J.R. Smith also removed his account after a newspaper report linked his typing shorthand to gang lingo.
And Cyrus was continuously scrutinized for her popular Twitter feed, whether over potential feuds with fellow Disney stars or the minor web controversy that arose over a semi-provocative photo posted by the 16-year-old.
"I want my private life private," Cyrus said in a YouTube clip, posted to explain her Twitter exit. "I'm living for me."
And there's also the worry that stars could casually reveal vital details of upcoming projects that otherwise would be kept secret, or break business news that would otherwise be filtered through professional public relations specialists.
For instance, Ryan Seacrest announced the recent departure of NBC honcho Ben Silverman through a pithy Twitter update, while Paula Abdul famously announced her exit from "American Idol" the same way.
But while the unfiltered platform offered to celebrities by Twitter can look like a publicity nightmare waiting to happen, most are reasonable enough to not have any trouble, said Steve Waxman, director of national publicity and video promotion for Warner Music Canada.
"You have to be an intelligent human being - that's the bottom line, isn't it?" Waxman said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.
"Anything that's called unfiltered shouldn't be unfiltered. You have to take responsibility for yourself. It's a part of life."
Waxman said he has never worried about his label's artists behaving themselves on Twitter. In fact, he says it can be a useful tool for artists looking to connect to their audience.
"I wouldn't discourage anybody on any level from using any of these social media sites, but as we tell our kids all the time, whether they listen or not, you have to be careful," he said.
"I think that that kind of stuff is really, really healthy. Because the entertainment business ... spent what feels like 100 years building a star system where the stars are way up here and the rest of us are way down here. But for the most part, it's not like that anymore. There are a few integalactic stars, but the rest of them live on the same planet as us, and we understand that and respect that."
Yet with that close connection comes the opportunity for fans - and, most importantly, non-fans - to voice their displeasure with every perceived misstep made by an artist or entertainer.
"I get so much hate mail on there sometimes," said Wale, whose full-length debut, "Attention Deficit," is scheduled to drop Nov. 10.
"At one point, you just be like: 'Damn, am I that wack?"'
That feedback loop was part of the reason behind Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor leaving Twitter. He had received nasty messages about his wife, West Indian Girl frontwoman Mariqueen Maandig. In July, he tweeted: "I believe I've done all I care to do here at this point. Flesh and reality and silence are calling."
That sort of reaction could be bad news for Twitter, which draws plenty of traffic because of high-wattage stars.
According to numbers provided by Twitterholics.com, Ashton Kutcher has the most followers (more than 3.8 million) of any user on Twitter, and sixteen of the top 20 most-followed are entertainers, athletes or bands.
Yet some stars can still utilize the ample platform for self-promotion offered by Twitter without opening themselves up with revealing personal messages.
"I have Twitterers, professional Twitterers who Twitter for me," said "Ghostbusters" star Dan Aykroyd, who says he uses the service to promote the line of wines and liquor he endorses.
"I have never used it ... I don't have a Blackberry, I don't have a laptop, I don't have email."
Canadian actor Eugene Levy also says he's puzzled by the popularity of the service.
"You know, I almost bore myself when I say to myself, 'It's time to get the groceries,' I certainly don't want to put it out there for people to read," he told The Canadian Press in a telephone interview.
"It deals in a kind of minutiae that is just extremely, irritatingly boring to me, but I guess there are people out there who want to know what celebrities do in their off hours and there are other celebrities who just can't get enough focus and attention so they now Twitter this information out there. I don't get it."
Wale is just one Twitter user who is beginning to agree.
"I'm definitely the same person on Twitter as I am in real life: loquacious and wordy," he said. "People say I talk way more about sports than my own stuff, but I'm not a narcissist. The world's not all about me.
"So I'm not quitting, but soon, less is gonna be more."
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With files from Canadian Press reporters Andrea Baillie and Cassandra Szklarski in Toronto.

Organizations: Canadian Press, NBA, NFL Miami Heat Warner Music Canada Nine Inch Nails

Geographic location: TORONTO, Western Canada

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